Opera’s new star on the way up

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Christmas Opera Gala - Thornton Little Theatre

For Poulton-based Opera Events, it was a Christmas opera gala with a difference.

There was no huge orchestra and no indoor fireworks – but those who packed into Thornton Little Theatre just didn’t miss them, such was the quality of performance on offer.

Two singers and a piano in an intimate atmosphere made for a great connection with the audience and an evening to savour.

The poise and sensitivity of soprano Charlotte Kinder we know about. She’s the local girl with a fine track record with the big companies.

But now we have a new name to chatter about: tenor Sipho Fubesi.

The South African is not long out of the Royal Northern College of Music but already has a recital lined up at the Wigmore Hall and is an understudy at the Royal Opera House.

The reason for such rapid advancement was obvious with a wonderful sound and subtle presentation that had the audience agog.

To begin, bel canto arias by Bellini and Donizetti saw moving explorations of various tortured characters.

Then it was forward in time with Ms Kinder getting really getting into her stride, rising well to the big challenge of Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Their La Boheme duet thrilled and how many others found themselves in a state of meltdown at Mr Fubesi’s tremendous Recondita Armonia from Puccini’s Tosca?

Pianist Kevin Thraves came to the fore with the La Traviata overture and the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana.

But remember the name Fubesi – he’s on his way up.