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Posts tagged: vocal

Admirable performances in Wellington Regional Aria Contest

By , 26/08/2018
Once upon a time, aria contests, as a part of a pattern of performing arts competitions, flourished in every city and many smaller towns throughout New Zealand.  There were aria competitions in both Wellington and the Hutt Valley, part of the pattern of competitions that also included instrumental music as well as dance and drama. My first ‘professional’ contact with music was in my Upper Sixth year at Wellington College... read more

East and West mingle at Wellington Youth Orchestra Concert

By , 19/08/2018
A most striking frontispiece on the programme cover (uncredited) for this enterprising concert seemed to alert us to the presence of something out-of-the-ordinary - an illustration something along the lines of those disconcerting front-and-profile images of one and the same person. It wasn’t exactly that, in this case, but the effect certainly caused a double-take on my part, which I presume was the idea! – here, a youthful portrait... read more

Katherine McIndoe with brilliant performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations at St Andrew’s

By , 15/08/2018
Soprano Katherine McIndoe has been at the Guildhall School in London for the past year, though she was last heard, conspicuously, in both the operas staged in the middle of last year by Rhona Fraser’s Days Bay Opera: Tatyana in Eugene Onegin and Guilietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi.  In Britain she sang at the Aldeburgh Festival last year as a Britten-Piers Young Artist, and was the Governess... read more

NZSM classical voice students show their talents at St Andrew’s

A Thursday lunchtime concert apparently does not have the appeal of the regular Wednesday one; the audience was quite small.  However, it was an opportunity to hear some promising young singers, and a first-class accompanist. The singers were all sopranos, and a mixture of first, second and third year students, the majority being second years. First up was Olivia Stewart.  She sang two items in English: ‘Angels ever bright and fair’... read more

Polished recital of Lieder by Clara Schumann and Brahms, and Robert’s Scenes of Childhood

By , 11/07/2018
I didn’t hear the recital in March 2017 by this couple from Dunedin, though my colleague Rosemary Collier reviewed it. It seems many years since I have heard them. They form an attractive duet and the music they choose is the kind that is not much performed these days: the song recital is a bit out of fashion and there is a deep-seated belief among the classical music impresarios:... read more

Admirable exploration of challenging Purcell and gorgeous Fauré from Nota Bene

By , 08/07/2018
Looking back through Middle C’s archive, I was a little surprised to discover that Nota Bene was founded as far back as 2004; we have reviewed 18 of their concerts since our beginning in 2008. It was founded by Christine Argyle, and has been under the direction of several others since, including, quite often, Peter Walls. Concerts are usually constructed round a theme, and the theme here was death and... read more

Demanding song recital reflects more ambition than accomplishment

It is not often that I attend a lunchtime concert at St. Andrew’s and come away disappointed, but that was the case this time.  I am fond of Fauré’s songs and deeply devoted to Schumann’s Dichterliebe.  But this time I could not say I was enchanted by what I heard. The first song went well.  The second, like a number later on, was perhaps a little low for William McElwee’s voice... read more

Harmony of the Spheres in tandem with life on earth – Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) from Baroque Voices and instrumentalists

By , 17/06/2018
More of a spiritual/aesthetic experience than merely a “concert” was Baroque Voices’ evocative and atmospheric presentation “Harmony of the Spheres”, triumphantly bringing together singers, instrumentalists and audience to share and delight in the joys of exploration, wonderment and celebration wrought by the music of the twelfth-century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. No more ambient and timeless sounds than those of Hildegard’s music intermingled with both contemporaneous dance rhythms and the... read more

Lawrence Renes, NZSO and Simon O’Neill in superb Wagner songs and monumental Bruckner 4th

By , 16/06/2018
This subscription concert was advertised as ‘An Evening with Simon O’Neill’, obviously in the hope that the name of New Zealand’s internationally most distinguished singer would match that of the recently retired Kiri Te Kanawa. But it didn’t work as the auditorium was hardly half full. Nevertheless, O’Neill is indeed one of a small handful of leading tenors in the Wagner class. Sure, he doesn’t compete in the public... read more

Spectacular centenary concert for Leonard Bernstein from the NZSO

By , 11/05/2018
Faced with an auditorium less than half full for a concert to celebrate a hundred years of one of the most famous (I carefully refrain from using ‘greatest’) composers and conductors of the 20th century, raised interesting thoughts. One was that I had expected about this sized audience; that, before I’d seen the NZSO offer of big ticket discounts. I’ve no doubt that everyone interested in classical music and broadly defined popular... read more

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