Sean and friends conjur up a magical night of music

Sean Ruane. (s)
Sean Ruane. (s)

Joyous Neopolitan arias, raucous ragtime piano and haunting Spanish guitar compositions were the unusual ingredients that made for a wholly entertaining night when opera singer Sean Ruane invited his friends to “step out of their comfort zone.”

International tenor Sean put together the evening in his hometown Bacup’s Royal Court Theatre where he invited rock guitarist John Grogan to share the stage along with piano-playing The Lomax Brothers.

But Sean, who started out in a rock band with John, before travelling to Italy where he learned the finer arts of opera singing – at the former home of Puccini no less – urged his friends and co-performers to try something different.

Hence, John became unplugged and faced with the challenge of playing classical guitar pieces.

The result was mesmeric as his skilfully executed chords turned a cold Bacup evening into a heady Andalucian siesta. If that sounds over-the-top, it is simply because there is no other way to describe how good the performance was.

Equally irrepressible were The Lomax Brothers – Aaron and Guy Lomax whose sibling rivalry as youngsters eager to play the piano resulted in a compromise – that they would play the same piano. And that they do. Sharing the piano with an almost sixth sense like synthesis of quality. Mixing their act with humour, the brothers are born entertainers, but they can also play solo too. Aaron gave a great performance of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” while Guy played Chopin’s beautiful Nocturne in E-Flat Major.

Sean and his musical companions then came together on stage to finish with Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” and the rousing singalong finale of The Beatles’ “Let It Be”.

Much has already been written about Sean’s ability as a singer, but he deserves great credit for bringing together these gifted local performers and challenging them to step out of their comfort zone.