Gregory is the self-described “manprano” of Chanticleer. Their concert was held in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, a magnificent edifice whose interior is a national treasure of mosiac art done by Tiffany Studios. It is a befitting venue for Chanticleer.
This is the domed chancel where Chanticleer sang
This is the view Gregory had.
I’ve never attended a classical choral concert before, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the ear to appreciate what I was hearing. That was not a problem. While Gregory was kind enough to send me some concert notes that I researched beforehand, even those songs whose language I did not understand or complexities I did not grasp were able to reach me on a visceral level. Listening to Chanticleer in that venue was a transcendent experience that brought tears to my eyes on two occasions.
The building itself has a voice to add to the music. Chanticleer made excellent use of the space, harnessing the building’s five-second reverb to make it a part of the ensemble. Notes reached out, never too far, parts weaving tonally and in volume, dips and swells, coming together as a single voice with many tones.
The sound was bold with no sharp edges. Sustained notes took on the timbre of French horns, trumpets, oboes, and flutes—wind instruments of the finest caliber. More than once it seemed the soprano tied the knot of the chord that held them together.
Gregory’s distinctive voice came through clear when intended, rising from the surface and buoyed by fellow singers. His solo—in Russian—was utter joy. He really used that space to reach us with the purest tones. Just magnificent.
If Chanticleer is appearing within driving distance, please make a point to see them. It is an experience you will never forget.
*Gregory is not pictured in their website photos yet. Stay tuned!