Review: Thrilling performance of Haydn’s ‘Creation’

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TWO hundred voices and a 50-strong orchestra gave a thrilling performance of “Creation”, Haydn’s epic masterpiece that tells the story of Genesis chapter 1 – the creation of Earth and Adam and Eve.

The Canberra Choral Society’s musical director, Tobias Cole, had prepared his forces well for guest conductor, Graham Abbott. Abbott is something of a specialist in “Creation” having conducted it several times. His direction was assured and assertive, but expressive and highly respectful of the singers and musicians.

Despite the huge numbers in the choir, there was a beautiful balance of tone across the divisions, excellent pitch definition, even in the highest soprano notes, and masterful control of expression. Certainly there was plenty of power in the loud bits, but the choir was able to get down to a whisper as well.

The three soloists, soprano Lorina Gore, tenor Christopher Saunders and bass Christopher Richardson were excellent choices. All delivered wonderfully engaging performances.

Gore, returning to her training ground, let her voice soar assuredly and with beautiful control through the excellent soundspace that is Llewellyn Hall.

Richardson, too, has a beautiful voice, and with a big range, reaching some impossibly low notes with ease. He has plenty of potential to realise in a voice that surely will capture the world’s stages.

Saunders gave his character, Uriel, great personality with a glorious voice to match.

This was an uplifting and exciting performance from the Canberra Choral Society. Tobias Cole certainly is stretching and extending them. And they are responding.

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