Igreja de São Pedro at the beginning of the concert. Five minutes later there were a further 50 people in the gallery!

4–7 May 2023


Igreja de São Pedro, Faro, Portugal

A standing ovation in Faro

The weather was lovely; the food delicious; the company delightful; the music wonderful; the musicians inspiring . . .  but the unlooked for bonus was the capacity audience at Igreja de São Pedro – on their feet at the end of the concert in a lengthy tribute to our performance.

This trip, the first of our singing holidays for 2023, was never intended to clash with the King’s Coronation, and the event was launched (complete with Zadok the Priest on the programme) well before there was any thought of a rival attraction. We decided not to move it, and more than 100 of us gathered in Faro on Thursday 4 May, where we enjoyed uninterrupted sunshine for four days.

Singers had come with the music well learnt and TRBC Principal Conductor, Brian Kay, was able to concentrate on all the musical things which make such a difference – incisive starts, rhythmic clarity, intelligent phrasing, clean endings and a sense of style. The somewhat unsatisfactory experience of singing (of necessity) from the wrong place in the church during the afternoon made us determined to do better in the evening, and the performance was a triumph, with our lovely UK soloists Emily Vine (soprano), Bethany Horak-Hallett (mezzo-soprano), William Searle (tenor) and Frederick Long (bass-baritone) providing the icing on the cake in Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (the ‘Nelson’ Mass).  The excellent players of the Orquestra do Algarve were confined rather awkwardly to the transepts of the church, but provided rock-solid support nevertheless, both in the Haydn and in Zadok which preceded it. The concert opened with another nod to English coronations in the shape of Walton’s Orb & Sceptre March from 1953, given a rousing performance by our organist and repetiteur, Andrew Parnell.

When not singing we enjoyed various excursions, a trip to the hotel Pousada Palacio de Estoi – a former 19th-century palace with amazing Versailles-style gardens – for our Friday night feast, plus Saturday’s all-important live stream of the Coronation on a large television screen provided by the hotel. We commiserated over the London drizzle while struggling not to feel superior about the cloudless sky outside our own windows, and it was hard not to hum along with I was glad and Zadok. Those of us with the words certainly joined in the hymns and raised glasses of prosecco in tribute to the King and Queen before leaving for our final rehearsal.

All in all, a lovely trip in the company of  TRBC friends, and we look forward to our next singing holiday in Berlin later in the year (click here for details of the special offer).

Feedback from our singers:

‘A most wonderful first trip for us. The organisation was impeccable, the hotel and its staff amazing, and the singing was excellent. We met so many lovely people with a common interest, which was great.’ John & Deborah G.
‘Brilliant organisation as always with a particularly memorable concert.’ Anna G.
Thank you all at TRBC and partners for an amazing trip!’ Val W.
Thanks to everyone who made this three-day trip to Faro so special. You even managed to include perfect weather, wonderful views, delicious food, and giant storks on their nests, as well as Portuguese fizz for the Coronation.’  Alice D.

Click here for a video of the opening few bars of Zadok (we do sound good!)

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