Samantha Oxborough - Mezzo Soprano

March 15, 2024

At the March recital our guest performer was Samantha Oxborough, a very talented young mezzo soprano from Birmingham. She has already won numerous awards since graduating from the Birmingham Conservatoire and was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Viewed by over a billion people worldwide she was then invited to meet Prince Charles and has since been a popular choice to sing the ‘new’ “God save the King” at football and rugby matches. She has received national newspaper praise for her opera performances and recently won the Geraint Morris Award in Cardiff.

Samantha began her programme with three songs by English composers, “Silent Noon” by Vaughan Williams, “Music when soft voices die” by Roger Quilter and “King David” by Herbert Howells. Immediately one was impressed by the rich tone quality of Samantha’s voice and her admirable breath control. The following two folk songs, “The Sally Gardens” (Irish) and “Blow the wing southerly” (from Northumberland) were a good choice to provide contrast with the previous songs and the two which followed -  “ Must the winter come so soon” by American composer Samuel Barber from his opera “Vanessa” and “Voi che sapete” from “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.

During the interval the refreshment room was buzzing with excitement at the programme so far; obviously the audience was most impressed by our performers.

The second half began with “To Music” by Schubert, “It breathed a gentle scent” by Mahler and “Dedication” by Schumann and were followed by four songs from musicals. “We’ll gather lilacs” from “Perchance to Dream” by Ivor Novello, “Someone to watch over me” from “Oh, Kay!”, “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess” and “The man I love” from “Lady, be good” all three by George Gershwin. These were all beautifully executed with great attention to the necessary style that each required.

Finally, Samantha sang “Danny Boy” – a traditional Irish song and for a fitting conclusion followed it with “Habanera” from “Carmen” by Bizet. This was sung with all the necessary inflections and nuances from the swaggering female worker in the cigarette factory! What a fantastic performance! I am sure she will enjoy a successful and rewarding career in the future. However, this wonderful evening’s music would not have been possible without the superb accompaniment of Charles Matthews. As many will already know he is a very busy man; an organ tutor at the Conservatoire, an accompanist for many of the students there and for many other performers in the Cotswold/Birmingham area. He is of course the Patron of our Music Society and we were delighted to see him “in action” this evening.

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