This week I spent quite a lot of time in what felt like a displacement activity: trying to decide what Freddie would sing as his solo piece for his audition for Barchester. I lingered over various English art songs that might showcase a tenor voice (Quilter's 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal', Vaughan Williams' 'Silent Noon'), then moved on to more churchy things.
Finally, because time was getting short, I plumped for 'Angels, waft her through the skies', a tenor aria from Handel's Jephtha. It wasn't until I started writing this section that I realised how well it worked with Ascension Day. Sometimes the subconscious is ahead of the game: 'Glorious there like you to rise, there like you forever reign'.
You can listen to it here, sung by Mark Padmore:
Freddie maintains to the bishop's PA that he's planning to sing the 'Queen of the Night' aria from Mozart's Magic Flute. This would be an unconventional choice, to say the least. He claims he used to sing it as a chorister, and this is just about possible. Here's a boy soprano giving it a whirl:
Eek! And now, quickly, to take away the effect, here is Ian Bostridge singing 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal':