All posts by Paul Nolan

Paul Nolan was born on the New South Wales North Coast. He has been involved with musical theatre and choral groups on the NSW North Coast and in Sydney. Paul has had poetry published in various periodicals. He is trained in classical piano and has a Bachelor of Music from the UNSW.

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : ‘MEDITERRANEO’ WITH DANIEL PINTEÑO @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above : Guest Director for this concert, Daniel Pinteño, Baroque violinist. Featured image :  Daniel Pinteño with Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Photo credit – Steven Godbee

Who better to give Sydney  some previously unheard Baroque music from Spain in vivid premiere this spring than the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra? Their latest instalment in this year’s diverse set of concert formats is MEDITERRANEO. It is a joyous return to instrumental playing alone without stage production. Led and inspired by charismatic Spanish violinist Daniel Pinteño, the orchestra and soloist took us on a vibrant tour of Baroque music from the Mediterranean.

The rich fabric of the chosen programme exposes us to native composers and works from Spain alongside those of Italy and England. The result was striking and fresh as well as giving us the chance to discover also the sensitive and spectacular playing of skilled Baroque violinist Daniel Pinteño. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : ‘MEDITERRANEO’ WITH DANIEL PINTEÑO @ CITY RECITAL HALL

MUSICA VIVA : RAY CHEN & JULIEN QUENTIN @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Ray Chen, Julien Quentin and composer Matthew Hindson rehearse ‘Dark Matter’.

At the conclusion of an extensive national tour and series of masterclass dates, popular violinist Ray Chen and pianist Julien Quentin still shone like quite an unparalleled pair of diamonds on the City Recital Hall stage.

Sydney Ray Chen fans were entertained with absolute fireworks in solo and other violin works from the early twentieth century and beyond. The chosen works could only have made their intended virtuosi dazzle the  audience at each premiere with stunning bravura and elevated musicianship. The world premiere Australian work by Matthew Hindson in this Musica Viva concert was given similar treatment, its intensity comprehensively explored with the fresh and exciting chamber music flair this pair also brought to the rest of the programme. Continue reading MUSICA VIVA : RAY CHEN & JULIEN QUENTIN @ CITY RECITAL HALL

THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA : MET CONCERT 4 @ THE ABC CENTRE

Above: Piano soloist Tamara-anna Cislovska gave a stunning performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2 with TMO.                                                                                                                                        Featured image: Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of TMO, Sarah-Grace Williams

The audience at the ABC Centre’s Eugene Goossens Hall were treated to an all-Russian programme from TMO for its Met Concert #4. Titled ‘Fever’, It presented works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by three giants of the Russian music scene . From the evening’s striking opening chord, it was clear that the Russian music would be celebrated with focussed energy, interpretative skill and frisson by the Australian artists.

Joining this busy Australian orchestra as soloist was pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska. Through her recording, broadcasting, editing and concert work , Tamara-Anna has proved herself over and over to be one of this country’s great musical humans. Who better to join the joyous musical souls of the large-format TMO to clearly  present the heat and diverse complexities of the programmed Russian music. Continue reading THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA : MET CONCERT 4 @ THE ABC CENTRE

DANCE CHANT : CELEBRATING ROSS EDWARDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above: Composer and Sydney Chamber Choir soprano Josephine Gibson, whose work ‘Let Them Come’ was heard in world premiere.                                                                                                                               Featured image: composer Ross Edwards

DANCE CHANT : CELEBRATING ROSS EDWARDS was a supremely entertaining event which was significant on several levels. The evening celebrated the unique voice and a portion of the prolific output of this composer in his 75th birthday year. And who better to deliver this tribute concert than Sydney Chamber Choir, which has enjoyed a productive and close relationship with Edwards and so many Australian composers in the past.

‘Dance Chant’ also fused together two of Sydney’s popular performing groups; Synergy Percussion and Sydney Chamber Choir shared the stage to deliver special soundscapes in a small sampling of Ross Edwards’ output. There were also no less than two world premiere works from new Australian composers amidst the six works from 1980 to 2009 and six other composers. Continue reading DANCE CHANT : CELEBRATING ROSS EDWARDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

MUSICAL OFFERING : BACH AKADEMIE AUSTRALIA @ ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL CRYPT

Above: Artistic Director of Bach Akademie Australia, Madeleine Easton                                                     Featured image: Akademie Australia members take a bow in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral.

This early music concert in the wonderful surrounds of St Mary’s Cathedral’s Crypt provided an exciting opportunity to hear a legendary part of J S Bach’s output in a freshly-realised version. It also displayed the research skills, musicianship and contagious enthusiasm of historically informed performance expert Madeleine Easton and fellow instrumentalists.

Easton, the artistic director and founder of the Bach Akademie Australia, was joined by four other early music performance colleagues. These were namely Neal Peres Da Costa (harpsichord), Daniel Yeadon (cello), Mikaela Oberg (flute) and Rafael Font-Viera (violin).

A reading by Neal Peres Da Costa as well as continued explanations, commentary and analysis by Madeleine Easton all vividly transported us back to the environment and incident surrounding the creation of this complex yet beautiful canonic creations presented to King Frederick of Prussia. Continue reading MUSICAL OFFERING : BACH AKADEMIE AUSTRALIA @ ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL CRYPT

MUSICA VIVA PRESENTS JOYCE YANG @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above : Australian composer Elizabeth Younan had her Piano Sonata given World Premieres during Joyce Yang’s national tour for Musica Viva.                                                                              Featured image : Pianist Joyce Yang.

Playing Rachmaninoff, Janaček, Liszt and Australian composer Elizabeth Younan, pianist Joyce Yang displayed her refined musicianship and dazzling technical prowess across a varied programme.  What is so striking and rewarding about the purity of this performer’s musical maturity is her innate sense for accurately communicating the emotional and structural architecture of works in a strikingly direct manner to the audience.

Bravura passages amongst the beautifully bold and searching statements in Yang’s pianistic voice were delivered in stunningly smooth swoops. They maintained at all times a fresh and sizzling spontaneity in the environment of her eloquent storytelling. There was a high level of clarity and straight forward carving out of landmark classics from the repertoire in this concert. Works on the programme which are more rarely heard on stage were equally accessible and given clear performances to those hearing them for the first time. Continue reading MUSICA VIVA PRESENTS JOYCE YANG @ CITY RECITAL HALL

SUMI JO WITH JOSE CARBO : MAD FOR LOVE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above : baritone Jose Carbo, who performed solos and duets throughout the programme.                                                                                                                                    Featured image: Sumi Jo.

The chance to hear or view any of international vocal sensation Sumi Jo’s many award-winning recordings is always a thrill. The opportunity to see this soprano live complete with a stunning range of dresses and her seasoned acting skill intact is a pure entertainment  delight.

Sumi Jo illustrated her tremendous range, singing in five languages throughout the concert, and presented arias from her coloratura repertoire alongside Korean  classical songs, a Baroque vocal piece by Purcell and duets from  operetta as well as a wonderfully characterised performance with baritone Jose Carbo  of Gershwin’s ‘Bess, you is my woman now’.

Guy Noble provided very full and sympathetic accompaniment at the piano throughout, as well as some signature commentary in his inimitably engaging velvety tones. Continue reading SUMI JO WITH JOSE CARBO : MAD FOR LOVE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

OPERA AUSTRALIA : AIDA @ DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE

Above: Ricardo Massi as Radames, Roberto Scandiuzzi as Ramfis and Elena Gabouris as Amneris.                                                                                                                                                                                        Featured image: Amber Wagner as Aida with Ricardo Massi as Radames,                                                  Photo credit: Prudence Upton.

Opera Australia’s current new production of Verdi’s Aida delivers a satisfying amount of traditional drama and tension we hope for in Verdi’s structure and score. The arresting design in this production makes use of a refreshingly new visual element for the opera stage. A more traditional set design is replaced with projection technology onto moveable vertical panels to create and decorate all required scenes.

Musically, Verdi’s score is preserved with immense energy and beautifullyvaried nuance by conductor Andrea Battistoni. In front of the vibrant animation of the video backdrop, arias such as ‘Celeste Aida’ from Riccardo Massi as Radamès indicate early that the calibreof operatic storytelling will be high and as vivid as the set projections from video designer D-Wok in Giò Forma’s fluid set design.

Dramatic focus and stirring atmospheres are constantly supplied from principals and chorus. They deliver intense exchanges in scenes dealing with crises of the heart, countries at war, jealous lovers or jubilant victory. Some very full stage moments are augmented further by extra animated screen figures behind and at the side borders of tableaux. Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA : AIDA @ DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE

OPERA AUSTRALIA : LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR @ THE DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE

Above : Giorgio Carduro as Enrico and John Longmuir as Arturo with the Opera Australia chorus. Photo: Prudence Upton                                                      Featured image : Jessica Pratt as Lucia and Michael Fabiano as Edgardo. Photo credit: Prudence Upton.

Opera Australia’s current production of the Italian opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti is a focussed and brooding affair. It is a triumph of the genre’s potential for tension and emotional tortures packaged in a visual, vocal and atmospheric spectacle. This is a co-production with Houston Grand Opera, where it was first performed in 2011, and Teatro La Fenice. The opera is performed in a revival production with hypnotic tableaux and a rich musical interaction between orchestra and powerhouse voices.

It is a dark and dramatically delectable serving up of Donizetti’s streamlined retelling of the grisly tale of feuding Scottish clans and a manipulated female caught in the centre of family machinations. Such ominous themes and tales are taken from Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘The Bride of Lammermoor’ from 1819. Salvatore Cammarano’s opera libretto was first heard in Donizetti’s work in 1835 and are here chillingly realised on our 2018 stage. Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA : LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR @ THE DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE

THE MARAIS PROJECT : A BASS AFFAIR @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Above: Soprano Josie Ryan and Tommie Andersson – lutes, baroque guitar and theorbo.                     Featured image : Jennifer Eriksson, viola da gamba and Tim Blomfield, bass violin.

Any concert event from The Marais Project is joyous as well as being a richly educational and diverse entertainment. ‘A Bass Affair’ at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music celebrated this tradition and historically informed performance goals. Gambist Jennifer Eriksson once more assembled early music performers of high calibre and nicely contrasted music from the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries.

The music was presented for us using a wealth of timbres from the combination of guest Tim Blomfield’s bass violin, Jennifer Eriksson’s viola da gamba, Josie Ryan’s soprano voice, and from Tommie Andersson playing no less than two lutes, baroque guitar and theorbo.

An exciting part of this concert was the first time collaboration at a Marais Project concert of Eriksson’s viola da gamba and Blomfield’s bass violin. The two instruments blended keenly and helped highlight the character and communicative strengths of each other’s musical identity so popular in French musical history. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT : A BASS AFFAIR @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA : SERENADE @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE, NORTH SYDNEY

Tenor Daniel Belle sang opera and musical theatre hits with TMO strings.

This concert showcased the precision and expressive power of The Metropolitan Orchestra Strings, both on their own and in collaboration with successful tenor Daniel Belle. The flexibility of TMO strings and this singer enabled the programme to shift smoothly from a late nineteenth century work for strings through to popular opera and musical theatre pieces delivered with a comfortable cabaret feel.

TMO strings explored the music of Czech composer Josef Suk in his lush and mostly well-humoured Serenade in E flat major Op 6 (1892).  They opened this concert with a consistently rich and well balanced sound across the ensemble. Continue reading THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA : SERENADE @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE, NORTH SYDNEY