Portsmouth Baroque Choir at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport

Paradise Lost. Picture: Danny Payne

REVIEW: Paradise Lost at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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The acoustics of Holy Trinity Church Gosport served Portsmouth Baroque Choir well in Saturday’s concert of music by Handel and Scarlatti.

From the opening bars of Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, it was clear that this was going to be a well-rehearsed, enjoyable performance.

Portsmouth Baroque Choir now possesses a strong, accurate and pure-sounding soprano line, with confident and full-toned support from the other voice parts. I was particularly impressed with some ‘rich-toned’ divided singing from the altos.

Joining the choir were soprano Nancy-Jane Rucker, alto Toby Forster, tenor Stephen George and the resonant bass Benjamin Thompson.

Toby Forster had most to do, with two solo arias and a duet with each of the other singers. He acquitted himself well in all that he did and possesses a voice of great potential.

Peter Newman gave a very stylish account of Handel’s Organ Concerto in Bb, with well-chosen tempi and subtly appropriate ornamentation. A small group of strings, along with a single oboe, provided discreet and sensitive accompaniment throughout. Proceedings were directed by clear, unfussy conducting from Malcolm Keeler.