It is always impressive when a soloist steps in at short notice to sing in such a masterful way. Baritone Andrew Slater did just that, replacing the indisposed Njabulo Madlala. Slater sang the Priest/Angel of the agony roles in Worcester Festival Choral Society's performance of Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius.
The other soloists - tenor Mark Wilde (Gerontius) and mezzo Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Angel) - were remarkable too with affecting efforts that honoured John Henry Newman's text from beginning to end.
They had rock-solid support from the Meridian Sinfonia and Worcester Festival Choral Society (with Samuel Hudson at the podium) and that was, needless to say, a bonus.
Admittedly, Elgar's Gerontius is a favourite with audiences (which would explain why so many audience seats were taken). The Worcester Festival Choral Society may love singing Gerontius as well but it still retains freshness for all that. The soloists and conductor might have a lot to do with this particular attribute.
Copyright © 27 March 2023