VERDI REQUIEM | London, Royal Festival Hall

The combination of the Hackney Singers and Lewisham Choral Society is a force to be reckoned with. Despite both being non-audition, community choirs, the sound from the hundreds and hundreds of singers is immense and impressive. Supported by pro orchestral ensemble London Mozart Players, and four professional soloists, you would hardly know this to be an amateur event.

The choir shines brightest in the all-guns-blazing moments, like the iconic refrain of Dies Irae. Throughout, conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas (the Musical Director for for both the Hackney Singers and Lewisham Choral Society) ensures that the massive orchestral and vocal ensembles never drag or lag. The acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall are mercilessly dry and crisp: we can hear every last voice.

Of the soloists, tenor Ben Thapa stands out for his remarkable dynamic control, bringing a theatrical expressiveness. The intense, operatic vibrato of soprano Philippa Boyle and mezzo-soprano Martha McLorinan suit the over-the-top trappings of Verdi’s score.

It is a remarkable feat to sell out the Royal Festival Hall, and to hold a candle to the professional ensembles that perform there, more than accounted for by the audience’s rapturous applause. It is also a great advertisement for the Hackney Singers and Lewisham Choral Society, who have joining dates coming up on 17 and 24 April.

Performed at the Southbank Centre, 12 April 2023.

The Prickle - About transp