Review of our Holland Opera Gala

Review by Gerard Huijboom (originally in Dutch, translated by Google) 

It will be around half past three on Sunday, October 29, 2017. A large tray on the Evertshuis counter is full of glass-cooled Prosecco. My wife and I both take a glass. That is allowed. Because we have tickets for the Opera-Aria Gala, organized in collaboration with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Opera School in Cardiff, England.
Our curiosity is aroused by the announcement that this institute ‘guarantees the training of opera singers, who belong to the absolute world top’. That creates expectations …

We let ourselves down in one of the comfortable sofas in the lounge and take the program again.
Among them are parts from Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Pasquale, La Bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Martha and a selection of arias and songs.

After a short introduction by someone from the Opera School, five singers come on stage; a soprano (Rachel Goode), a mezzo (Christine Byrne), a tenor (Rhodri Jones) and two baritones (André Henriques and Oscar Castellino).
They sing parts from Cosi Fan Tutte. And they immediately make it clear that they are not students who try a timid attempt in a provincial town somewhere in the countryside. It pops right into the hall! What a beautiful voice, what a volume and what a perfect harmony! That promises something, I thought. If it stays that way …
And it stays that way. A beautiful aria from L’élisir d’amore by the tenor Rhodri Jones and from the Rusalka by the soprano Rachel Goode and the song Gold is a fine thingby the soprano Lucy Mellors. Short intro’s and smooth succession
The audience applauds enthusiastically.
Afterwards, parts from Il Barbiere di Siviglia by the mezzo, the tenor, the two baritones, supplemented by the bass Blaisse Malaba.
The audience is silent. I have been sitting still in my chair for some time now and am fascinated by these young fantastic singers. The enthusiasm of the hall also turns to the singers and they seem to surpass themselves. Not only the vocals but also the accompanying mimicry is without a doubt professional. It is really great!
The audience applauds enthusiastically and I also do a ‘bravo!’ at. And fortunately I am not the only one with a ‘bravo’. Even in a theater that is only called sporadically.

In the break I catch “… I just got goose bumps from that mezzo …”

After the break, the level remains high. Parts from Don Pasquale, an aria from Le Nozza di Figaro and from Macbeth and finally a section from Martha.
And they all pass by again: the beautiful tenor, the beautiful sopranos, the beautiful mezzo, the powerful baritones and the sonorous bass.
It seems that the singers are ‘lifted’ by the enthusiasm of the audience and they seem to get more and more fun.
When the last notes have been sung, there will immediately be enthusiastic standing applause for several minutes with various bravos. Justly! The expectations aroused in the announcement are completely true. These young people with their talented voice, who have reached this level through hard practice and study, are theater-worthy and they deserve a very warm welcome.

Someone from the opera school closes the Opera-Aria Gala, thanks the audience, “… you are fantastic …” and invites the audience to come to Cardiff once. Judging by the buzz and the laughter, the audience must think about it for a moment. But when he says: “… and next year we come back …”, there is a warm applause.

Needless to say, this Opera-Aria Gala, organized in collaboration with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Opera School in Cardiff, was a great success.
Compliments for the program makers of the Evertshuis, our Evertshuis … here in Bodegraven!