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Posts tagged: vocal

Nelson Chamber Music festival again New Zealand’s biennial musical highlight

By , 10/02/2017
My visit this year to the Nelson Chamber Music Festival was shorter than in previous years, arriving late afternoon on the Tuesday and departing midday Saturday. The highlights from abroad were the presence of Hungarian pianist Dénes Varjon, the Australian tenor, Andrew Goodwin (singing Schumann’s Dichterliebe), the Goldner Quartet and cellist Matthew Barley. The essence of the festival rests with the New Zealand String Quartet, which founded and sustained the festival... read more

Unfamiliar but rewarding music to mark Conference on 17th and 18th century English music

When on Wednesday after the lunchtime concert someone drew my attention to a poster in St Andrew’s Church foyer, advertising a concert the following early evening, I was unaware of its provenance.  It transpired that it was in association with the 11th Biennial Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies.  Therefore the substantial audience was largely made up of delegates to this... read more

No Christmas without “Messiah” – with the Tudor Consort and the NZSO

  This was a remarkable performance, in many ways.  The smaller-than-usual orchestra was matched by a larger-than-usual Tudor Consort in fine voice, and splendid soloists, all directed by Australian Handel specialist Graham Abbott.  Unusually, there were no cuts in the score; all was performed.  ‘Their sound is gone out’, in Part II is usually a chorus.  But this was composed three years after the première; in the first performance it... read more

Politically coloured vocal contest settles the score between baritones and bass-baritones

By , 16/11/2016
Both Rosemary Collier and I found ourselves at what turned out to be an unexpectedly amusing recital. We were both held up by late trains and non-functioning lifts and so missed whatever introductory remarks might have illuminated the nature of the ‘contest’. So disadvantaged, we decided to pool our impressions in the hope of making some sense of the unusual scenario that was being enacted. However, the four biographical notes gave... read more

High drama, pastoral beauty and symphonic grandeur from the WCO with Michael Vinten

By , 25/09/2016
It’s always fascinating to encounter the efforts of musicians who aren’t full-time professional players literally throwing themselves wholeheartedly at music that’s challenging and difficult, however well-known it might seem. I can claim to having had some limited but nevertheless exhilarating experience as such a player in an amateur orchestra, in another life! – what a pleasure it was, that of being able to listen “from the inside” to various... read more

Admirably staged and sung opera and music theatre excerpts from the school of music

By , 11/09/2016
The school of music’s once annual opera productions have in recent years fallen back to biennial events. In the between years, students create a series of scenes from opera, against a background of elementary sets and a few props that can, with a bit of imagination, be used in various settings. This production employed around sixteen singers, though the photo gallery in the printed programme contained 23 faces which included... read more

Charming recital of French and English songs by Rhona Fraser and Richard Mapp at Lower Hutt

By , 31/08/2016
Rhona Fraser relaxed after the strenuous weeks of management and production of her opera at Days Bay over the weekend (Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi) by tackling a ¾ hour recital of varied and engaging songs in the generous and kind acoustic of St Mark's church, Lower Hutt. Though the opera had not, this time, involved her in a singing role, this recital gave us some reassurance that her... read more

‘Singers to listen for’: “A long way to hear singing as good as this”

Advertised on RNZ Concert like any other concert, it was in fact not at all.  It was a fundraiser for Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (for cancer research) and the Kiri te Kanawa Foundation.  A similar event had been held last year.  The early part of the evening was taken up with chat, drinks and canapés, before the music started at 7.15pm. Rodney Macann was a genial and knowledgeable MC, and... read more

NZSO and Christiane Libor in wonderful Strauss songs and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony

By , 06/08/2016
It might have been possible to blame a rival entertainment or the wet and chilly weather for the rather loosely packed audience for a concert that I’d expected to have a ‘full house’ notice at the door. One might also wonder whether it’s a reflection on the slow decline of musical tastes, and that those of us who were brought up with a certain amount of great music in... read more

Beguiling concert of French chanson, torch songs, café and cabaret songs by Magdalena Darby and friends

By , 27/07/2016
Magdalena Darby’s bio begins with her studies at the Conservatorium of Music in Utrecht, but shies away from dates, early education, or when she came to New Zealand; one assumes she was born in the Netherlands. Before coming to New Zealand she lived in Mexico and presumably Paris. Her bio refers to performing in Paris as well as London and elsewhere in Europe (can we still assume that ‘Europe’... read more

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