Clipped From The Guardian
BEVERLY SILLS at the Festival Hall by Philip Hope-Wallace Hope-Wallace Hope-Wallace JOHN PRITCHARD got a delightful happy performance of Mozart's Symphony Symphony No. 34 from the excellent LSO hut that, to be frank, was not what the Festival Hall had packed itself to relish. We were there to root for Beverlv Sills seeded number one favourite in the leggiero stakes and a "Lucia" we liked and admired. Her fame is great also on gramophone records. Her singing is fresh, frank, and lively. But I couldn't forget Uncle Matt in Nancv Mitford's " Love in a Cold Climate " (if that's the title), who played Gallicurci till the needle wore out. went to hear her at the Albert Hall in the flesh and then never played the record again. Miss Sills has a verv winsome personality personality and she can sing Bellini with sweet, swoonin; langour. She wore ivhite. and was topped with golden hair The idiotic Festival Hall lighting kent her face which is pleasant in a pool nf dusk throughout. The actual sinring had its sweet but aNn Its sour moments. She hecan ith an undif ferentiated account of Moart's .aide's lullaby : loud, unloving, not at all musical. musical. Constan.e's defiance aria from ' The Seraglio" was efficient but not for a moment the supreme expression of the Moartian heroic spirit which should be its sole justification. After the interval we fared better: thete was blithe "Una voce" with real Kossmian verve and exactly the sort of hopping embellishments which made Gallicurci a household name in 1H18 (unsurpassed still). Bellini's Juliet in elegaie mood produced some very lovely sustained mezoforle tone, all the more welcome for being in short supply hitherto. Donizetti's Swiss Mis? "Linda" also went with great gusto and aplomb : even though not all the notes were sweetly tuned, the lively upward runs sent the airlirnce into ecstacics. Since we are accused (or I am) of sitting mi the fence let me jump down for once and sav I wouldn't nut this in thp bellest eatp-rv eatp-rv eatp-rv nf bel canto. But us glad I went along.