Monday, 10 December 2012

Symphony in the City

The WA Symphony Orchestra had just finished Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with 80-piece choir and fireworks exploding from the Langley Park stage. “That was great, better than Jennifer Lopez!” said my friend.
The estimated 15 000-strong crowd around us were on their feet cheering and the orchestra responded with two encores: Strauss’ Radetsky March and Peter Allen’s I Still Call Australia Home. It was a fitting conclusion to a very Aussie version of a classical music concert.
This was the first time the free Symphony in the City concert was held at Langley Park (moving from the Esplanade due to the Elizabeth Quay developments). A mild summer evening with the sunset reflecting on the Perth skyline made the perfect backdrop. The orchestra performed from a huge floodlit sound shell while the audience picnicked on the grass and screens projected the concert not just around the park but also to Albany and Merredin in a live regional simulcast. The concert was also webcast live with public screenings at towns around the state.
(To watch the webcast click here)

The orchestra were in relaxed form under conductor Paul Daniel, donning pirate hats for Klaus Badelt’s Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. Delibes Flower Duet (Lakme) was a highlight with Perth divas Sarah Macliver and Fiona Campbell singing with a sweet delicacy that surpassed any recording or performance I’ve heard.

The WASO Chorus, recently returned from a tour to Hong Kong, brought a blast of energy to Verdi’s Anvil Chorus (Il Trovatore) and the men were in particularly good form for Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (Prince Igor).

Presenter Andrew Horabin’s dry humour kept proceedings down-to-earth. His evocative introduction to Smetana’s Vltava (Ma Vlast) set the scene and the orchestra responded with a performance like a magnificent aural painting. It seemed even the wind stopped to listen to the hushed flute and harp depiction of the rippling river.

The engaging program effectively introduced the state-wide audience to the rich diversity of our orchestra. The icing on the cake would’ve been a piece by an Australian composer to showcase our living cultural heritage. But outclassing a pop concert at the new arena is a good start!

This article copyright The West Australian 2012

Music Monday December

You can't have Christmas without Handel's Messiah.
Thanks be to Collegium Symphonic Chorus for programming this season favourite on Saturday December 15th at the Perth Concert Hall. Dr Margaret Pride conducts as usual with Paul Wright leading the orchestra. Soloists are Vivien Hamilton soprano, Fiona Campbell mezzo, Robert McFarlane tenor, Robert Hofmann bass.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio also gets an outing on December 23rd with Chris van Tuinen conducting the UWA Choral Society. Katja Webb, Courtney Pitman, Alasdair Kent and David Costello are soloists.

And John Christmass will celebrate his last Vienna Pops concert on New Year's Eve.  The retiring maestro conducted his final Best of British earlier this year and the last Vienna Pops is sure to sell out fast.
The rest of the month and early January looks to be fairly quiet - the calm before the Perth Festival storm hits in February! And that's ok because we will be creating enough of our own parties in the next few weeks won't we?!
Merry Christmas all!