One of those out there treats, having a singer of the calibre of Ailyn Pérez in a music shop in North London suburbia. Les Aldrich in Muswell Hill was the scene of the first pop up gig since its acquisition by Ian Rosenblatt (of the solicitors and Rosenblatt Recitals fame). All it took was a small platform, an electronic piano played by Gary Matthewman and a few chairs borrowed from the bookshop next doors. The selection of songs was clearly off the cuff, which added to the fun aspect of this gig. We were treated to a handful of Broadway show tunes full of bubbly ebullience and spark. Her creamy tone and bouncy presence making them irresistible.
The two crowning glories were Gershwin’s Summertime, full of longing and that certain amount of statuesque poise that Leontyne Price brought to the music in her various recitals and the famous studio recording of Porgy and Bess. The other was her lusciously sensual rendition of Consuelo Velázquez’s Bésame Mucho delivered in the mellifluent manner only a Spanish speaker can bring. Her great ability to communicate the music she sings is undeniable and the impact is remarkably similar in a vast opera house or a tiny music shop.
On top of all the wonderful singing she was also cajoled into trying to play La Donna e Mobile on a ukulele (as seen on the photo above) by some of us present in the audience. She is working on it so stay tuned for a future rendition! If you see her in recital in the coming few months don’t be too surprised if she picks up a ukulele for the encore 😉 Or just pop and see Turandot at the Royal Opera House to witness her stunning assumption of Liù.
PS That signed CD sleeve will be causing some chuckles for months to come.