At a recent Coffee Concert at Christ Church Cathedral, the spring sunlight streamed in the high windows and Caroline Reid-O’Brien sang from the altar, with a gloriously pure soprano voice, without affectation or performance tricks. She has an easy manner and a fine radiance that impresses.
Her performance was a mix of operatic, musical theatre, popular songs from Gershwin and a fine line in Irish ballads. Accompanied by Yvonne Collier on piano, this was a special treat from a singer who has quality, made a home-town name for herself in church choirs, choral ensembles and the missed Waterford Show.
It is the power and purity of her voice that impresses as she eased the audience into Nella Fantasia, a glorious Handel and her I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls, seemed so right amid the marble of the church pillars. The Puccini O Mio Babbino Caro was strong and soaring, up up into the roof of the building. There was a gentle quality in her The Quiet Land Of Erin.
Damien O’Brien (piano) and Aine McCarthy-Kent (flute) provided two fine interludes with movie themes and a Miyagi piece of delicate beauty The Sea In Spring.
Caroline returned with a treat, Wonderful Wonderful Day (as indeed it was) from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Her Vilja from Die Lustige Widow by Lehar was a revelation and a fine Cavatina slipped into two Gershwin numbers. Then it just got better with a beautiful You Raise Me Up, an older version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and s splendid closer, Con Te Partiro, that brought the audience to their feet in ovation and acclamation and you don’t get many of those in this venue.