Constella Christmas Gala at Constella OperaBallet online
With Christmas drawing nearer but the Coronavirus crisis still in full force, artists across the country are finding new ways to bring the festive spirit to their audiences’ homes. Constella, founders of Connecting Stars, which provides free one-to-one virtual performances to isolated care home residents, is launching an online Christmas Gala to gather funds for their project. With a beautifully varied selection of numbers and a large, talented ensemble, it is wonderful to experience – and all designed with a good cause in mind.
Rehearsed and filmed at Studio Wayne McGregor, the production consists of two acts, performed over the course of roughly 50 minutes, including a short intermission. The first half is a brilliant mixture of pieces, including Maria from West Side Story (sung by tenor Robin Bailey), Habanera from Carmen (mezzo-soprano Felicity Buckland) and Piazzola’s Adios Nonino (led by accordionist Ilona Suomalainen).
The second act is more traditionally “Christmassy” in nature, and includes He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd from Georg Friedrich Handel’s Messiah – but with the added bonus of spicy ballet infusion by choreographer Jaered Glavin – followed by various excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, with dancers Alice Oakley-Jones and Matt Petty delivering a smashing finale.
The entire program is charmingly curated and skilfully conducted by Leo Geyer, who manages to bring together a wonderful team of musicians, dancers and creatives who are all evidently passionate about their art and enthusiastic about the good work Constella is delivering. The performance is suitably arranged for a smaller ensemble and executed with social distancing in mind. Despite these limitations, however, there is no caveat to the music; everything sounds – and looks – magical.
With such a variety of music, innovative ways of staging the pieces and charming presentation, it is difficult to take issue with Constella’s Christmas Gala. It’s a smart concept and enjoyable from start to finish, making it a delight to recommend.
Photos: Musicarta Media
Constella Christmas Gala is available to stream from 8th December 2020. For further information or to book visit the company’s website here.