Bubbles and Song - A Night at the Opera

Saturday 5 March, 7:30 pm
St Paul’s Church, Winchester

A choice selection of choruses and arias from the best of grand opera including:


with Ruth Provost (soprano)

director - Katherine Dienes-Williams
piano - Paul Provost

Tickets £20, including a glass of Prosecco and nibbles (concessions £17:50; children 17 and under £7.50)

A night of Bubbles and Song – a night at the opera full of memorable melodies which will left the audience humming if not bringing their operatic voices fully out into the open!

Singing in Russian, French, German, Latin and Italian, we performed a series of familiar choruses, ranging from Wagner’s ‘Bridal Chorus’ from Lohengrin to March of the Toreadors from Bizet’s Carmen, Mascagni’s Easter Hymn to Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew slaves from Nabucco.

Ladies’ voices were heard in the Witches’ Chorus of Macbeth by Verdi, whilst the men presented the Soldiers’ Chorus from Il Trovatore. There were many other operatic delights to entertain the audience as they sipped a glass or two of bubbly and enjoyed a table of fine nibbles.

Husband and wife team Paul and Ruth Provost were our accompanist and solo soprano respectively – Ruth performed four solo arias.

The following review was prepared for publication in the Hampshire Chronicle:

Southern Voices in concert at St Paul’s Church, Winchester: you might expect some unaccompanied sacred music. This is, after all, one of their areas of expertise. Not so with this concert. The church was laid out with tables of canapés and nibbles, complete with table decorations and candles. Opera masks adorned the pillars in the church and glasses of bubbly awaited the opera lovers. What a treat awaited us!

Beginning with the stirring sounds of Carmen, this well-trained opera chorus of thirty-two singers took us through the lyrical sweep of Verdi’s Hebrew Slaves and the religious fervour of Mascagni’s
Easter Hymn to the grandeur of the ‘Triumphal Scene’ from Aida. Singing in French, Italian, German and Russian, the choir demonstrated their tonal and dynamic range and control, all with impeccable tuning. Scottish witches (Macbeth), Italian soldiers (Il Trovatore), Russian slaves (Polovtsian Dances): all manner of drama was presented with energy and enthusiasm. It was pleasing to hear Wagner’s Bridal Chorus in its original choral setting, away from its usual organ arrangement.

Soprano Ruth Provost gave the choir some respite, entertaining us with the Laughing Song from
Die Fledermaus and Rosina’s aria from The Barber of Seville, both displaying her bravura vocal agility and glorious top notes. She sang with lyrical tenderness in Puccini’s O mio babbino caro while Cleopatra’s lament from Act 3 of Handel’s Julius Caesar was exquisite and sublime in its portrayal of grief.

Katherine Dienes-Williams was the maestro in charge of operatic proceedings and Paul Provost was the excellent accompanist, conjuring swathes of orchestral colour from his grand piano.

Duncan Eves