This was my first opera concert by Chelsea Opera Group and right away after it I got a ticket for the next performance by then (Rossini Mosè in Egitto next February). That summarizes perfectly my experience.

First, it is amazing how a group of enthusiasts can assemble something as good as this performance of Christmas Eve by Rimsky-Korsakov. Second it was really brilliantly picked: a infrequent opera that is still very nice and deserves to be known.

The music on this opera is fantastic. It doesn’t have the dense textures of other Rimsky works neither the magical details but it is still exquisite and very enjoyable. And it works like a charm presenting a simple tale to enjoy a non deep but neither superficial opera evening.

Timothy Burke conducting was focused on keeping all the orchestra playing together and it did it without any mistake and with a lot of musicality. He did also take care of the chorus achieving a very good level. Only minor balance problems at some points but nothing serious.

The choir adjusted very well to sing the English translation of the originally russian score, that is not easy at all.

Soloist were good, specially Jonathan Stoughton as Vakula with an ardent singing dealing with the high notes perfectly. Also the cast did some acting on stage that helped a lot to get into the mood.