Both upper and lower levels of The Queen’s Hall were full for today’s performance by Valentina Nafornita with piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles and I very quickly found out why.

The first thing I noticed about Valentina Nafornita as she took to the stage was her size.  This lady has a very small frame and is as far removed from the visual stereotype image of an operatic soprano as you can get.  That is where the difference stops though, because as soon as Valentina started to sing, everyone here knew that someone very special had come to Edinburgh.

The programme for today was roughly two hours with an interval and it covered a lot of music in that fairly short time.  Music was from Faure, Liszt, Bartok, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, and it covered an enormous range of music that Valentina sang in a variety of languages.  Apart from the very challenging music of some of these pieces, the extra challenge of so many languages (Including a difficult Hungarian) must have made this programme a very challenging one.

There is nothing here that I could pick out specially for mention as Valentina’s voice is simply beautiful to listen to on anything she sings.  Music obviously takes Valentina to a very special place and for a short time listening to her sing allows us to go there too with her ...that is the magic of a great singer and great music, they allow you to just be somewhere else for a short time.

If I was forced to pick a few parts of this concert, it would not be for any special vocal part, but for the fun that Valentina seemed to be having with some of this music…such as some of the folk songs by Dvorak and Bartok.  It is that sheer joy of the music and pleasure performing it that made this such a great concert.

I am sure that Roger Vignoles will forgive me giving Valentina so much space on this review, but I am not forgetting his wonderful accompaniment throughout this concert.  The two of them just seemed to be having as much fun playing and singing as the audience did listening.

I can not forget of course the wonderful little fun number that Valentina came back to do as an encore...just a perfect end to a perfect concert.


Review By Tom King


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