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February, 2005 - Nr. 2


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KW & Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla


Irena SyrokomlaHot Pops on a Cold Night,
The Centre in the Square

The concert in The Centre in the Square was Hot Pops on a Cold Night, a very appropriate theme for a very cold January night, just after a major snowfall. Not everyone was up to coping with the elements, and the hall was less than three quarters full.

The conductor, David Warrack, kept spirits high and entertained the audience with comments and encouraging everybody to dance. The pieces were short and graceful, the concert started with The Prelude from Carmen, such a beautiful melody. There were several Mexican songs, some more from Brazil, Granada and Spain. Somewhere among them a Russian song - Black Eyes - adopted by Julio Iglesias and converted into Nathalie appeared. There was Mambo Caliente, America from West Side Story, Guantanamera (the audience was invited to sing along) and even Livin’ La Vida Loca. The orchestra was having fun, some of the musicians playing on several instruments, and, as Mr. Warrack commented, requiring roller skates to keep pace with the rest while switching from one to another.

Altogether it was a wonderful evening. Every now and then the thought occurred to me that this very professional and classic orchestra was playing popular melodies slightly too elegantly and too much like the classical orchestra they are. Some of the melodies were asking for a street band and a wider audience.

Many more concerts from several series are still to come this winter and spring for us to enjoy.

Please do not overlook numerous concerts, not on any schedule, for the fundraising for Asia, like the one that took place at Festival Theatre in Stratford on January 30th.  By the time I called for tickets, three days after the announcement, they were almost sold out. There will be more opportunities to give either directly or in some fundraising events and it warms my heart to see that everyone is participating in donating for the victims of the tsunami disaster. It will take years to rebuild the devastation in Asia. Share your wealth and give generously.

Opera Ontario
The Abduction from the Seraglio
by Mozart

It is again our pleasure to comment on the current production of Opera Ontario, performed last Saturday in Kitchener in The Centre in the Square. The Abduction from the Seraglio is Mozart at his best, rich in music and arias, beautifully sung by highly acclaimed artists, staged as usual with impressive stetting and costumes.

Mozart composed it in 1781–82 in Vienna. Conductor Daniel Lipton feels very strongly about operas being sung in their original language, so only spoken parts were translated into English and all arias were delivered in their original German.

The sung parts of five main characters are monumental and demand high quality voices, and we were not disappointed.

Pascal Charbonneau as Pedrillo, Benjamin Butterfield as Belmonte, Alexander Savtchenko as Osmin  [picture courtesy of Opera Ontario]

Benjamin Butterfield, a tenor singing lead part of Belmonte has a rich repertoire to his name, Alexander Savtchenko, a powerful bass, very impressive in his posture and acting as well, is known to the audience from past operas. Madeline Bender as Konstanze possesses a full-bodied soprano and her coloraturas parts were breath taking. A young Sookhyung Park, so petite, has a beautiful voice and along with her partner Pascal Charbonneau as Pedrillo provided a somewhat lighter element in this very classic opera.

There is not much to tell of the familiar story; it is not one of those tragic operas, but rather a light one. There are no deaths or murders on stage, it ends with a happy end and great enjoyment of magnificent Mozart, the music, voices and stage décor all provide much pleasure for the audience.

The Centre in the Square was packed and if you still have time – there will be three more performances in Hamilton Place on February 12, 17 and 19. In Hamilton the toll free number is 1-800-575-1381 or local 905-526-6556.

The last of the four operas by Opera Ontario for this season -scheduled in April- is Carmen. For me it is THE OPERA and anyone who has not seen it, should take this opportunity to go and enjoy. Looking forward to spring!


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