One of the growing number of classically trained performers turning to cabaret, Sarah-Ann Cromwell is the only one delivering a full set of opera. It’s a nice USP but this is far from a gimmicky show: it’s simply a pleasure, partly because of the quality of Cromwell’s voice but also because of her enormous charm, engaging humour and relaxed manner. The set is loosely structured around her career switch to singing from teaching (that experience might account for her down-to-earth ease with an audience, and her delivery being a trifle de trop at times) and, after opening with a Bach oratorio, she wisely balances canonical pieces with works in English, from an excitably gossipy ‘Trouble in Tahiti’ to unfamiliar, almost music-hall-style songs by female Victorian composers. Each is lightly but effectively contextualised and Cromwell’s passion for the works themselves and her performance of them is plain. The benefit of creating her own show, she notes, is that ‘I get to do the music that I want to do, not the music I ought to do’. That pleasure shines through from beginning to end.
And if you like the sound of this, try:
‘Ballesque’, the ambitious debut cabaret production from classically trained young company Fait Accompli.