Fine music to dine by was the menu of choice for opera lovers of Whanganui.
Once again Dining with Opera at Frank Bar + Eatery, Red Lion Inn and Quality Inn Collegiate was a resounding success with full houses at each on Wednesday night.
Frank was a superb venue with five young singers featured with accompanist Sharolyn Kimmorley.
Kimmorley, an Australian repetiteur, is one of the world's best. She is a pianist tuned and sensitive to the needs of her singers. Her accompaniment for the singers is as though she is providing them with a secure musical cushion to lay their voices on.
The singers perform between courses, giving their enthusiastic audience time to discuss their merits - which Frank's audience did loudly and energetically.
Baritone Aidan Phillips' aria from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte embodied the hallmark of Mozart's lilting music overlaid with a sensory bliss.
Phillips is a fine young baritone with an elegant presence on stage. He's a young performer destined for the opera stage.
Swishing onstage with style and ease was beautiful soprano Felicity Tomkins, a young singer of note already.
Tomkins' demeanour is commanding and her aria Lamio Fritz by Mascagni was assured with her top notes soaring with ease and thrilling the audience.
She was followed by young soprano Emma McClean with a melting rendition of What Good the Moon by Kurt Weill.
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This was an inspired choice for McClean with her creamy voice and elegant stance. Her musicality is assured as she reached with ease into her top range.
Completing this bracket was the well-known love duet from The Mikado sung by tenor Nathan Hauraki and soprano Erica Paterson which paid full homage to composers Gilbert and Sullivan.
In this emotive piece these two singers gave their all in true G&S style with panache and musical flair.
A trio making the rounds of the three cafes then burst in armed with a guitar and launched themselves onstage with huge grins and great mana.
The three - baritone Alfred and tenor Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimoano with Joe Amosa - first sang a Māori waiata then rolled out a rollicking version of Ten Guitars - echoes of Sol3 Mio here.
The cafe evenings again attracted the music aficionados of Whanganui with huge success.