A Gala Night of Song (March 2004)

Sheffield City Opera’s sell-out concert, A Gala Night of Song at the Rotherham Civic Theatre included some of the most thrillingly beautiful arias, songs and choruses ever written, with excerpts from Cavalleria Rusticana, Madam Butterfly, La Boheme, Aida, Kismet, Trial by Jury, South Pacific, Land of Smiles, and Samson and Delilah.

Among the highlights were ‘One Fine Day’, ‘Pearl Fishers Duet’, Lakme’s ‘Flower Duet’, ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘The Hebrew Slaves’ Chorus’, ‘Softly Awakes My Heart’ and ‘Baubles Bangles and Beads’.

The concert featured some of the finest singers in the region, including star soprano Sharon Nicholson-Skeggs, international baritone Mike De Costa, Val Parker, Andrew Lockwood, Mike Tipler, Steve Andrews and Janice Hancock. The musical director was Suzanne Winter and the accompanist was Irene McCreath with the SCO chorus.

Comments from the Rotherham Advertiser included:

‘Things couldn’t get much better for Sheffield City Opera in terms of public response – there was another sell-out with a waiting list for tickets at the Civic Theatre for the Gala Night of Song.’

There were plenty of outstanding plusses. These included SCO soloists, “Andrew [Lockwood] is an excellent singer…fine interpretation of Nessun Dorma,’ ‘Janice has superb clarity and range’, ‘Sharon Nicholson-Skeggs… a powerful presence and a wonderful operatic voice’, and ‘Val Parker, a performer with true star quality’.

‘The triumphant Easter Hymn provided a glorious finale to a popular and meaningful programme’.