Review: Lizzie shows great potential at Leamington concert

Lizzie Ryder
Lizzie Ryder

Clive Peacock reviews Beauchamp Sinfonietta at Leamington town hall on April 15

While celebrating 25 years as musical director of Beauchamp Sinfonietta, Nic Fallowfield gave his audience a most memorable ‘birthday’ present at the town hall on Sunday.

Thanks to his work with the Birmingham Conservatoire, Fallowfield encouraged a graduate of four years ago to sing Wagner in public for the very first time. Remember this name, Lizzie Ryder. Her recent experience has included several coloratura roles with Nevill Holt Opera; what a jump to make at 29, tackling Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder in Leamington. Many in the audience were delighted with her thrillingly powerful vocal capacity, the clarity of diction and the fine ambient bloom created with the Sinfonietta players, notably the horns. Newcomer David Smith brought his brass band experience to add zest to the bank of four horns. As they accompanied Lizzie Ryder, with just a solo cello, in Stehe still, the second of Wagner’s songs, there was an emotional optimism in the town hall for which Fallowfield and the Sinfonietta must take credit. This was best surprise of the season; where might she be in fifteen years’ time? What potential!

Mozart’s spirited ‘overture’, otherwise known as the nine-minute Symphony No 32, takes the orchestra from the allegro, straight into the andante before returning to the recapitulation of the allegro. At this stage the Sinfonietta were still getting into the swing of things and, as a result, there were just a few coordination issues. All was back in order for Wagner’s Konig Enzio Overture and better still in Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 “Scottish”. The solemn, slow adagio brings out the very best of the wind section, with the welcome return of oboist John Cullington and clarinettist Liz Murphy’s consistent technical competence.