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Zoe Ward
Upper Sixth
Worcester House

Lunchtime Recital: Marienella Phillips

Lunchtime Recital: Marienella Phillips

Following on from the beautiful vocals of Christopher Pigeon, Marienella had some rather large shoes to fill; however we all knew there was no doubt about her ability to fill them. On the 24th January, Marienella took to the stage (literally, there was a small stage placed in the Recital Hall for her) and took the breath away from every audience member, with her stunning singing. Not so much of an old-timer, but Marienella (also known as Clari) is an extremely experienced vocalist. Last term she took to the Redgrave stage and played the role of Eva Peron in the School production of Evita. However, today without her wig or an audience of 300, it was a much more intimate affair — she still wowed the crowd though! She even said that she was more nervous today than she was when performing as Eva, and I presume this was due to the close and personal nature of these recitals.

She chose to sing three out of five Elizabethan songs by Ivor Gurney, an English composer and poet — a stark contrast to Lloyd Webber’s Don’t Cry for Me Argentina! Beginning with Orpheus, a poignant and emotional song, Marienella demonstrated her large vocal range and technical ability. The words, written by none other than William Shakespeare, necessitated deep expression, and required the singer to truly believe in what the words were saying; I believe that Marienella ticked both of these boxes. The unaccompanied moments were magical and Marienella demonstrated extreme control, and seemed at ease, despite the lack of piano to support her. Her vibrato topped off the piece, with the lingering legato notes beautifully resonating in the Hall.

The audience, eager for more, applauded tremendously and we were in for our next treat; Under the Greenwood Tree, another Shakespearian song about the utter bliss of nature. She commenced with an altogether jolly and cheerful opening. What added to the wonder of Marienella’s recital was the fact she did not have any music scores or words to prompt her — obviously being Eva Peron she is able to learn a couple of lines or two! This piece appeared extremely difficult as the vocals contrast impressively with the piano accompaniment. Once again, with her experience and supreme ability, Marienella coped with the difficulty, as if there was none at all. She smiled throughout the song, which really made the audience feel at one with the singer, and once again, her expressive nature carried throughout the song, which made understanding the Shakespearian lyrics a lot easier to grasp.

Last, but certainly not least, was Sleep, a piece with words from John Fletcher, about sleep being able to take you away into a beautiful dream. Serenity, calm and breathtaking are words with are synonymous with Marienella’s performance of this song. Her breath control throughout the piece was impeccable, and she did not fall into the trap that some singers would do which is to ‘swoop’ into the high notes as opposed to defining them clearly; Marienella sang the notes gracefully yet distinctly, not afraid to use her diaphragm and really belt out the mind-boggling melody.

I am in true awe of this girl, as not only can she perform on a stage, in a costume to an audience of hundreds, but can also perform to a smaller, more informal crowd, which can often be perceived as more difficult. It’s fair to say that Marienella has a gigantic talent, and I could listen to her sing all day long — if you haven’t heard her I really recommend that you go to her next performance (which I hope will be soon) as you will be as stunned as everyone else in her audience today. Well done Marienella!

8 February 2012

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