The Montgomery County Masterworks Chorus under Roger Ames opened its season recently with a performance of Handel's oratorio, "Solomon," at the Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.
We are grateful to Ames for having given us the opportunity to hear "Solomon." The Masterworks Chorus did valiantly under its spirited conductor. Alas, his spirit at times was more willing than the vocal technique of his choir was able. Choral settings such as the "Nightingale Choir" and the moving "Draw the Tear," demand a higher degree of dynamic sophistication and vocal articulation than the chorus could produce.
Beverly Benso sang the title role with skill and conviction. This writer prefers a baritone voice for this role in spite of the fact Handel had a male alto voice in mind. Martha Randall, singing the air "Bless the Day" with a touch of Victorian prettiness, let the true sensuous character of music escape her. Linda Mabbs gave a moving rendition of the true mother's lament. "Can I See My Infant Gored?"
David Beckwith did splendidly in his part as the Levite.Too bad Handel treated this part in such a cavalier fashion depriving us of the vocal presence of this fine singer during the rest of the oratorio.