St. Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble

Sunday 13th April 2008. The St. Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble gave a concert in church as part of our Golden Jubilee celebrations, with part of the proceeds being donated to the World Youth Day (Australia) Fund.

Over 270 parishioners and local people attended the concert which was one of the early engagements of their 2008 tour. The artists included Olga Kozlova (soprano and conductor), Nadezda Snegova (soprano), Anastasia Bogacheva (mezzo-soprano), Vitaly Ishutin (tenor), Pavel Yankousky (baritone), and Yury Zaryadnov (bass).

From the opening bars of the first item of Russian Sacred Music, which filled the first half of the programme, it was evident that we were in for a memorable evening. Their individual voices (although soloists in their own right) wove a marvellous tapestry of sound from which the bright colouring of a single voice would emerge to be carried by the choir for a moment before sinking back into the whole. The second half consisted of Russian folk music with each member of the group having their own “moment of glory.”

Rarely has the church been filled by such a volume of sound, so rich and exquisitely controlled. The recital concluded with ‘Kalinka!’ followed by a standing ovation, and then an encore of ‘Some enchanted evening.’