Review: Camille O’Sullivan & Susanne Sundfør + Novo Amor

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We have sadly had to say goodbye to Angela Denoke who would have sung with WNO Orchestra. It’s a real shame that this stellar German soprano would not grace Cardiff with a visit (the concert was not marketed well enough, it would seem), so how was this to be remedied?

Nick Cave is one of those names in music that you just know, although to actually know his music is another story. I find I would be keen to get to know it, and I needed look no further than Cave, Camille O’Sullivan’s new concert which premiered at the Festival of Voice. What an exceptional talent Camille is. It is not everyday you would encounter a performer like this with such a tour de force in both voice and stage presence. 

This tour de force of reimagined Cave songs makes for an intense experience. The boldness, serenity and mastery is seen throughout, even as a gesticulating maestro, bringing in the other musicians and addressing the technical team to increase the volume. Few words can really sum up just how captivating Camille was here. This being a review, my intent is to speak very highly of the concert experience.

Mesmeric. The definitive Festival of Voice experience.

Most of Cardiff’s major performing venues collaborated with the Festival of Voice throughout its run. The New Theatre would have the odd appearance and the night after Cave was a different experience, one of the great markers of the festival. 

I knew very nothing about the music of Susanne Sundfør, nor that of her supporting act Novo Amor, but I was keen to get to know it. Amor was off to a shaky start; nerves and perhaps some technical issues harmed the first song. The fusion of dream pop and high pitched ballads has worth a visit, though I found little that grabbed me. It was nice to see the huge amount of support Welsh and Wales based artists were having in the festival and here is no exception.

Susanne Sundfør’s performance, on the other hand, had a real kick to it. Her singing had a female Rufus Wainwright tone to it, though it was very much her own voice. Any time she went onto the piano was exciting and the audience felt spellbound as she rang out into the theatre. For less than an hour, we found problems drift away. A higher sense of life was gained as she poured her heart out for us, and we related. 

She is one of the best things to come out of Iceland since Bjørk! 

This review has been supported by the Wales Critic Fund. 

Photo credit: Wales Millennium Centre Website

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