Friday, September 23, 2011

Concert in tune with RWC festivities

Last Night of the Proms, Dunedin Town Hall, Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dunedin Town Hall was a sellout last evening for a special Proms concert by Southern Sinfonia, St Kilda Brass and City of Dunedin Choir.

In addition to traditional Proms repertoire from Mother England, music performed represented the six countries playing Rugby World Cup matches in Dunedin.

There was a tumultuous reception for two visiting sons of Dunedin - conductor Tecwyn Evans (United Kingdom based) and bass/baritone Jud Arthur (Australia).

Promenaders packed the lower floor in a riot of colour.

Balloons, flags and streamers were everywhere in the red, white and blue carnival atmosphere.

Kapa haka group He Waka Kotuia kicked off with Mihi whakatau followed by national anthems and the orchestral fanfare Peace by New Zealand composer Dorothy Buchanan.

Arthur's rich operatic voice delivered Italian arias - Non pi andrai (Mozart) and La calunnia (Rossini).

A thrilling rendition of Verdi's popular Anvil Chorus came from the choir, St Kilda Brass and Sinfonia, with celebrity guest percussionist Vicki Treadell (British High Commissioner) in Union Jack and smithy's apron playing the anvil.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, with volleys of cannon-fire and haze of smoke, was a highlight from the Russian front.

Georgian March from Caucasian Sketches by Ippolitov-Ivanov added Georgian flavour and Rumanian Dances, by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, was very well performed by the Southern Sinfonia.

A toe-tapping Irish Washerwoman set Irish blood a-pulsing, and Argentina was recognised with Variazione by Ginastera. The World in Union, official song of the RWC is drawn from Holst's The Planets.

Strong unison string themes were spine-tingling, and appropriate for inclusion in the well-selected programme. Arthur dressed in an All Black shirt and Union Jack led the audience in spirited singing of Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and the final Now is the Hour. Kate Mead (Wellington) compered with witty repartee, and a replica bottle of Shackleton's whisky, donated by the British Embassy, was auctioned by Dougal Stevenson, and fetched $1050.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times, Friday, 23 September 2011.

1 comment:

Leta said...

This comment received from Diane Wales:

I loved being in the audience. Thought the choir opening to 1812 was mesmerising.
Your colours looked great. Was very proud of you all.
Di W