A night at the opera

May 28, 2006

Went to see an excellent gig on Friday night; part of the local arts festival fringe. Hazel O'Connor was performing with harpist Cormac de Barra and the Rainbow Chorus. My friend Steve sings with the chorus, but I'd never seen them perform so it was for that reason, rather than because I am a big Hazel O'Connor fan (or Hazel-nut, as I believe they are called, ha ha), that I went along. I managed to get the very last ticket! Always a good omen.

Actually I had a hard time remembering Hazel O'Connor at all, but I did eventually recognise some of her songs. To my shame I had thought she had disappeared after having a hit single or two and that film Breaking Glass, but she's obviously been working ever since and is still producing very listenable stuff, perhaps even more so now.

I've not knowingly seen a harp played live before, and I'm sorry now that I haven't because, played well, it's a beautiful instrument to listen to, and a wonderful accompaniment to someone with such distinctive and powerful vocals as Hazel. Her band was augmented later in the evening by piano, sax and percussion players too, which gave a pleasantly full but not overdone sound.

The Rainbow Chorus are an amateur (ugh, let's say non-professional instead, it has better connotations) collective who must have worked very hard to put together this programme. They did three "solo" numbers before being joined by Hazel to run through lots of her songs old and new. The crowd loved it, and so did I. And I don't think it was just because I was demob happy at having an evening out of the house!

Oh and watch out for Hazel's god-daughter who sang a few numbers with her (sorry, I forget the name). Far from being just a nepotistic backing singer she has an astonishingly good and powerful voice. If she wanted a career in music I imagine she wouldn't have too much trouble finding a market.

Congratulations to everyone involved.

Back to reality, and after having a drink with the "stars" afterwards, I had to run back to the station to catch a train at midnight-twenty, only to find the gaff locked up. Cursing slightly, I consulted the timetable again and it insisted there should be a train, so I decided to hang around. Sure enough one did arrive and a railway gentleman opened up a secret back door to let passengers out, whereupon I snuck in. Got home about one in the morning and felt very decadent. Now feel very tired.

Bank holiday tomorrow and back to the decorating, so off to bed with me!

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