Review: Belshazzar – Energy and Style

Posted on January 29, 2010

Robert Beale at City Life reviews Manchester Camerata’s semi staging of Handel’s Belshazzar

“The downfall of political strongmen (or women) has a strange fascination, which is one reason for the enduring allure of this Handel oratorio.

It’s the tale of the ancient potentate of Babylon, whose fate was decreed by the hand of God in the famous ‘writing on the wall’ at the height of his debauchery. It’s all based on the Bible, though Daniel, originally the focus of the story, becomes almost a secondary character.

Sipho Fubesi took the title role and, being a natural comedian, played it for its comic possibilities. He’s a strong tenor and has a natural ease on stage. Fleur Bray proved the versatile performer she is by taking on the dowager queen with conviction.

Helen Sherman had the unenviable task of impersonating Cyrus and showed a little nervousness to begin with, but her big range came into its own in the third act arias.

Baritone Louis Hurst, one of the younger singers in the cast, revealed a voice of resource and power as Gobrias, and Peter Kelly (Arioch) is a man to watch for the future, too.

Nicholas Kraemer, with Manchester Camerata led by Adi Brett, made the music bounce and sing with energy and style – a model of Handelian performance.”

Robert Beale

See the full review at City Life