Review: Summertime American Songbook, The Denton, Worthing

Jessica Zhu and guest singer Marion Wyllie perform Leonard Bernstein's America as an encore. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Jessica Zhu and guest singer Marion Wyllie perform Leonard Bernstein's America as an encore. Picture: Stephen Goodger

0
Have your say

Lively American jazz tunes were given an operatic twist at The Denton in Worthing on Friday.

Pianist Jessica Zhu and guest singer Marion Wyllie presented Summertime American Songbook, featuring their own selection from composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

It was part of Worthing Symphony Society’s interview concert series but in a slightly different format, where the pair answered questions from the audience rather than being interviewed by Timothy Chick.

Jessica, a former Sussex International Piano Competition winner, gave us a dramatic version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, crashing through the notes in a fun way.

Afterwards, Timothy told the audience it was the first time she had performed the piece in public, so we forgave her for what sounded like just one or two notes out of place.

Her other big solo piece was William Albright’s Nighmare Fantasy Rag, a lively, exciting and complicated piece that held us enthralled and left us breathless. Great fun!

Much of the concert, though, was fronted by the Scottish soprano. Her operatic voice shone through, which gave some of the well-known songs chosen a very different edge.

The actor in her was noticeable in the range of emotions she portrayed on her face and her bright personality shone through.

Her versions of So in Love from Kiss Me Kate and Summertime from Porgy and Bess were particularly impressive and she had us smiling and laughing with her fast-paced animal noises in Aaron Copland’s I Bought Me a Cat.

Both women completed master degrees at Guildhall School of Music and Drama but it was a chance meeting on the tube after they had left that brought them together to perform. They make a successful pairing.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at www.worthingherald.co.uk

2 Like our Facebook page at Worthing Herald

3 Follow us on Twitter @Worthing_Herald

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Worthing Herald - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.