Sophie Clarke mezzo soprano and Ravi Nathwani guitar – Superb sounds brighten the day at Toad Lane Concert

Review by Dr Joe Dawson       

Standing in, recently, at truly short notice, Duo Cantelina (left) wowed the audience at St Mary in the Baum with their professionalism and vibrant beauty of sound. Their scintillating Spanish colours brightened the day.

Sophie Clarke mezzo soprano and Ravi Nathwani guitar are master’s students at the RNCM and are each experienced performers in their own right. They perform all over the UK and as a duo were recently invited to perform for the National Day of Spain by the Consul of Spain.

Liverpudlian Sophie is the first RNCM student to be sponsored by the international Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and winner of both the RNCM Song Cycle Competition 2023 and the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2022. She quickly charms her audience with ease.

Born in Reading, British Asian guitarist Ravi Nathwani began learning classical guitar at the age of six, then saxophone at nine. He began studying at the RNCM with Craig Ogden in 2018.

As a duo they recently gained First Place in the RNCM Song Cycle competition with Manuel de Falla’s ‘Siete Canciones Populares Españolas’. They began their concert with these enchanting pieces and the Spanish theme recurred throughout with other songs by Rodrigo and Duarte.

Sophie has a unique mezzo tone which embraces a guttural Flamenco growl through to a beautifully focused classical range.

Ravi is a sympathetic accompanist as well as gifted guitarist. He also arranged the crossover songs: a gorgeous Morgen by Richard Strauss effortlessly segued to Edelweiss by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Kurt Weill and Robbie Burns were similarly effective and a spirited Spanish version of tarantella, Zapateado by Giménez, literally put its stamp on proceedings to rapturous applause. 

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

previously in May

Toad Lane Concerts enjoyed a merry, merry month of May – a bumper month of voices galore!

Review by Dr Joe Dawson

May 01: Bass singer John Nancarro’s sonorous tones rang out with lieder by Schumann and Schubert followed by songs from the rich world of the British music hall that blossomed in Victorian times and into the twentieth century. David Hammond piano (York University) accompanied superbly and contributed solos by Richard Strauss and Piazzolla.

May 08: The Nightingale Singers (see our cover photo) This joyful mixed voice choir, many of whom have been leading soloists in the area for some time, raised the roof as well as spirits in a varied and hugely enjoyable choral feast with notable solos. Originally founded in 1987, they were amiably presented by Alyson Brailsford and their Music Director of 20 years, Ken Greaves, and ably supported by accompanist J Edward Rigg.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.