By Ian Diddams. Images By Gail of Devizes
Friday night saw the launch of an entirely new musical experience from good old Devizes Town… “The Four Sopranos”….
Attendees at the full house in the Town Hall may well have been familiar with those in the quartet already… Jemma Brown, Terésa Isaacson, Lucia Pupilli and Tabitha Cox. Yet whilst they certainly have historical and ongoing connections with “The Invitation Theatre Company” and “The Fulltone Orchestra”, nonetheless “The Four Sopranos” are a separate entity in their own right; four friends coming together to perform something presented a little differently for audiences to enjoy. As Lucia says, “We have worked on the harmonies collaboratively, we didn’t want to just take them off the shelf and let people hear what they might have heard before, it’s been a fantastic way of working, but is also hard work – but it means our sound is absolutely ours”. And I can confirm it absolutely is.
Doing what their name says on the tin, “The Four Sopranos” were exactly that… four talented and musically excellent sopranos, delivering a widespread program of harmonic song, from opera, stage, film and popular music, sung in harmony – as per the above!
So what of the show? The foursome started with a couple of crowd favourites – two numbers from “Les Mis”; “I dreamed a Dream” and “Stars”. It is true there were some nerves showing – but understandably. A new venture, a new idea, a new approach… but with these two songs under their belt a noticeable lifting of confidence, a collective “what’s going on – let’s get over it” so to speak was evident. And the rest of the show delivered with verve, panache and oozed with the talent before us.
The Musical Theatre genre continued with “Somewhere over the rainbow” and “You’ll never Walk alone”. Followed by a change into a more classical and operatic tone with solos and duets, Terésa with Gounod’s arrangement of Ave Maria, Lucia – a fluent Italian speaker in her own right – with O Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini. And “Sull’aria” by Mozart performed by Lucia and Tabitha plus Delibe’s “Flower duet”. Our quartet finished off a whirlwind first half with numbers from “Phantom of the Opera” and “My Fair Lady”.
The second half followed in similar vein… I won’t bore you any further with lists of songs performed and if you want to find out what they were you’d best get to one of their gigs! I will add that Tabitha and Jemma also performed solos – with “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” and “She Used to be Mine” from “Waitress” respectively. Other than those two, needless to say it was just more high class, perfectly delivered songs from film and musical theatre including the breath-taking four voice rendition of Adele’s “Skyfall”.
It would be remiss of me to not say that the evening’s performance was accompanied by the hugely talented pianist (and all-round musical virtuoso!) Dominic Irving, whose ivory tinkling was sublime in itself. And making a rare appearance for him of facing the audience rather than with his back to them, Anthony Brown charmed as the evening’s ringmaster.
So there we had it – a whistle-stop tour of music from multiple genres, in a beautiful building, created uniquely by four maestros of their art. What more do you want? Well, for a start… chances to see more of them that’s what!
You can catch all four next Friday night as it is, in Cheltenham Town Hall, including reprising “Skyfall” and “Somewhere over the rainbow” – amongst many other wonderful pieces of music including the phenomenal choral piece “Symphonic Adiemus” by Karl Jenkins; see the link at the bottom for tickets… and keep an eye on the Facebook page for “The Four Sopranos” for more dates and news in the future of course.
From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow… or words to that effect. And on Friday evening we saw one such acorn planted….
Links: Tickets for Cheltenham Town Hall – Friday 19th May 2023
“The Four Sopranos” Facebook
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