Janice Watson Sings Cabaret – All Saints Church, Borehamwood 24th March 2024.

Singers: Janice Watson and Laurie Marks

The ABC Trio: Celia Bangham – oboe, Adele Gordon – clarinet, Caitlin Stock – bassoon

Double Bass – Helen Boyea, Drums – Simon Kenyon-Smith, Piano – Derek Holland

This concert was the brainchild of both Andrew Grady and Derek Holland, it had been thwarted due to the Covid 19 pandemic, but now at last able to happen. As the current President of the Rotary Club of the Studios of Elstree and Borehamwood, Andrew Grady chose to raise money for The Alzheimer’s society in memory of his late mother, who was also a keen singer herself, having hamily links to the Huddersfield Choral Society.

The ABC Trio who are all regular musicians with the Elstree Mozart Players, opened proceedings with an Allegro from Mozart’s Divertimento No. 4. A lively start to this wonderful extravaganza and played with the usual panache you expect from EMP musicians.

Then it was time for Janice to delight us with her Cabaret voice, ably accompanied by Derek Holland, Helen Boyes and Simon Kenyon-Smith. She gave us a little explanation about the differences between the Operatic and Cabaret style of voice, and how the sound is made. Such a consummate professional, Janice brings an almost forensic and analytical understanding to her performances and is prepared and able to share that know how with an audience. She began with Gimme Gimme from Thoroughly Modern Millie by Tesori /Scanlon. From the first note she had everyone spellbound; no microphone required, her operatic training kicked in even though her sound and delivery were clearly showtime-musical in style. The applause was instant as she finished, warm and appreciative of such a class act. She followed up with Secret Love, from Calamity Jane by Sammy Fain and ended this selection with, My Ship by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gershwin. By now the audience were completely under her spell, Janice was on a roll.

To give her voice a break, The ABC Trio performed a few more numbers. Firstly, The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, then Nessun Dorma [none shall sleep] from Turandot by Puccini and Regina della notte [queen of the night aria] from Magic Flute by Mozart. A brilliant foil to cabaret songs and a nod to Janice and her profession.

Next, Janice sung the Tale of the Oyster by Cole Porter, an amusing number where she brought all her years of opera stage experience and presence to the fore.  Then a song that most people know either as the Liverpool Football team anthem, or more properly from the musical, Carousel, – You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rodgers and Hammerstein. She ended this section with ‘Bill’ by Jerome kern, a beautiful love song and Janice brought great heart and pathos to it. The ABC Trio then played a Gavotte by Gossec and a Tango from Espana by Albeniz.

To end the first half, Janice was joined by Laurie Marks (an experienced Gilbert & Sullivan participant), in a famous duet from Annie Get Your Gun – Anything you Can Do, by Irvin Berlin. They both sung and acted the roles perfectly, much to the joy and amusement of the audience, rounding off what had been a brilliant and thoroughly engaging experience, and we were only halfway through!

The ABC Trio opened the second half with Tico-Tico no Fuba [sparrow in the cornmeal] by Abreau, then Beautiful dreamer by Stephen Foster. Beautifully played and preparing us for Janice’s next numbers.

She began with Cry me a River by Arthur Hamilton. A dreamy, steamy song that Janice got beneath the skin of perfectly. Then she was joined by Laurie in his specialist subject, There’s A Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast from the Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan. Again, they inhabited the parts and delivered a flawless performance. Janice ended this section with And all that Jazz from Chicago by Kander and Ebb. She really got to the heart of cabaret with this one and gave it some ‘wellie’. The audience couldn’t get enough, applauding loudly and enthusiastically.

Once more The ABC Trio gave Janice time to rest her voice and played Jeanie with the light brown hair by Stephen Foster, Rondo from Divertimento no 4 by Mozart, and then the evergreen Danny boy by Weatherly.

Janice began her final selection of songs with Maybe This Time by Kander and Ebb from the musical Cabaret. A love song that she understood thoroughly and lived through every moment taking the audience with her. Then a change of style, sung more operatically, yet from a musical, Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. A superb song and a glorious rendition, then applause to match.

A change of mood, humour. Janice sung A Word on my Ear by Flanders and Swann a comic song about a tone deaf singer, clearly not about Janice! Brilliantly sung and performed with gestures from her able accompanist – Derek. The final song, also humorous if a little macabre, had Laurie join her again in, A Little Priest from Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim. They played their roles very convincingly, almost chillingly! At the end, applause was hearty, celebratory and a tribute to a wonderful artist. Bravo Janice!

A final flourish by The ABC Trio with Maruntel [fast dance] from Romanian dances by Bartók rounded off a fantastic evening of entertainment. The audience responded enthusiastically now ‘sugar’ high on all these musical lollipops.

The local Mayor gave thanks to the musicians and particularly Janice for her wonderful singing, also to the organisers and audience who make it all worthwhile. Andrew Grady also thanked everyone for supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and his friends and musicians for organising and playing, clearly moved by the occasion.

‘Let’s have more of that Jazz’ Janice, you have proved what a versatile and talented opera singer you are and how you can sing anything, adapt your voice to any genre. Fantastic!!

Graham Wilson (Freelance Reviewer for EMP)

Janice Watson Sings Cabaret – in aid of The Altzheimers Society

Join us for an enchanting evening of melodies as the renowned Janice Watson, with friends, Derek Holland, Helen Boyea and Simon Kenyon Smith along with the Barry Solomon Trio who will take centre stage in a charity concert like no other.

Janice Watson

Janice Watson is a celebrated artist, who brings her unparalleled talent to the stage, weaving a musical tapestry that transcends genres. Prepare to be enchanted by her captivating voice and charismatic stage presence.

Janice is one of the worlds’ major sopranos, renowned for the beauty of her sound. A flautist originally, she began taking singing seriously at the instigation of tenor Phillip Langridge. She studied firstly with Johanna Peters at the Guildhall in London, then later with Renata Scotto. There followed a period at the Ravel Institute in Ciboure, culminating in a Concert performance of Sheherezade with Michel Plasson and the Toulouse Symphony Orchestra. Then at the age of 23 she won the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the Royal Overseas League, which launched her into the upper levels of the singing profession.

Janice has performed in most of the major opera houses of the world including; Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Vienna, Paris, Lyon, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, La Scala Milan, Naples, Turin, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, and has been a regular guest with both English National Opera and Welsh National Opera.

“Janice Watson Sings Cabaret” promises to be an unforgettable musical journey, set to captivate hearts, and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society, the recognized charity for the President of the Studio Rotary Club for 2023-24, Andrew Grady.

Date: Sunday 24th March 2024
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: All Saints Church, Borehamwood
Tickets are priced at £10 in advance, and for the special concessions, it’s only £12 at the door (or £15 without concessions).

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience a night of exceptional entertainment while supporting the Alzheimer’s Society.

Tickets can be purchased either:
Online: www.ticketsource.co.uk/elstree-mozart-players/t-jzmmpoy
Or via Pat Strack: pat.strack@icloud.com  or Andrew Grady: 07802 736628
Email: elstreemozartplayers@outlook.com

This charity concert not only promises an evening filled with the soulful tunes of Janice Watson but also provides an opportunity for you to make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s. All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards supporting Alzheimer’s Society initiatives.

Your attendance and contribution will help make a positive impact in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

So let’s come together, enjoy a night of musical excellence, and make a difference in the lives of those affected by this condition.

Make sure to mark Sunday 24th March 2024, on your calendar. Bring friends and family for an evening of joy, entertainment, and compassion.

Let the power of music unite us for a cause that truly matters.

See you at “Janice Watson Sings Cabaret” – where melody meets meaning, supporting the Alzheimer’s Society!