It is lovely to see Wales based singers out and about, here the Camenae de Cymru visited Bristol for an evening of Vivaldi. Though they had two dates in Cardiff and around the area, a little trip over the border is never a strain.
All Saints Church in Bristol is a great find. Wrecked by Blitz bombs, the restoration in the 1960s is staggering and theatrical, the vivid stained glass work of John Piper also dazzles. The fine selection of lesser know Vivaldi in his operatic arias were fascinating and touching. Kristina Bitina as vocalist gave these a good shot, the choice from her opening Gloria stood out. The opera choices from Judith Triumphans and Orlando Furioso prove they should be performed more, they stand out for helping the opera art form develop as we know it. Kristina delivered in proud song and more of these lesser known feats would be highly encouraged.
The main event would be the famous Four Season concerto we all know and love. Yuri Savkin on violin needed no sheet music and was up for the challenge for this pristine piece. On cello Tabitha Selley made for a marvellous addition, whilst on harp Ben Creighton Griffiths was suitably Baroque in appearance and played with ease and contentment. Our host for the evening was singer and writer Nichola Bojczuk, with some fitting lesser known poems past the composer’s era. This as well as her own verse was fitting for the Seasons and a reminder that in the UK we are drastically losing our bird population.
Due to the size of the church the music was sometimes drowned out by it’s unrelenting echo, the harp at times had an overbearing bass. I’d be intrigued to hear more music in the church, I just cant get over how impressive the space is. There was a crunchy noise heard throughout the concert, which no one could seem to detect. Popping outside in the intermission, it may have had to do with the stained glass, though I heard little when out there. Apparently someone had taped protein glass earlier in the day, a strange ambient noise which felt watery aside the Seasons.
A pleasure to come and listen.
Camenae de Cymru perform in Penarth the Best Romantic Music of the 19th Century on May 13th 2023 at All Saints Church.