World-famous soprano Mhairi Lawson returned to her roots to raise some funds for her local church – and ended up raising the roof.
Mhairi, who has appeared in such esteemed venues as the theatre at the Palace of Versailles, found herself very much at home in the smaller and slightly less lavish proportions offered by Trinity Church, and the acoustics were highly conducive to Mhairi’s rich tones, with no need of a microphone.
She was ably accompanied by Paula Chatauneuf, who brought her cello-sized lute, known as a theorbo. Its almost medieval sound was the perfect accompaniment to the 17th century songs in the playlist, named ‘Mad Women, Queens and Lovers’ – leaving it up to the audience to decide which was which.
The Galashiels-born songstress began her set with a version of “Braw Lads o’ Gala Water” by Rabbie Burns ... one which was a firm favourite of Joseph Haydn.
A trio of Scottish courtly songs came next, followed by Giacomo Carissimi’s epic and stunning Lamento in morte di Maria Stuarda – the poignant and shocking account of Mary Queen of Scots’ last testament before her execution being the highlight of the evening, as can be seen from our video above.
To give Mhairi a breather, Paula came in with a theorbo solo by Bellerofonte Castaldi, before the pair rejoined for Maria, dolce Maria and Regina Laetare by Francesca Cassini.
The church’s own talented pianist Dorothy Howden gave an enthusiatically jaunty performance of a piano solo by Domenico Scarlatti.
Mhairi’s next number was Claudio Monteverdi’s Disprezzata Regina – Ottavia’s lament from ‘l’incoronazione di Poppea’.
The duo finished with a trio of English courtly songs. which rounded off proceedings nicely, Purcell’s Fairest Isle being my pick of the three.
The evening performance at the church was a bid to fundraise for the My Name5 Doddie Foundation for MND research and church funds, with the classical music lovers paying a donation to enter and get a free cocktail or two.
The event raised £600, which will be split 50-50 between the two charities.