Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sarah Connolly sings Jazz in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh International Festival 2010
 Saturday 21 August, THE HUB, Castlehill

Jazz Recital by Sarah Connolly and John Horler.

Sarah Connolly is one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now she has shown that she is equally gifted in the jazz repertoire (In fact, she did perform some jazz numbers at the Last Night of the Proms last year). Judging by this, she could have had an equally distinguished career as a jazz singer....but then we would never have had her Giulio Cesare, Agrippina, Maria Stuarda or any of the many other roles in which she has shone. (My particular favourite among these is Giulio Cesare).

They presented a programme of songs from the 1930s, some really well-known, such as The Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square, some less familiar.There were some well-known Gershwin numbers, of which I particularly enjoyed her performance of Treat me Rough, which was sung in a very tongue-in -cheek, flirtatious way, just as it should be.

The programme began with Skylark which was written for Judy Garland by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael. It's a lovely song with beautiful lyrics, and an elaborate piano postlude. 
John Horler is a very talented jazz pianist, who worked as pianist to John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, and it was as much a pleasure to listen to him play as it was to hear Sarah Connolly sing. In fact in jazz, as in Lieder, the piano is as important as the voice, and many of the songs have very Schumann-esque piano postlude.
Horler also played a solo - improvisation - which further demonstrated his skill at the keyboard.

The lyrics to the jazz songs are amazing - witty, sophisticated, tender or ironic...sometimes within the same song.

For the recital Sarah Connolly was wearing a black off-the-shoulder dress, with very high-heeled black shoes...she looked stunning and sophisticated, just as a jazz singer should!

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