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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : July 1st 2009
36 INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, July 2, 2009 MB ENTERTAINMENT www.innerwestweekly.com.au Uneven double bill Yvonne Kenny (centre) makes her debut as Dido flanked by Taryn Fiebig (left) and Amy Wilkinson with admirable and versatile support from the chorus. OPERAS: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Handel's Acis and Galatea BY: Opera Australia WHERE: Opera House WHEN: Until 18 July Review: Melissa Lesnie FOR a baroque and early music enthusiast such as myself who counts down the days to Pinchgut's annual foray into this musical terrain, an Opera Australia double bill entitled Baroque Masterpieces is a much- anticipated event. Though boasting a strong cast accompanied superbly on period instruments by the Orchestra of the Antipodes, dramatically the program was uneven. Patrick Nolan's staging of Dido and Aeneas (premiered in 2004) deserves to be regarded as an Opera Australia classic and a masterpiece in itself, while his starkly modern Handel left me cold with its unashamed style over substance. Both pieces are opulent in design (Gabriela Tylesova), yet the effect is subtle in Dido and Aeneas's North African-inspired silk gowns, denoting the setting of Carthage. As the tragic heroine of the title, Yvonne Kenny is certainly not too old, as some reviewers might suggest; rather her years of experience and vocal artistry imbue Dido with such grace and dignity that it is hard to believe this is Kenny's debut in the role. Luke Gabbedy, though fine- voiced, made for a slightly stiff Aeneas, while Taryn Fiebig is a gentle, moving Belinda seeking to soothe her heartsick queen. The Opera Australia Chorus offers admirable and versatile support, adapting their singing style and demeanor to suit appearances as either the royal court or as a troupe of menacing furies. The Arcadian idyll of the lesser- known work by Handel, Acis and Galatea, is transformed here into a soiree for the hedonistic glitterati. In this setting, it is no surprise that Nolan overuses the modern- production trend of coital bliss and drug-taking as updated commentary on the pleasures of pastoral life. He has also attempted to present the struggle of the lovers to express their deep mutual affinity within such a frivolous environment in the public eye, but fails to effectively portray any chemistry between them at all, resorting to a few lacklustre embraces and frilly arm gestures. Close-up, real-time video footage, designed to magnify moments of intimacy, adds little to the productions message or to any sense of the characters' motivations. Taryn Fiebig began her career in early music and her sweet, light soprano is perfectly suited to both Handel and Purcell. As Acis, Henry Choo sounded more vibrant and controlled than I have ever heard him, though his acting in romantic roles always leaves much to be desired. In both works Kanen Breen's performances (redeeming in Handel) are remarkable for their vocal agility and vivacious acting. As a debauched party-goer in Acis and Galatea, and in the more eccentric role of a Marilyn Manson- esque sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, his magnetic stage presence rises to the demands of each character, while his precise diction and warmth of tone confirm his status as the finest young Australian tenor singing in English-language opera. listenup STEVE MOFFATT MELBOURNE singer Michelle Nicolle has recorded a very classy set of songs ideal for that late- night wind-down on ABC's Jazz label. The Loveliest Night showcases Nicolle's superb technique and extremely engaging voice on 11 well-picked tracks of standards and show tunes. Equally tasty is the tight trio backing her, especially the subtle and imaginative arrangements by guitarist Geoff Hughes, solidly supported by bassist Tom Lee and Ronny Farella's drums. Listen out for the refreshing arrangement of Lerner and Loewe's On The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady where Hughes's mellow jazz lines weave around Nicolle's gently swinging delivery. There's an airy, bluesy, Corinne Bailey Rae feel to You Are My Sunshine. I'm In The Mood For Love gets the acappella treatment where Nicolle can show off her considerable scat singing skills (and why not!) and the title track oozes class and sophistication. This is one that should get an ARIA nomination. Available at ABC shops and centres it retails for $30.95. VENICE'S St Mark's Basilica was the focal point for some of the most imaginative composers of the 17th century, including Claudio Monteverdi and Giovanni Gabrieli, and it was here that instrumental concerts were staged, along with the choral works, giving birth to the forms the concerto and sonata. Recorder virtuoso Maurice Steger has re- created one of these concerts using various works from the Venetian school in a delicious new release on the harmonia mundi label. Chances are you won't have heard of any of these composers (but then Vivaldi was forgotten for 250 years!) though there's little doubt that you will enjoy Steger's transcriptions of the violin parts and the arrangements for various Baroque instruments. Venezia 1625 (HMC 902024) is distributed by Select at www.savd.com.au Another recorder virtuoso, Denmark's Michala Petri, recently celebrated her 50th birthday and as a tribute the Tivoli in Copenhagen staged a concert in her honour. It features Petri with the excellent Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer's orchestra which made such a mark at its recent Sydney concerts. On the program are two great Baroque works - Albinoni's D minor concerto and Vivaldi's perky C major RV 443 work - as well as some contemporary works written for Petri. This is a live recording and its tone and presence are a little distant and lacking in warmth. Petri's performances, as you would expect, are impeccable and the orchestra gets to show off in Nino Rota's Concerto for strings - in my opinion a rather ordinary work. Released on OUR Recordings (8.226905), part of the Naxos group, it is distributed by Select at www.savd.com.au POLISH composer Krzysztof Penderecki could never be accused of being sparing of his listeners. His music is intense, quite often dissonant, and usually challenging. How you view it will depend on what you want to get out of music as a whole. If it's entertainment or something to soothe the fevered brow, he will disappoint. But if it's the intellectual stimulus you seek he won't. And he can move you to the core as well. Much of his music is religious and his St Luke Passion made his name in the 1970s. He later wrote two separate works, the Entombment of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ, to form a triptych and it's these two later works, which he brought together under the title Utrenja, which feature on a new release on the budget Naxos label (8572031). Performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic under Antoni Wit, this would have to be the definitive version of the work. As you would imagine the Entombment is sombre and dour in the extreme, the sighs of the chorus broken up by bursts of atonal chords from the orchestra and strong use of percussion. The Resurrection one would expect to be more joyful, but what celebration there is seems to be is mired in the weighty intensity of the piece. Not for faint hearts, Utrenja is distributed by Select on www.savd.com.au New face for Australian opera OPERA Australia has appointed Lyndon Terracini as new artistic director after a four-month search following the death of Richard Hickox. Terracini, currently the artistic director and CEO of Major Brisbane Festivals, will take up the role in October. Adrian Collette, chief executive of Opera Australia said: ''Lyndon is a champion of Australian music and talent, and is someone with a deep knowledge of the opera repertoire both past and present. His comprehensive experience in the Australian arts industry will enable him to oversee the artistic future of our national opera company and its personnel with confidence and sensitivity.'' Lyndon Terracini said: ''I want to build on the successes of the past to help create a company that is inspiring to all Australians.'' On Terracini's to-do list will be to formulate a clear process and structure for the commissioning of new Australian works; to develop and nurture young composers; to explore the possibilities for using digital technology both onstage and off and to stage Wagner's Ring Cycle. Terracini made his debut as a baritone in 1976 as Sid in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring with the Australian Opera. Over the next 20 years he worked both internationally and in Australia with a variety of opera companies in a broad range of repertoire. A dult services TASHA Busty Blonde, Toys, Lingerie.For an appt, in/out calls. Ph id req 0425-290-871 2220519v1 TINA 30yo perky & friendly, sexy body 10am-6pm. Mature men only 0423 833 3882074719v1 TRANS Fun near Parramatta Hot busty euro or sexy Polynesian 0431 249 544 2258048v1 TRANSEXUAL Susan mature, Discreet & Private 9797 2839, 0407 703 8762062088v1 WEST RYDE Full bodyrub. 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