Home » London Theatre Reviews » Glyndebourne Jerwood Young Artists at Brighton Festival 2024 | Review

Glyndebourne Jerwood Young Artists at Brighton Festival 2024 | Review

During this year’s Brighton Festival, there has been a series of lunchtime concerts in the magnificently restored Corn Exchange. Like most opera companies, Glyndebourne has a scheme for training and promoting young singers as well as giving them opportunities to perform.

Jade Moffat
Jade Moffat

This particular programme consisted of twelve songs and opera arias performed by some of this year’s artists.

Australian Mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat impressed not only with an excerpt from Handel’s Giulio Cesare, where her low register, in particular, was very powerful but also with a joyful rendering of the ‘Habanera’ from Carmen and ‘I’m a stranger here myself’ from Kurt Weill’s Broadway musical One Touch of Venus. Her full-toned voice, steady as a rock, is a beautiful instrument.

Tenor George Curnow demonstrated the relaxed vocal style necessary for Poulenc’s Bleuet as well as Donizetti’s Una Furtiva Lagrima, both of which were superb renditions, showcasing another well-produced voice that was easy on the ear.

Tenor Michael Lafferty appeared happiest in an aria from Puccini’s La Rondine which had real emotion, the unaccompanied section being particularly impressive.

However, singing is not just about the voice or the ‘right notes’, it is mostly about communication with an audience, and directly bass-baritone Charles Cunliffe appeared he had the audience ‘in the palm of his hand’! Not only does he have a well-trained, dark voice, velvety throughout its compass, but he also has that rare quality: charisma, which should take him far. From his opening Handel aria, via the song by ‘Duparc’, in which he almost achieved the French nasal style which is so rare these days, to the very amusing aria from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, he showed us what true artistry is – and he was clearly enjoying himself as much as we were!

Glyndebourne had also ensured that they had engaged one of the UK’s best young accompanists for this recital. Matthew Fletcher instinctively knows the style required to differentiate each item in a programme such as this, for example really toying with Bizet’s ‘Habanera’ rhythm so that it truly bounces along, then revelling in the complexities of Debussy’s Nuit d’Etoiles. One quickly forgot that most of these accompaniments were originally designed for orchestra, and his delight in playing for the singers was obvious and infectious.

All in all, a musical programme that left the audience wanting more – much more! A hugely enjoyable fifty minutes that sped past. Many, many thanks!

5 Star Rating

Review by John Groves

Jade Moffat Mezzo soprano
Michael Lafferty Tenor
George Curnow Tenor
Charles Cunliffe bass-baritone
Matthew Fletcher piano

Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Monday 20 May 2024, 1:00pm
Presented as part of Brighton Festival 2024

Book Tickets for Theatre Royal Brighton


  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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