Where to start to appraise this most intriguing and stimulating evening? Music by Handel; arias and duets for soprano and male alto soloists melding with Baroque Players of Armonico Consort being joined by members of the Solihull School Chamber Choir in full choruses.
Too Hot to Handel is an innovative and mind-teasing offering, telling a current tale, but using innumerable musical quotations from Handel’s own creations as he himself was wont to do on countless occasions. Pastiche at its very best, inspiring emotions from solemn sadness to laugh aloud from the riveted audience.
Tall handsome alto William Towers beguiled with a rich voice, matching effortlessly with the fine operatic soprano Amy Freston. Both totally intrigued us with delightful hand-puppet skills via her lost now found little ‘dog’ – a truly unique way to meet! Careful scene changes were also comical delights, but never overtly distracting.
This truly imaginative production spilled over to the drinks interval where soloists quarrelling on the large balcony ended in a fine chorus from choir members interspersed within the delighted and bemused audience. All this with live accompaniments, but no overt connections with the instrumentalists in full view on stage. A magical feat of veritable discretion.
Directing from the harpsichord Christopher Monks was diplomacy personified keeping track with his instrumental group whilst underpinning all with relentless Handel. A special mention for the stalwart efforts of leader Miles Golding who frequently matched effortlessly with the mellifluous alto voice. Accolades all round. Altogether an intriguing evening of fine entertainment.