On Tuesday 30 May and Wednesday 31 May the Cambridge University Symphony Chorus teamed up with the Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris for performances and a live broadcast of William Walton’s epic cantata Belshazzar’s Feast with France’s premier orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, and acclaimed conductor Klaus Mäkelä and baritone soloist Sir Willard White, at the Philharmonie de Paris.  The programme also included cellist Sol Gabetta performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.2.

Members of the chorus took the Eurostar on Saturday morning and spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday rehearsing in Paris. Outside of rehearsal, singers also managed to squeeze in some sight-seeing!

Chorus member Jo Whitehead said it was “my best experience in 20 years with the chorus. A great piece and a wonderfully intense experience in Paris”.

Tanja Brown said “Words fail me to describe this awesome choir trip appropriately! After the first concert on Tuesday went so well, I felt elated and couldn’t stop smiling! What an experience to be part of such an amazing concert and then indulge in raving applause which went on for so long that I lost count of the number of ‘curtains’!

It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to explore Paris with my wonderful choir friends who I’ve known for 15 years now! There was always a group or an individual who I could join!  And everyone was looking after each other! The highlight were the evenings in the pubs when we shared our comments on the concerts and celebrated our success. It was also a great experience to get to know some of our French co-singers! They were so welcoming! 

When all singers got together for the very first time just after our quite stressful travels, we were singing these beautiful low minor chords as a warm-up. When our voices all began to blend into one harmonious, sonorous sound, I had goosebumps! It felt very special! 

I can’t thank the wonderful choir members who put so much time and effort into organising this trip enough!”

Twitter user @Cirmeau described the concert as “remarkably sung”.