AFTER their highly successful ‘Roaring Twenties’ concert last year, Opera Viva have gone back a few years to present a selection of songs from the First World War and what a tremendous variety of music there was.

Music hall songs such as ‘The Boy I Love is up in the Balcony’ (sung by Kerry Firth) and ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’ (Blandine Pluck); classic love songs like ‘Waltz of my Heart’ (Isobel Jenkins) and ‘Love Will Find a Way’ (Pam Ashcroft); War songs – ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning and Pack Up Your Troubles’ sung by the Company; and a rousing finale by the whole room to ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.

Peter McColgan read Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ with impressive dignity, a poem which told the agonising truth about life in the trenches and brought the odd tear amongst the audience.

All the cast were dressed in an array of splendid costumes. The hall was set out with a fine display of mounted poppies and recruitment posters from The Great War, all with the aid of the Royal British Legion and the History Department of St. Mary’s College.

Artistic Director was Viv Sharp, Musical Director was Isobel Jenkins and Robert Chesters provided Piano Accompaniment for what was a most enjoyable evening.