Gilbert & Sullivan: Rend With Songs the Air Above

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Gilbert & Sullivan, Rend With Songs the Air Above:  A Celebrity recital by John Savournin, accompanied by David Eaton on the piano, Manchester Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Cross Street Chapel, Manchester, 13.10.2013. (RW)

John Savournin has been growing in fame over recent years, first by forming the Charles Court theatre group and this year playing in the Scottish Opera/D’Oyly Carte’s production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ as well as directing a totally different professional version of ‘The Pirates’ at the Buxton G&S Festival.

In this concert John gave a superb performance with David Eaton at the piano, taking some of the well known songs out of the comic operas, but also adding some less familiar ballads as well as two lost songs from ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’; A Laughing Boy and Jealous Torments.  A few patter songs were thrown in for good measure.

John’s wide register and velvety tone of voice was not the only pleasure he gave the audience. The songs were delivered with fresh meaning and David Eaton responded  by teasing out some of Sullivan’s elegant phrases in the music and skilfully adding changes in dynamics to freshen up material which is usually played ‘a tempo’.  John, a fine performer, added that luxury, ‘excellent diction’, even in the tongue-twisting patter songs of which the Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare song was sung superbly.

We wish him well for his future successes.

Raymond Walker