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The Telegraph / A Touch of Class [ 2002 ]

Lee-Alison Sibley (soprano) and Shashi Puri (piano) were twin jewels in the crown at a concert at the Taj Bengal on November 23, where they were accompanied by the Calcutta Foundation Orchestra. The orchestra are now more in tune than ever in recent memory, due in no small part to the intensive coaching they have received recently.

Saturday's concert put together the best of old and new: Puri is probably Calcutta's best performing pianist, while Sibley's more recent enrichment of our musical scene allows one to look forward to local song recitals after a very long time. What is all the more remarkable is that although both are actually accomplished performers of classical music, they were able to take popular music seriously enough to dare to have fun with it.

Sibley's vibrancy perfectly complemented Puri's composure: together they created a warm musical glow which recaptured the never-never land of all our yesterdays, and gave us hope for our tomorrows. 'Over the rainbow' set the tone for a nostalgic evening, with its encouragement of dreams; charmingly anecdotal in style, Sibley's acting out of 'The Man I love', 'I could have danced all night' and 'Don't rain on my parade' showed her twin persona as actress and singer.

The final song, 'White Christmas'. had the audience singing along, evoking the spirit of Christmases past in our now much-changed city; Christmases to come, we hope, will likewise revive the spirit of old Calcutta by this new and very welcome, touch of class.