I have witnessed some marvellous musical combinations over the years, but it would be hard to beat last night's brilliance in the Chaplaincy Centre. Guitar and voice is a tried and trusted partnership, but it was given a new dimension by Simon Thacker and Claire Debono in their guise as Canto Vivo. Claire's wonderful soprano and Simon's manual dexterity was a marvellous mix with their light-hearted and informal introductions doing nothing to undermine what was an extremely professional and polished display.
The acoustic of the Chaplaincy suited Claire's sensational voice to a "T" and she excelled from start to finish. A wonderful expressive and dramatic delivery gave credence to her success on the operatic circuit and these qualities shone out particularly in four Seguidillas by Fernando Sor and Roberto Gerhard's Cantares. There was also a marvellous interpretation of French folk songs by Matyas Seiber, and if you add two exceptional songs by the 17th Century John Dowland and some contemporary Brazilian folk songs, you have a clear indication that this talented young lady is extremely comfortable in any form of music. All these were supported throughout by Simon's superb accompaniment.
Simon also was given ample opportunity to display his own talent and similar versatility. From a precise Dowland Fantasia to Krieger's ultra-modern Ritmata, via works by Mertz and Villa-Lobos, this was guitar playing of the highest quality. Similar to Claire, there were highlights galore with the two works by Mertz, the Romanze and Tarantella, the most outstanding on offer.
This was a wonderful evening's entertainment, a masterclass of technique and interpretation, and it brought the latest series of University evening concerts to a fitting and memorable end.