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Opening Concert at the Royal Opera House Mumbai | 21st October 2016

At the hundred plus year old ROH Mumbai, there was an air of anticipation. This was not the normal recital at the NCPA but an event to go down in history. The ROH was open to public in the year 1911 by King George V when it was used for light opera and operetta. Later it was used for cinema and now lovingly restored as a theatre once again.

21st October 2016 Opening Night © Royal Opera House, Mumbai

21st October 2016 Opening Night © Royal Opera House, Mumbai

Patricia Rozario, soprano is an international artist of the highest quality, decorated with awards from UK, India and Europe. She is India’s only international singer working in Western music. In a career spanning opera, orchestral work and recitals, she has performed all over the world with leading artists at prestigious venues. Patricia has also had many new works written specially for her by the world’s foremost classical composers.

She was joined at the piano by her husband Mark Troop who is a broadcaster and writer as well. He is the founder of The Chamber Music Company, a creative performance group. As a solo pianist, he recorded for BBC Radio 3 before making programmes as a producer. He now runs five festival events – Rare Classical Music, Inspired by China, Tango passion, German cabaret and New Classical Music. He also runs an educational foundation in India and is a lecturer in music at Goa University.

© Royal Opera House, Mumbai

© Royal Opera House, Mumbai

They started the eclectic programme with Handel’s Care Selve from Atlanta. Here she sings of her lost love which she hopes to find in nature. She had a beautifully creamy tone, well modulated and secure to the top C. It is difficult to start a programme with Handel but this was the perfect appetizer. She went on to sing the famous Schubert Gretchen Lied in hushed and beautiful tones. Maybe some drama towards the end could have helped. After that she launched straight away into her fach the lirico spinto repertoire with Chi il bel sogno from La rondine by Puccini. Doretta falls in love with a young student and wonders where it will lead. She dreams of her love and prizes it above all the wealth in the world. Again here, a top C and B flat were ravishing.

Les Chemins de l’amour by Poulenc. She opened the door by singing French mélodie to perfection. Here she sings of the paths to the sea had preserved the memory of their visits and the sound of their laughter. Alas for those days of happy love! “Now I am unable to retrace my steps to those paths of love. I search unceasingly for the lost paths, paths of despair, paths of remembrance and divine paths of love.”

Quando m’en vo from Puccini’s Bohème, also called Musetta’s Waltz did not have the requisite amount of chutzpah. This sexy theme with high B’s needed more daring to bring off successfully.

Patricia sings Spanish and Portuguese music to perfection. Her Villa Lobos is beautifully shaded and suitably exotic. The song tells of this 16th century poem and was probably sung by the sailors as they crossed the ocean from Portugal to discover South America. They sing of the loves they have left behind and pray to God to keep them and their beloveds safe.

Again her beautiful creamy tone in pianissimo in alt was ravishing. Her Depuis le jour is show stopping as she sang about her love. Louise is in an ecstatic state as her love blossom and life is beautiful. Love extends his wings to her and her heart sings with new joy and triumph at the memory of that first day of love.

Patricia finished the concert with two pieces in English, the first amusing and little known. The last was Summertime by George Gershwin. There was one encore Puccini O mio babbino caro.

Let’s only hope that this great Indian diva will grace this state on many occasions and in all types of repertoire, including concert opera and recital like this one. I was very pleased and honoured to be there on this opening night of The Royal Opera House. Three cheers to all concerned for bringing it off fabulously.

© Royal Opera House, Mumbai

© Royal Opera House, Mumbai