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Reviews

Ensemble OrQuesta  Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra  Hastings Philharmonic Choir  Grange Choral Society HPO Singers

Ensemble OrQuesta Opera Academy  Billingshurst Choral Society ★ HPO Songbirds  Solo 



 Pinned Review 
'Handel stripped down and brilliant' - Ensemble OrQuesta, Alcina, Handel, Arcola Theatre, Grimeborn Opera Festival 

No 4 - 'The top ten best classical music performances of 2021', Fiona Maddocks (The Observer), 25/12/2021

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2022


'When a stage director, music director, lighting designer, recorder player, guitarist, organist and percussionist are all one person, you begin to regret your own misspent youth. These talents are combined in the figure of Marcio da Silva, the Brazilian founder of Ensemble OrQuesta.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Fiona Maddocks (The Observer) ★★★★ The week in classical. 30.07.22


'Marcio De Silva’s production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea is a dark and sensual delight. Ensemble OrQuesta masterfully breathe new life into this popular, controversial baroque opera, while remaining faithful to its original score and spirit.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Rachel Wood, ★★★★ A Young(ish) Perspective. 28.07.22


'Ensemble OrQuesta’s approach, which offers an accessible and enjoyable way to enjoy the less familiar conventions of early opera, seems to me increasingly valuable. I hope that every seat is filled for the short run of this wonderful production.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, ★★★★★ Owen Davies, Plays to See, 28.07.22


'..while most theatres are currently packed with escapist fare, this dark and delicious production, redolent with lust and ambition, is a wonderful alternative.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, ★★★★ Franco Milazzo. Jul. 27, 2022 Broadway World.

'The Ensemble OrQuesta production (part of the Grimeborn Opera Festival at London’s Arcola Theatre) makes for an absorbing evening of a modern-dress interpretation that highlights the psychological underpinnings of this 1642 opera. Much credit must be given to the skilful stage direction of Marcio da Silva. The versatile Da Silva is also responsible not only for the evocative design and lighting, but also the musical direction of the small ensemble.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, ★★★★ Inge Kjemtrup, The Stage, 28/07/22


'Key to the power of this production is da Silva’s imaginative vision and his dynamism as director and conductor.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, ★★★★ Jane Darcy, The Reviews Hub, 27/07/22

'Maestro da Silva is a sparkling presence. Commanding and ever so subtle, he conducts with striking immediacy and balletic energy. He has a wonderfully close connection with his Orchestra and Choir. He brings in the huge Choir often on his toes. And he’s a pleasure to watch.'
Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Brahms, Eines Deutsches Requiem, Patrick Glass, Hastings Online Times (21/04/22)


'The choir balanced the timbre and sonority inherent in each section to create a near perfect harmony in all choruses. Especially notable was the strength of rhythm throughout the choral singing, even when some of the tempi were challengingly fast moving. The choral highlight, anticipated by so many in the audience, was the majestic Hallelujah chorus, which was an absolute triumph.. Special mention has to be made of the conductor and music director, Marcio da Silva, whose evident passion for this masterpiece could be sensed by all. The standing ovation at the end of this truly glorious and memorable concert was the audience’s own seal of approval.'

Billingshurst Choral Society, Handel Messiah, George Parnell, Sussex WorldApril 2022. 

'Moments of magic - An inventive, resourceful and stylish realisation of a French baroque masterpiece.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Les Indes Galantes, The Cockpit, ★★★★ The Stage (07/02/2022) Yehuda Shapiro

'Marcio da Silva’s groundbreaking company Ensemble OrQuesta is fast developing an enviable reputation for bringing rare baroque treasures to the opera stage. Marcio da Silva conducted (and played a number of instruments) and, as ever, brought the best out of his instrumentalists, and his singers.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Les Indes Galantes, Cockpit Theatre, ★★★★ (17/02.22), Owen Davies, Plays to See. 

'An extremely effective pared down production of  a complex opera. .. The singing from the young cast was impressive.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Les Indes Galantes, The Cockpit, Early Music Reviews,  (07/02/2022) Andrew Benson-Wilson

'What I want to shout from the rooftops about HPO Songbirds is that is offers a priceless opportunity for local children to learn music in a way that is not only enjoyable, but also develops age-appropriate rigour and focus. The standard is sky-high, thanks to the world-class skills and experience of Marcio and Helen - not to mention their dedication.'
HPO Songbirds, Extract from parental feedback sent to Lottery Community Fund, January 2022.

'Marcio and Helen work so skilfully with the children to get the best out of them and make the sessions enjoyable and engaging. As a local teacher and music coordinator, I know that music is vital but that it is often squeezed out of a busy school curriculum. It is wonderful to see this enrichment opportunity offered to all children in the local area regardless of ability to pay.'
HPO Songbirds, Extract from parental feedback sent to Lottery Community Fund, January 2022.


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2021


'The 60 strong mixed voice choir performed its first concert after just nine weeks of rehearsals under the guiding hands and voice of Marcio da Silva, the Society’s new Music Director. The rapturous applause from the 130 strong audience was a clear vote.' 

Billingshurst Choral Society, Anthony Gilsenan, Sussex Express. (20/11/2021)


'A special treat was the opportunity to hear the magnificent voice of Marcio da Silva, the choir’s new Music Director, singing the two baritone solos. These pieces showcased the confident rounded tones of this professional who moved effortlessly from his solo performances to conducting the choir.'
Billingshurst Choral Society, Faure Requiem, Anthony Gilsenan, Sussex Express. (20/11/2021)


'There were some spine-tingling moments, noticeably the beginnings of the Lacrymosa and Sanctus. The overall performance from the combined forces here proved to be a satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable evening under the familiar baton of Marcio da Silva.'
Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna, Mozart: Requiem. Stephen Page, Lark Reviews, (06/11/2021)


'It is wonderful to be able to hear this youthful and professional orchestra without having to travel to a distant destination. It is good to see the local musical heritage being valued and celebrated as the tradition of music making develops further.'

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, Stephen Page, Lark Reviews, (21/09/2021)


‘Office politics given a striking twist in this perceptive rethinking of Alcina.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Handel, Alcina, Arcola Theatre, August 2021, ★★★★ The Stage (27/08/2021) Yehuda Shapiro

'We should applaud and appreciate both the outstanding creativity and the musical authenticity of Marcio da Silva’s invaluable company'.

Ensemble OrQuesta, Handel, Alcina, Arcola Theatre, ★★★★ Owen Davies, Plays to See, (01/09/2021).


'The ensemble of performers and musicians deliver a compelling performance which captures our attention all throughout.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Handel, Alcina, Arcola Theatre, ★★★★ (25/08/2021), Gaurav Singh Nijjer, North West End. 


'A cut down but thrilling version. ...The work is packed with dazzling arias, many sung by Alcina ..here superbly sung by Helen May, with Laura Fleur outstanding as the knight, Ruggiero. In a top quality cast, Poppy Shotts calls for special mention in the small role of Oberto,'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Handel, Alcina, Arcola Theatre, ★★★★ (028/08/2021), Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian. 


'Marcio da Silva and his band of expert baroque instrumentalists provide a realisation of Handel’s score which quickly convinces ears used to modern orchestral sounds that this nearly 300-year-old music is bang up to date. And da Silva’s programme notes are once again better than anything that the Royal Opera offers.' 

Ensemble OrQuesta, Handel, Alcina, Arcola Theatre, ★★★★ Owen Davies, Plays to See, (01/09/2021).

'Throughout the performance the orchestra and soloist were in fine form under the enthusiastic baton of Marcio da Silva.' 

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, Stephen Page, Lark Reviews, (24/04/2021)


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2020


'The unaccompanied 'Since by man came death' was perfectly, movingly together, and the understated opening to 'Amen' worked really well because it left so much scope for joyful crescendi as it developed all the way to that magical, climactic top A from the sopranos.'

HPO Singers, Christchurch, St Leonards, Susan Elkin, Lark Reviews, (06/12/2020)


'Marcio da Silva’s control of his forces never flagged, and the immediacy of the results was always engaging and utterly convincing.’

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, (10/01/2020)

'Marcio da Silva loves pushing the boundaries and last weekend brought us not only very rare early opera but a genuine attempt to stage them by candlelight within the vastness of Christ Church.. The instrumental forces were as telling as ever, with the constant changes of texture and tone particularly impressive. Marcio da Silva was everywhere, singing, playing guitar, recorder and side drum.'

Ensemble OrQuesta Opera Academy, Hastings, Susan Elkin, Lark Reviews, (08/02/2020)


'Ensemble OrQuesta is developing a formidable reputation for producing gripping and authentic versions of baroque masterpieces… No praise is too high for a company that has such high ambitions and comes so close to realising them.’
Ensemble OrQuesta, Cavalli, La Calisto, Cockpit Theatre, January 2020, ★★★★ Plays to See, (05/02/2020) Owen Davies. 


'full marks to a young and enterprising opera company bringing top-class music to a 'classless' audience.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Cavalli, La Calisto, Cockpit Theatre, January 2020, Andrew-Benson-Wilson, Early Music Reviews, (05/02/2020)


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2019


'Stylish and vividly theatrical condensed version of Rameau’s baroque masterpiece’

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Arcola Theatre, August 2019, ★★★★ The Stage (14/08/2019) Yehuda Shapiro

'Marcio da Silva's version was powerful and dramatically punchy… This was a brave performance which prized dramatic emotion.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Arcola Theatre, Planet Hugill (17/08/2019) Robert Hugill.

'This was an impressive version of a complex work which played to a capacity audience. A simple staging was inevitable, and effective use was made of the tiny performing area.’

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Arcola Theatre, August 2019, Early Music Reviews (13/08/2019) Andrew Benson-Wilson


'In an ideal world Ensemble OrQuesta would have been able to perform this opera on a larger scale with a longer rehearsal period. But economics said otherwise, and what they achieved was impressive.’

Ensemble OrQuesta, Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Arcola Theatre, Planet Hugill (17/08/2019) Robert Hugill.


‘The balance was absolutely right and the choir maintained that equilibrium throughout the performance. I was very much impressed by the choirs’ attention to dynamics. … What was most impressive to me was that the men, few in number – 9 tenors and 8 basses – were heard as strongly, as softly, as effectively and harmoniously as the outnumbering women.’
Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Rossini, Petite Messe Solonnelle, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (08/08/2019)
 

‘This is not a work for the chorally faint hearted.... High spots included the vibrant sound in the opening and closing choruses, the very rich confident alto work in the exposed section of Primo vere and slow section of Swaz hie gat umbe and the well-handled shift into 3/4 time for Floret silva.’

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Carmina Burana, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (07/04/2019)

 

'This is a gripping evening from beginning to end and a vindication of the accessibility of Monteverdi’s operas. I hope more and more people have the chance to sample Ensemble OrQuesta and their baroque gems.’ 

Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Cockpit Theatre, February 2019, ★★★★★, Plays to See, (02/02/2019) Owen Davies.

'A sensual well-delivered production... The scenes between Poppea and Nerone must be mentioned for their intensity and passion.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Cockpit Theatre, January 2019, The Spy in the Stalls, (31/01/2019)

‘All credit then to Marcio da Silva, who directed, conducted, played and sang, for creating a team that seemed to ‘get’ the musical language of Monteverdi – so different from the style that most young singers today learn for opera performance.’
Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Cockpit Theatre, February 2019, Plays to See, (02/02/2019) 

'Marcio da Silva's wonderful Ensemble OrQuesta.. is offering a version of Poppea that is true to its musical roots and provides a dramatic staging that is entirely contemporary.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Monteverdi, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Cockpit Theatre, January 2019,  Plays to See, (02/02/2019) 

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2018


‘Marcio da Silva drew on the strengths of solo voices in the choir not only in the spiritual but also for the opening of In the bleak midwinter and the voices of the kings in We three kings.’

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Carols for All, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (16/12/2018)

'Many choirs trot out Messiah as if they don’t need to do anything because they know it so well. Then along comes Marcio da Silva with a reading fresh as a daisy to persuade us that we have actually failed to pay attention to a masterpiece.'

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic ChoirChristchurch, St Leonards on Sea, (10/11/2018)


'The approach was exhilarating throughout, with tight rhythms and fast pacing, emphasising the narrative line which compels us to move from darkness to light…. The balance between orchestra and singers was remarkable.'

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Christchurch, St Leonards on Sea, Lark Reviews (10/11/2018)

‘Marcio da Silva handles his forces with great skill, shaping musical lines to beautiful effect and splendid impact within the warm and sympathetic acoustic’.

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra at Rye Festival, St Mary, Rye, (20/09/2018)

'This production is a triumph - both for Marcio da Silva and his team and for the festival.'
Ensemble OrQuesta, Xerse, Cavalli, Arcola Theatre, Grimeborn Opera Festival, (28/08/2018) ★★★★ Plays to See, Owen Davies


'A smartly paced, absorbing evening: The production, stylised but penetrating, had lucidly traced the opera’s web of relationships and manipulations... In something of an operatic caucus race, each of the eleven soloists deserved a prize.'

Ensemble OrQuesta, Xerse, Cavalli, Arcola Theatre, Grimeborn Opera Festival, (27/08/2018) Opera Magazine, Yehuda Shapiro
 

'If they were letting their hair down just a little it was rarely at the expense of the music, which came across with bold authority throughout.’

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Opera Gala, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (08/08/2018) 

‘The massed voices proved to be impeccably well disciplined. Rhythms throughout were tight and Verdi’s sudden endings given all the lightning control they need. Where sheer volume is required it got it – the Dies Irae only being topped by the force of Rex tremendae and the joyous outpouring of the Sanctus. Yet the opening bars had been as hushed and reflective as I can recall hearing them. A masterly shaping of the narrative as it unfolded …’
Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (06/05/2018)


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2017


‘Under Marcio da Silva, Hastings Philharmonic Choir has gained new authority and professionalism.’

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic Choir, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, (12/11/2017)

‘Throughout, Marcio da Silva brought what we have come to expect of him – precision and passion. We are lucky to have him with us.’

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic ChoirSt Mary in the Castle, (04/11/2017)


‘The clarity of text was impressive and the Kyrie beautifully crafted. The sudden outpouring of the Hosanna was thrilling in its impact and the Sanctus had a warm lightness of touch.’
Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Duruflé Requiem, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (16/06/2017)


'The choir's conductor Marcio da Silva is to be congratulated for the controlled and sensitive way that his leadership brought this work together. It seems certain that, for many, this event will have been a not-to-be-forgotten experience.' 

Grange Choral Society, Bach St John Passion, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times, (29/04/2017)


‘..an impassioned reading of Mozart’s Requiem. The chorus were in excellent voice here and the rhythms were crisp and clean throughout. There was a real sense of bite in the Rex tremendae, an empathic sensitivity in the Lacrimosa and joy in the Sanctus. Phrasing was finely crafted and balance throughout excellent. Marcio da Silva, as we have become accustomed, directed the whole with authority and precision.’

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic ChoirSt Mary in the Caste, Hastings, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews (01/04/2017)


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2016


'Under Marcio da Silva, Hastings Philharmonic Choir has gained new authority and professionalism. To this he now adds a newly formed orchestra which gave its inaugural concert last night at the White Rock. Where many would have gone for a popular programme to encourage a wider audience he chose works which challenged both the performers and listeners – but the risk certainly paid off.'

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (13/11/2016)

'Music of the highest quality given with respect and professionalism by all concerned....
 Marcio da Silva maintained a real sense of enthusiasm throughout the evening which was reflected by all on stage and in the audience.'

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra & Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (12/11/2016)

'The adult choir was in its usual fine form and the Sanctus was particularly pleasing. Conductor Marcio da Silva provided the baritone solo for Hostias and Libera me adding to his reputation as a solo singer.'
Hastings Philharmonic Choir and Baritone Solo, Christchurch, St Leonards, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews (09/07/2016) 
 
'Marcio da Silva’s delivery of the text was cleanly focussed and his warmth of tone made the desolation of the text ever more painful.'
Song Recital, Schubert’s Winterreise. Christchurch, St Leonards, Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews, (02/07/2016)


'The choir sang Stanford’s less-well-known Gloria with confidence and a beautiful range of light and shade. But it was in Elgar’s extended anthem Great is the Lord that the choir was at its very best. The final choral work, a setting of the Gloria by John Rutter.. was a real challenge to the choir. The end of the middle section 'miserere nobis' was beautifully styled and sustained; the ending was spine-tinglingly intense and impressive. The audience’s applause said it all!'

Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times, (16/04/2016)


'Brahms’ Requiem is a genuine challenge for the best of choruses. That HPC did so well is a tribute not only to their conductor but also the hours of effort it must have taken to realise this level of musicality. They had opened the evening with a rarity – Brahms’ setting of Goethe’s Gesang der Parzen. The top sopranos excelled themselves in the accuracy of their pitch and impact of their attack. This was true later of the men who are now a force to be reckoned with. The many exposed passages in the Requiem were supported with virile sound and clean lines.'

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Christchurch, St Leonards, (14/05/2016), Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews. (14/05/2016)


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2015


'Hastings Philharmonic Choir was once again on top form. They have shown a high level of control and depth of feeling in this music. To create a programme which does not rely on exuberance and flashiness is a risk today. How refreshing to be able to sit back and be transported to a higher realm as this sustained, luxurious and highly emotive music works its magic.'

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Durufle, Arcadelt & Victoria. Lauridsen, Mawby and da Silva. Stephen Page, Lark Reviews (04/07/2015)


'Marcio da Silva certainly brings the best out of the choir. His exuberant conducting style cannot fail to enthuse and carry everyone with him. It was apparent that he knows this work very well as his score sat unmoved from the opening page on the music stand at floor level, way out of reach from his raised position!' 

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Carmina Burana, Dr. Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews (11/04/2015)


'The choir rose to the demands of both, from the serenity of Fauré’s In Paradisum – where the sopranos sang the opening bars with a beautiful poise and tenderness - to the ferocity of Duruflé’s Libera Me, Domine. Throughout both works the choir’s enjoyment was clearly conveyed to the listener.' 
Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times (18/04/2015)


'...the Society’s conductor Marcio da Silva is to be applauded for continuing to take them into some of the lesser-known reaches of the choral repertoire.' 

Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times (17/01/2015)


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2014


'Marcio da Silva has made a real impact on the musical life of Hastings and his choice of works was vindicated last night not only in the high quality he creates but the very large audience he attracts. Long may it continue!' 

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Dr Brian Hicks,  Lark reviews (15/11/2014)


'The choir’s ability to project their sound continues to grow, making a strong impression in some of the dramatic climaxes. Equally important, their singing at more reflective moments demonstrated a beautiful legato, and well-balanced part singing. Congratulations to Marcio da Silva for taking the Society into slightly new territory, and giving their regular audience so much pleasure.' 
Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times (12/07/2014)


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2013


'In the 15 months since Marcio da Silva was appointed as the choir’s conductor his work to improve their projection is clearly paying dividends.' 

Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times  (10/04/2013)

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2012


'His stated intention is to improve the voice production of the choir - the fulfilment of this was clearly audible in all the parts. The enthusiastic response at the end clearly indicated that in his brief time as conductor Marcio da Silva has won the affections of singers, instrumentalists and audience. This bodes well for the Society’s future.'

Grange Choral Society, Derek Baldwin, Lymington Times  (04/12/2012)