It was carnival day in the throbbing metropolis of Great Dunmow on Saturday. I like to go along to this, not least because of the cheap beer. The event is the culmination of a lot of planning, hard slog, and generosity, and I like that all the money goes to charity. It’s a nice day out.
In the late afternoon/evening there’s always live music. It’s an eclectic mix. This year there was a Jam tribute band, a Madness tribute band, and tragically a One Direction tribute band. It’s difficult to imagine sinking any lower down the entertainment ladder than that, isn’t it? Copying a rubbish boyband…
There was a real surprise though, both in the scheduling and the audience response. First act up was an opera singing duo, Sul Fiato. There’s an Australian soprano, and a Peruvian tenor. I have only ever met one person from Peru, so I was intrigued. I have to admit here I’m not a big fan of opera, and I couldn’t really see how they could expect to go down well in Great Dunmow, which still has an air of being a frontier town. It started raining too, just as the duo hit the stage.
They boxed clever to be honest, and went for the opera-lite approach. Bit of Puccini, bit of Verdi. And know what? The viewing area filled up till you could barely move. The somewhat rough and ready audience lapped it up. I never expected that.
Then the soprano did a solo version of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime.’ I have always adored this song, even when I was a heavy metal thunderer. It’s flawless, and it is absolutely impossible to make a hash of it. I’ve got at least 20 different versions of it downloaded, and every single one is hauntingly beautiful. However, this was something else. I was riveted. It was truly remarkable. You really cannot beat the combination of a perfect song and an ethereal voice. It’s hard to countenance just how a human can sound so beautiful.
It was the high spot of my day, even better than the later fireworks display, and I love fireworks. Stunning.