THE Conwy Classical Music Festival has made a triumphant return with an extensive program of twenty concerts and event concerts over an eight-day period.
From 23-30 July the festival drew large crowds, with St Mary’s Church, Conwy at full capacity throughout, with top performances delivered by musicians.
The Festival Orchestra concert was notable for a stunning rendition of Beethoven’s little-performed Triple Concert, with soloists Eva Thorarinsdottir, Hannah Roberts and Benjamin Powell showing brilliant mastery of their instruments, followed by an uplifting rendition of the Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony.
Some of Wales’ finest voices were featured during the week.
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A sold-out ‘Night at the Opera’ concert featured soloists Erin Gwyn Rossington, Angharad Rowlands, Robert Lewis and John Ieuan Jones, and lunchtime gigs saw Elgan Llyr Thomas, fresh off his debut in Covent Garden, North Wales favorite Sioned Terry and winners at last week’s National Eisteddfod Rhys Meilyr and Owain Rowlands take the stage.
Chamber music was well represented with concerts by the Manchester and Fitzsimmon Ensembles and the internationally renowned Dante Quartet.
Well-known favorites featured in their programs, such as Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and Oboe Quartet, but several lesser-known works were included.
Elgar’s little-known Piano Quintet performed by the Manchester Ensemble in particular was very well received.
Early music featured in two contrasting performances, with the week beginning with a staging of The Telling of the life and music of the 12th century abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, further enhanced by imaginative lighting effects
At the end of the week, the Marian Consort, who has performed several times at the Proms, presented a program opposing Renaissance and contemporary stagings of texts relating to the Virgin Mary.
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Piano recitals by established soloist Richard Ormrod and rising star Ellis Thomas captivated audiences, one of the highlights being Ellis’ performance of Ligeti’s ‘The Devil’s Staircase’.
Conwy-based pianist Christina Mason-Scheuermann and a lecture on the Davies Sisters of Gregynog, also on the week-long program, which culminated in an evening with the Brythoniaid Male-Voice Choir with Erin Gwyn Rossington and John Eifion as soloists.
Festival director Chris Roberts said: “I was initially concerned that audience numbers would return this year to pre-pandemic levels, but I’m happy to say that was not the case and that my fears were unfounded.
“The audience throughout the week was really excellent and enthusiastic.
“I think people were ready to put their fears of Covid behind them and go out and enjoy the opportunity to listen to live music again.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us – artists, sponsors, stewards and audience members are all integral to the success of the festival.”