Jayne May-Sysum

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SNYSB notes - October 2011


On Saturday 24th September SNYSB members came together to rehearse and present an AMAZING concert in the Diss Corn Hall. We were thrilled to be joined by Soprano, Jayne May-Sysum, whose singing was truly magnificent.

The Songs from the Shows was a new venture for SNYSB. We are delighted to report that this appears to have been a popular move, and the concert was extremely well received by those who attended. Jayne not only had an extremely powerful voice, but also turned a concert into a show with her frequent costume changes and dramatic presentations of the characters she was singing.

The audience was charmed by her performance as Eliza Doolittle, which involved cockney banter with our Musical Director Mike, and flowers thrown into the audience.

Jayne certainly made the evening something special and we are very much hoping to work with her again to present a similar concert in a year’s time. Watch this space, we expect the next one to be a total sell out now that word has got out!!
Eastern Daily Press - Monday 17th January 2011

A confident performance by gifted singer
Jayne May-Sysum and the Norwich Baroque United Reformed Church, Norwich

A large Sunday afternoon audience greeted Jayne May~Sysum with a cheer. The soprano responded with a performance that had her listeners asking for more. With well-founded confidence and an open personality, she has the acting ability to underline with facial expression and body language every emotion she sang about. She made her 18th-century music pulsate with life.

Her programme was cleverly designed to display her many talents. In a Handel Salve Regina
she appeared both prayerful and passionate, while in a famous aria from his opera Rinaldo she was a woman in a tragic situation.

Christopher Smith
Perfect setting for concert which stimulated the senses

Vivaldi Concertante Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick

There can be few settings more atmospheric for classical music than Warwickʼs 14th century Lord Leycester Hospital. A greatly appreciative audience witnessed Joseph Pilberyʼs Vivaldi Concertante in full flow last Saturday. These musicians were a joy to behold, each playing with lucid class and individual subtlety.

Soprano Jayne May-Sysum caused many a heart to flutter with her hauntingly superb evocation of When I Am Laid In Earth from Dido & Aeneas, and lead violinist Alison Kelly also shone with an ecstatic Autumn from Vivaldi’ s Four Seasons. Harpsichord and oboe gave certain segments a heady medieval flavour - you could almost smell the mead!

Steve Beebee
Prod: Sweeney Ents.
MD: Chris Wiltshire


Talented soprano, JAYNE MAY- SYSUM, was certainly born long after the cessation of the Second World War, yet is careful to include a section of her programme devoted to many of the melodies that kept the public singing through those terrible times. There is no doubt that her choice of songs, both in this segment and indeed throughout her entire programme, is much to the musical taste of, what is primarily, an elderly audience. For those whose memories have long since faded, song sheets were handed out, listing the words of the most popular of the war—time choruses and the audience joined in with gusto.
Much of the remainder of the two hour programme is, however, in the capable hands - and fine solo voice - of Miss May-Sysum and she handles it with style and genuine warmth. She is very much `the girl next door` as she embraces the audience with obvious love and open affection. The chosen songs vary in tempo and technique, varying from memories of the musicals (Carousel, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz) to classic standards (‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Stardust’ etc) and she even picks out a member of the audience about to celebrate a wedding anniversary and sings to her what else? — ‘The Anniversary Waltzʼ. A nice touch!

lf her voice is excellent, it is surely her linking chatter, warm personality and undeniable sense of humour that endears her to all. She tells, between songs, rambling stories of little consequence yet, such is her charm, the audience hang on every word, laughing in all the right places and wildly applauding at the finish. With such prepossessing talent at her disposal, I longed for her to enlarge on the humour that is bursting to emerge, by including in her repertoire, a number of comedic songs in the style of a Joyce Grenfell or a Gracie Fields. Of course, it didn`t happen but it might be an idea for her to consider for the future.

With her stage presence assured, a piano accompanist of the highest order was essential and she certainly produced one of the best in the elegant CHRIS WILTSHIRE. Between them, they provided an afternoon of nostalgic pleasure and sentimental recall an emotion shared and appreciated by all those present.

Concert with Norwich Baroque - Sunday 17th January 2010

Norwich Baroque and Jayne May-Sysum
The following review of Jayne's concert with the Norwich Baroque Orchestra, written by Michael Drake was published by the Eastern Daily Press.

The snow has gone, the sky is clear and this Sunday concert was a further breath of freshness which started with great precision from the orchestra's eleven in the dotted rhythms of one of Vivaldi's Paris Concertos for Strings.

Enter the delightful soprano Jayne May-Sysum to give beautifully poised performances of Cara speme from Handel's Italian opera Julius Caesar and the same composer's Tornami a vagheggiar from Alcina. In the latter especially the soloist's vocal warmth and agility extended through the range of a moving aria.

Later the clarity in Pergolesi's Salve Regina was notable but her highlight was undoubtedly in the pleading and highly controlled Vivaldi solo motet Nulla in mundo with the final florid section showing what a superb instrument the human voice can be. And this one in particular with each section being sung with a smile (and the added bonus of an encore of the final glorious Alleluia).

Norwich Baroque had earlier given Alessandro Scarlatti's Concerto Grosso No 6 a delicate finale but maybe they had been saving their best for their final work. It was not just because of the scale of writing in Handel's Concerto Grosso Op 5 No 2 but for the totally integrated way the players dealt with it in a fittingly comforting performance.

Michael Drake