By: JudyAnn Masters
Mezzo soprano Carly Paoli was the singer chosen by Vatican Radio to sing 'Ave Maria' composed by Romano Musumarra with lyrics by Grant Black, as the theme for Pope Francis' Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016. In that same year, she headlined in the 'Music for Mercy', concert in the Roman Forum. Carly's debut album Singing My Dreams went straight in at No. 2 in the Classical Music Charts. JudyAnn Masters reviews her recent concert in the Cadogan Hall.
It's the day after St Valentine's and the concert is sold out. Cadogan Hall is filled with eager fans of the talented and beautiful young mezzo soprano, Carly Paoli. The Abiah Symphony Orchestra are tuned and ready; the Tring Park 16 strong choir poised and alert; backstage Flautist Andrea Griminelli and Federico Paciotti Italian tenor wait a bit impatiently, as conductor and composer Steven Mercurio enters from stage left to a hushed crowd that spontaneously breaks into applause as he turns to greet them with a huge smile. Then the glamorous Carly Paoli takes centre stage, surveys the Hall, has a look of introspection as she looks down and slowly raising her head it as she begins to sing. One just knew it was to be a very special evening!
Carly's first song of the evening, Music of Heaven, is also the first selection on her newly released CD Singing my Dreams. I loved it when I first heard the CD, but to hear her voice in person was a real treat! This classical singer is not just at home on the stage, she really enjoys performing and has the gift to bring her audience along with her as she weaves through her song.
The evening was "All About Love", as we had a musical tour of both old and new favourites from stage and screen. Amongst the favourites of the evening had to be the medleys. The first, La Ville de L'Amour, painted vivid familiar pictures of the City of Lights with selections of Hymne a L'Amour, I love Paris and The Night They Invented Chamagne (from GiGi) just to name a few. The gown Carly wore for this set was pure Audrey Hepburn.
Federico Paciotti is a talented young Italian tenor. He cut quite the dashing figure in his tux, with his electric guitar, that operatic tenor voice with the Abiah Symphony Orchestra accompanying him!
When Carly, Federico and Steven performed on stage together it was magic! The trio were playful, having fun, with their enjoyment of performing together bubbling into a joy they shared with the audience. It was like being a fly on the wall watching as three friends jammed together-just for the joy of it!
The flautist, Andrea Griminelli, was yet another treat for the senses. His performance was as visual as it was audio. His lively rendition of Monti 'Czardas' received a thunderous applause - as did his Morricone 'American Themes'- Andrea's Rawhide was pure nostalgia and a joy!
Tring Park 16 choir are talented singularly as well as a group. They were Choir of the Year 2016 for the BBC's Songs of Praise and runners-up in Pitch Battle. They also just happen to be from Carly's alma mater, the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. The Tring Park 16 helped put the finishing touches on the performance rich evening.
Conductor and composer Steven Mercurio is superbly suited for his craft and is an entertainer extraordinaire. He conducts using virtually his whole body. You can almost follow this thought patterns as he flows from movement to movement. His interactions with the singers, in particular Carly is like watching a dancer stretch for the sky. I had the privileged to briefly meet him after the concert and he was just as energised as he had been on stage. He is a contagiously happy person!
Steven also teased Carly that he "had lost count of her gown changes!" when she came on stage for her final song, in yet another outstanding costume. She must have had seven or eight different changes-each one uniquely suited to the song. The gowns were all stunning and stunning on her slender figure. Carly told me she "is into the total performance package and costuming is part of that package".
My absolute favourite bit in the concert was Carly's Disney Medley. I was transported to past decades, as a childhood favourites danced in the air! Carly gave those old memories new life as she sang from the heart the songs that gave her "the dream of singing on stage and bringing joy to people." Thus the CD Singing my Dreams.