Archive for the ‘review’ Category

Jose Carreras

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

At the end of January 2009 the Wellington Orchestra played with Jose Carreras at Elephant Hill winery in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

It’s not often that we get musical superstars in New Zealand, so it was always going to be a privilege to work with Jose Carreras.

Mr Carreras was straightforward at rehearsal and kept the orchestra guessing as to what his performance voice and style would be. So come the concert, it was both unsurprising and astounding to hear him reveal his full musicianship – the creamy colour of his voice, the glorious power on tap and the exquisite poise and structure of his phrasing.

Sitting in the concertmaster’s chair, I had the great fortune to experience Jose Carreras from the best seat in the… well, vineyard.

This was remarkable artistry which will always stay with me.

Sound of Music

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The Wellington production of Sound of Music was something I just had to take my kids to.  They already knew the music well and my nearly 4 year old daughter had previously declared that her favourite song is the “the one before Do-Re-Mi” – that is, Raindrops on Roses. She was enchanted by this Sound of Music. And quite puzzled about the layers of reality, “Do they really live in that house daddy?”

I seem to be one of few who has not grown up with the Julie Andrews Sound of Music movie etched into me. This seems fortunate as almost everyone is preoccupied with comparisons with that Sound of Music benchmark.

Unburdened by that, I was able to enjoy this Sound of Music on its own merits. The sets were convincing – indeed life-like for my kids, the children were as good as I have heard in children’s roles and most importantly Jessica Graham as Maria sang beautifully and carried the role superbly.

What was unexpected for me were the timeless themes that are exposed in this work: displaced people, fleeing from persecution, broken childhood and life without the privilege of music. I was in tears on several occasions and was a little relieved to learn later that a certain international Music Director attending the same performance had been similarly moved.

It is these deeper themes that are most powerful and will see Sound of Music endure into the ages.