Toad Lane Concerts: Soprano Jessica Hope accompanied by Tim Kennedy

Date published: 16 May 2022

This was a welcome return, as Jessica used to perform at St Mary’s before the 2020 lockdown when she was studying at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), where she ultimately gained a first-class honours degree, and now as a master’s student at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Jessica has a vivacious personality and a beautiful voice and engages easily and fully with her audience. A versatile performer equally at home in classical and musical theatre styles she made her Buxton Opera House debut as Maria in West Side Story, whilst operatic roles have included Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and Adele (Die Fledermaus).

This summer Jessica looks forward to playing a principal role in ‘It’s in the air!’ at the Hope Mill Theatre, an exciting project ‘Mozart in the Gardens’ taking place at Bromwich Gardens and singing in If Opera’s La Rondine (Puccini).

She was superbly accompanied by Tim Kennedy, who studied music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but has been a freelance musician based in Manchester for over 15 years. As well as being a piano accompanist at the RNCM, he also works as a professional singer, vocal coach, organist, and accompanist for Festivals, and the Tatton Singers in Knutsford.

Arias by Handel and Mozart were followed by German songs by Schubert and Wolf, Art songs by Roger Quilter, and three charming songs by Hahn, including the highly appropriate text for a singer, ‘if my verses had wings.’ This sophisticated and glorious recital culminated in two operatic gems where her voice really took flight. Her interpretations of ‘Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante’ from Carmen by Bizet and ‘Chi il bel sogno di Doretta’ from La Rondine by Puccini would grace any stage.

Let us hope that we will not have to wait too long for a return of these two outstanding performers.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see details of forthcoming Toad Lane Concerts, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

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