Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Ben McAteer: Onstage chemistry a beautiful thing

Unfortunately, gone are the days when the BMS, the current equivalent of the British Music Society, could command an audience of hundreds. At the first of its Northern Lights mini-fest in Queen's University's Harty Room, there was a disappointingly low turnout for a recital which deserved a full house.

Newry born baritone Ben McAteer won the first Northern Ireland Opera Festival of Voice competition two years ago. Since graduating as a chemist, wisely he has been studying in London as a vocalist.

His voice has continued to improve exponentially and, on Sunday afternoon, it was quite clear that this young man, still in his mid-20s, has a potentially great career ahead of him.

His diction is clear and expressive, his stage manner easy and confident, and the top register of his range particularly rich and strong. The lowest register will grow in strength as he matures with age.

But what beautiful sounds and considered performances he and his excellent pianist/accompanist Catherine Norton produced. Together, especially in the songs by Quilter, Vaughan Williams and Finzi, they plumbed the emotional core of the music and conveyed the humour, the pathos, the light heartedness and the occasional gravity of the texts and settings.

Don't miss the next in the BMS series on Sunday, October 20.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

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Peace and quiet will help you recover from a busy social life. Although you love attending parties, these engagements can take a toll on your health. Set aside a few hours in your busy schedule for solitary pursuits. Taking a nap, reading for pleasure or luxuriating in a hot bath is strongly advised. You've lost touch with your spiritual side. Take this opportunity to reconnect with it. You'll be surprised to learn how much you enjoy your own company.More