EASTER Saturday saw Uppingham Choral Society give a performance of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, an oratorio in three parts.
For the first time in 20 years I was unable to take part but was able to enjoy the choir’s well rehearsed choruses as part of the audience. Peter Clements has been the choir’s musical director for 10 years, his musical expertise has enriched the choir greatly and it has achieved some great performances during his tenure.
The concert certainly did not disappoint, Peter was in full control of choir and orchestra and nimbly went from podium to Harpsichord keyboard to accompany the soloist’s Recitatives. The small orchestra was competently led by Alex Laing, and provided well balanced support to choir and soloists.
Soprano Andrea Haines and Mezzo-soprano Joyce Tindsley delighted the audience with their superb interpretation and sensitivity to the dramatic libretto with their soaring high notes and wonderful tone. Local bass soloist Richard Latham brought the rich operatic quality of his voice to his part as Samson, brother of Judas Maccabaeus. Jonathan Bungard, as the hero, created contrast with his light tenor voice.
The whole performance was well executed and the choir showed their ability in giving the choruses light and shade linking the story of how Judas Maccabaeus led the Jewish people to victory over the Seleucid Empire which was trying to force them to abandon their own religion.
Although very disappointed at being unable to sing, it was very rewarding to listen to the choir for a change. It was a wonderful performance which did not disappoint and I look forward to the next concert at Christmas by which time I hope my voice will have returned.