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Diva Gigs: A Week In The Life Of A Diva
Published on Monday, 16 July 2012

4 starsUnderground Venues, Music
6, 14, 20 Jul, 1:45pm-3:15pm; 15 Jul, 5:15pm-6:45pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

A Week In The Life Of A Diva sees soprano Sarah-Ann Cromwell perform a well-selected programme of classical and contemporary songs. It’s a very personal recital, beginning with the first piece she performed, and continuing through her training and some much-loved favourites. Cromwell’s connection with the material shines through.

Cromwell is highly accomplished and sensitive to the space, crafting an intimate sound to match the setting. A communicative actor, she creates an accessible performance, which entertains regardless of familiarity with classical music or the language of the piece.

Cromwell’s natural ability to establish a rapport with the audience is instantly evident – and her charming introductions to each piece are appealing and informative, setting the scene and also providing some interesting insights into the life of an opera singer. The second half of the programme focuses on female composers and Cromwell’s enthusiasm here is infectious.

Performing with feeling throughout, one interesting experiment involved Jason Robert Brown’s Climbing Uphill. Originally written to evoke a Broadway audition, Cromwell translated it into a try-out for an English opera. But the word substitutions (such as “CV” for “resume”) weren’t all successful; having already proven herself an expert at characterisation, I’d be inclined to trust that that audience will accept the Americanisms in the lyrics, rather than break up the piece’s natural rhythm.

A Week In The Life Of A Diva is a highly enjoyable evening of music, relaxed and accessible – and hosted by possibly the most down-to-earth diva you’ll meet for a long time.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Buxton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.