Young Welsh singers Ryan Vaughan Davies and Thomas Kinch joined his fellow Iford Arts New Generation Artists in a vocally and dramatically impressive performance of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Belcombe Court.
The Bradford on Avon audience was treated to individual performances from the singers at this developing stages of their careers that would happily grace some of our professional state funded opera companies. Vitally, the singers were also given the opportunity to perform to live audience, starved of any such experience from the state-funded education and opera sector.
For this performance of the production that had been created by Opera Ensemble, the entrepreneurial brain child of North Walian soprano Elin Pritchard, the singers has been clearly, carefully rehearsed by production director Christopher Luscombe and artistic director Oliver Gooch.
Ryan Vaughan Davies and Thomas Kinch have joined the Iford Arts New Generation scheme and, along with Mancunian Louis Hurst, all sang principal roles in the performance.
Thomas Kinch sang a quite remarkable Canio with emotion and strength to knock you out of your seat. As this was not enough he stepped into the concert performance role of Turiddu for “main” performances of mezzoCav, singing alongside Susan Bullock and Longborough Opera’s current Wotan, Cardiff born singer Paul Carey Jones, and gave more edge of seat singing. There was no lack of confidence and presence from Louis Hurst as a particularly robust and malevolent Tonio.
In the role of Beppe, and also Harlequin when part of the commedia dell’arte players, Ryan Vaughan Davies clearly delighted in the fun opportunities of acting Beppe and impressing with his lyrical tenor.
The cast also included two artists who have previously worked with Iford Arts, Fiona Finsbury as a sparkling young Nedda, nimbly transforming from frustrated woman to the delicately prancing Columbine, and a suitably dashing Dan de Souza as her lover Silvio.
Ryan Vaughan Davies
Dan de Souza
The young singers were delightful and looked genuinely fascinated and entertained by their colleagues performances in this well crafted pared down production that well suited the story of the travelling troupe, that was created by Ensemble Opera, itself a travelling troupe of players.
What if the heavily state-funded national opera company gave such opportunities to singers, including even some from Wales, at this stage of their career and performances and productions audiences actually wanted to see and hear? Thank goodness for the smaller and non state-funded companies and our entrepreneurial singers themselves.