The Most Happy Fella
I attended a semi staged performance of "The Most Happy Fella" on Sunday, October 14th. It was performed by VocalEssence and conducted by Philip Brunelle. It was a very enjoyable performance but it was very hard to actually observe the conductor's involvement with the vocal ensemble. Much of his job was conducting the instrumentalists and making sure that all entrances were clear and together. When the choir/chorus was involved (which was very infrequent), it seemed that he only cued their entrances. I did not see much shaping or articulation that was appropriate for singers because much of his energy seemed focused on the instrumentalists. It seemed that he had a difficult time conducting both the "pit" and the vocal ensemble simultaneously. However, he was a very "accurate" conductor. For certain musical events that popped out of the texture, he was right there with the instrumentalist or singer. He also brought a playfulness to the performance. It was clear that he knew the work very well because he was not glued to the score and was able to connect with the musicians. He had a wide range of gestures which really made for more interesting sounds. Overall I enjoyed the performance but I did not think it was the best example of a choir performance setting. His energy seemed more focused on the instrumentalists and the solos and therefor my attention was there as well.