Sopranos and tenors are predisposed heroines and heroes in all operas, and everyone wants to hear the hero sing, right? French Cameroonian Jacques-Greg Belobo, however, is a baritone and performed a repertoire of music from Bizet, Brahms, Mozart and Gershwin at the Maitisong last Friday.
Baritone roles are, more often than not, the heroes’ fathers, priests, tragics or villains. This made for an intense performance by the lyric baritone who was joined by his fellow Conservatoire of Paris, alumnus Damien Lehman. There were sombre renditions, some comedic ones and roguish ones where I half anticipated Dr Evil’s laughter, from the lyric baritone who is a member of the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany.
Due to the language barrier it might have been helpful to include songs’ summations that would allow an opera novice, such as me, the opportunity to understand the background of the song he was performing. It was quite an experience realising the agility possibilities of the baritone voice.
Belobo’s show and visit was made possible by David Slater Music, French Embassy and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Greg Belobo also facilitated a singing master class whose 12 participants were billed to perform yesterday (Saturday) after the workshop at Music Room at Maitisong.