REVIEW: Christmas Oratorio, Sheffield Cathedral

THERE were uncanny similarities between Bach's work and Haydn's the night before, not least in another young tenor Christopher Bowen being the standout soloist when it came word clarity.

His diction was excellent and his high tenor voice musicianly in his arias while the quality voice belonged to mezzo-soprano Caryl Hughes, whose singing had individuality but was short on projection.

Simon Lobelson tended to blow hot and cold in the bass music, sometimes also lacking in projection and at others coming across without problem when a well-focused voice could be appreciated.

No problems with the strong singing, just word clarity, of soprano Amanda Forbes in what was left of her music with Parts Four and Five of the work missing.

The Sheffield Oratorio Chorus belied the large number of singers on duty with often clear delineation of lines in the part writing and generally provided well-balanced, powerful singing with the complexities of Glory to God in the Highest surmounted, although they seemed to lose a little momentum in Lord, When Our Haughty Foes.

With the added burden of playing harpsichord, conductor Alan Eost worked tirelessly and there was fine playing from the Northern Chamber Orchestra, the two crucially important oboists being superb.

One of them was Adrian Wilson but he wasn't the principal – was it Christine Swain?