July 10, 2013
Yorkshire Post by David Denton
Destined for the 18th Century Paris Opera-comique stage, Saint-Saens’ La Princess Jaune and Gounod’s La Colombe made for a lightweight opening to this year’s Buxton Festival.
The two are linked by the story of infatuated, but impoverished, young men, the first for a beautiful woman in a painting, and the other for a wealthy countess, both ending happily for all those concerned.
In new and highly traditional productions, the director, Francis Matthews, makes a further connection by staging them in the same house.
If the music is not particularly memorable, the performances are admirable in capturing the mood of the period.
Saint-Saens calls for just two singers, the smooth and silvery voiced soprano of Anne Sophie Duprels, an admirable companion for the lightweight tenor of Ryan MacPherson.
He returned in the Gounod as Horace, the owner of the dove he has named Sylvia after the woman of his dreams.
For Gillian Keith, the real Sylvia, was a gift, her agile voice dancing through the vocal acrobatics with such ease. Add further excellent contributions from Emma Carringtion as Mazet and Jonathan as Jean, and the vocal aspects are all in safe hands.
The Northern Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Barlow, was outstanding, their neat and perfectly balanced playing the joy of the evening.
Further performances on July 14 & 20.