LAST Saturday evening’s quite amazing Sinfonia of Leeds concert had that elusive fleeting quality of a live event that scales the Olympian heights.

The Sinfonia’s performance of Act 1 of Wagner’s Die Walküre was all the more astounding since the eighty five orchestral musicians were not full time or freelance professionals. The Sinfonia of Leeds is a community orchestra. Its members play solely for their love of great music.

From the stormy orchestral Prelude built on five double basses, to gleaming brass leitmotifs and rapturous lyrical passages played with sumptuous tone by the ten cellos: the sheen of virtuosity was breathtaking.

Mark Le Brocq as Siegmund and the great American bass James Creswell as Hunding, Sieglinde’s threatening husband, reprised their roles from Opera North’s 2016 Ring Cycle. Le Brocq has both the ringing heldentenor heft necessary for Siegmund’s Nothung! Nothung! as he pulls the sacred sword from the ash tree, and the lyrical quality for his beguiling Winterstürme (Winter storms have waned in the moon of May). The Sinfonia’s ravishing orchestral backdrop reproduced Wagner’s evocation of the sounds of nature in glorious technicolor.

Soprano Stephanie Corley’s radiant performance as Siegliende firmly establishes her Wagnerian credentials. Corley and Le Brocq are beautifully matched in their ecstatic outpouring of mutual love. Creswell’s incisive dark-hued bass wonderfully suffuses Hunding’s presence with menace. Anthony Kraus’s impeccable sense of pace and balance revealed every nuance of Wagner’s vast orchestral canvas in this resonant space.

Rossini’s William Tell Overture and guest leader Tom Greed’s interpretation of Dvorak’s serenely beautiful Romance for Violin and Orchestra produced the same level of virtuosity. Clearly, an important musical occasion and one to be savoured for years to come.