Last Sunday, another special celebration was added to the Gay Pride weekend. The London Gay Symphony Orchestra (LGSO) celebrated its 18th anniversary in the new-state-of-the-art Barbican Centre building, the Milton Court Concert Hall. Amy Lamé presented the occasion while Christopher Braime conducted the excited and skillful musicians of the LGSO. With a quartet of talented opera singers (Soraya Mafi, Michelle Daly, Nicky Spence, Timothy Connor), the event delivered a grand opera gala with some of the world’s most loved arias and overtures.
The programme included Bernstein’s quirky, ‘Glitter and Be Gay’, which was lavishly sung by Mafi. Daly sung with pathos to the ephemeral ‘Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix’ from Saint-Saens’ Samson and Delilah. Mafi and Spence sang Verdi’s ‘Brindisi’ with a streak of cheekiness and they managed to slip in a quick dance as well. Later on they toned it down with one of Puccini’s memorable arias from La Boheme, ‘O Mimì, tu più non torni.’ Connor performed songs in German as baritone for Mozart’s ‘Papagena! Papageno!’ and the wonderful aria from Wagner’s Tannhauser, ‘O du, mein holder Abenstern’. But it was in Rossini’s overture to William Tell and Verdi’s ‘Anvil chorus’ where we got to see the LGSO at their prime. The LGSO chorus singers also made their mark with the Verdi’s ‘Chorus of Hebrew Slaves’ from Nabucco.
The LGSO had its first performance 18 years ago at the London Drill Hall and was founded by the conductor Robin Gordon-Powell and his friends. As an active orchestra, it performs five concerts per year in London and all over the UK in addition to ad hoc international events. In 2008, they performed collaboratively with the French Rainbow Symphony Orchestra in London and Paris and have continued to contribute to various Pride events and international festivals.
One of the aims of the LGSO is to bring together talented and passionate musicians of all sexualities and has an ongoing interest in new musicians joining. The next concert dates are October 19th and December 14th 2014. For more information, please go to their website