REVIEW: A real slice of music-theatre

This was not just a concert but a slice of music-theatre, with movement around the church and dramatic lighting effects as well as singing.

Sunday, 26th June 2016, 3:08 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th June 2016, 4:13 pm
Members of The Portsmouth Choral Union pictured during a rehearsal

The main works were Arion And The Dolphin, by Jonathan Dove, and the popular favourite for which it was written as a companion-piece, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Dove’s nearly-new piece tells of a poet who wins a singing competition and then evades murderous sailors greedy for his prize-money.

The drama is portrayed both in words and in music that is also vivid in capturing the sea’s shimmer and swell.

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A counter-tenor sings the role of Arion, and here a garlanded and dramatically expressive Joseph Bolger was always on the move. PCU was also joined by fine, characterful choirs from Castle Primary School, Portchester, and Prebendal School, Chichester.

Dramatic movement also enriched Orff’s score, still effective in the version with pianos and percussion rather than orchestra, and here conductor David Gostick encouraged vivid characterisation from the soloists, with soprano Faye Eldret and bass Edward Price joining Bolger as potent and engagingly characterful soloists – yes, highly theatrical again.