The twelfth concert by present and past members of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, organised by club chairman Jonathan Jempson for the benefit of Rye Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, was held in Winchelsea Church on Saturday 4th December. This time, fortunately, socially distanced seating was not necessary.
David Gowland, Artistic Director JPYAP, takes great care to nurture his Young Artists and to help them expand their horizons. Items from lesser-known operas were included as well as popular favourites and, as has become customary, the programme also contained a national song section. The line-up was British soprano April Koyejo-Audiger, Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Kseniia Nikolaieva, Uruguayan tenor Andrés Presno, Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk and British Russian répétiteur/conductor Edmund Whitehead. Only Yuriy had sung in Winchelsea before, when he kindly stepped in at the last minute at the July concert.
Although no replacements or changes to the programme were required on this occasion, unlike in July, unfortunately April sprained her ankle as she climbed into the vehicle bringing the Young Artists from the Royal Opera House stage door to Winchelsea in time to have lunch before the afternoon rehearsal took place. She gamely carried on and frozen peas, an ankle support, painkillers and a chair to support her foot were rounded up to help her out. Her ankle improved and the cast contrived to keep her sitting down for most of the rehearsal and the performance. Thanks are due to the new and established supporters who took on catering and accommodation – and nursing – responsibilities for the performers.
It was exciting for the Artists to be back on stage at last and the audience was bowled over by hearing music live. The standard, as always, was very high and several regulars were heard to say the evening was ‘the best ever’.
Photographs by Roger Way