December 23, 2008
Arias on Ice: Christmas 2008Following last year's sell out performance at Oxford Ice Rink, Arias On Ice has returned for four performances and even though the frequency and duration of performances has increased, the concept—classical and contemporary songs performed live by professional singers, accompanied by choreographed routines performed by members of Oxford Figure And Free Ice Skating Club - remains the same.
Following a slightly subdued introduction from the show’s compere, the night’s festivities began with gusto when Jeremy Vinograndov began to sing and a group of young skaters took to the floor, their varying ability clear from the outset, yet somehow adding to the genial effect of the show.
The lighting - predominantly a mixture of white, blue, purple, gold, and green profile spotlights - was more effective when seen from a distance, but the colour themes used evoked a sense of cool elegance, quietly enhancing each piece.
The first half of the night was especially enjoyable, packed full of wonderfully atmospheric scenes and familiar tunes - taken from a variety of sources including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Bizet’s Carmen and the film score of Watership Down - expertly delivered by a group of fantastic singers and some extremely focused skaters. Although still enjoyable, the second half was not quite as much fun: the American spiritual songs and the works of Gershwin weren’t as well suited to the singers’ voices as the songs chosen for the first half.
Overall, I had a fantastic evening and, although by the time the show neared its conclusion the choreography had grown slightly repetitive and the songs had grown less distinctive, there were moments of beauty to be seen and heard right to the end.