This is the latest joyous, astonishing collaboration, their third, between the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa that had the audience in raptures. Don’t miss it. The audience did not want to breathe or blink in case they missed something.
It is an inspired pastiche by Paul Dyer and Yaron Lifschitz, with music from 16th and 17th-century England and featuring the beautiful voices of sopranos Jane Sheldon and Lauren Stephenson.
The set design by Yaron Lifschitz, Libby McDonnell and Richard Clarke is inspired by the idea of a clipped formal garden at a stately 17th-century mansion : a green covered area represents the manicured lawn .The middle area has tumbling mats , there is a large blank screen at the back used for projections and a huge hoop. Various sized white plinths (which also become props) are included and the Circa cast are carried on as statues hidden under drapes. Peter Rubie’s lighting design is dramatic and atmospheric.
Happy Birthday to the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra! This year marks their 30th birthday and the season began with a glittering , joyous concert. There were many VIPS in the audience and the Orchestra’s playing under the enthusiastic and very energetic baton of Paul Dyer was in superb form . There were huge garlands of flowers across the middle balcony above the Orchestra .
Introductory speeches were made by Bruce Appelbaum the Managing director and then Dame Quentin Bryce .
We heard five of Bach’s Brandendburg Concertos. Written in 1721 the concertos were submitted to a possible patron the Margrave of Brandenburg and are a magnificent showcase to feature the musicians of the Orchestra on their period instruments and continual refinement of Historically Informed Performance style .
First was No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049 in three movements which featured recorders as played by Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg. The first movement was bright and sprightly , the music leaping cascading and pulsating. Shaun Lee Chen had a fiery, insistent solo on his violin .The fluid music became a breathless dialogue for the ensemble.
The second movement was slower with a looping repeated melody and in the third the violins were energetic and emphatic with a featured very fast bubbly trio for Lee- Chen ,Farrow and Oberg on recorder , with another showy solo for Chen . Again a great dialogue ensued between all the ensemble leading to an emphatic conclusion. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS→
This was a glorious concert in which the ABO under the enthusiastic, energetic and precise direction of Paul Dyer glowed and were in tremendous form.
The concert was terrifically staged with most effective lighting , opening with guest star Lixsania Fernandez appearing solo in the spotlight then as the music required quietly joined by the various members of the ABO who had been waiting behind red lit screens. Tall , charismatic and model thin, striking, rather feline Fernandez hails from Cuba with reddish/purple hair . She wore several different elegant outfits during the concert. There was obviously profound rapport between Fernandez and the ABO and great enjoyment .
First we heard Folia Pasticcio by Corelli, Scarlatti and Marais which sounded as fresh as if it had been written yesterday. The music eddied and swirled .Fernandez on her viola da Gamba had a luminous , passionate solo and at one point Dyer on harpsichord had a rippling, delicate solo.
The ‘labyrinth’ of the title was the fiendishly difficult Pietro Locatelli’s 12th Violin Concerto in 3 movements from his Opus 3 set: Il Laberinto Armonico or The Harmonic Labyrinth. The composer described it on the score as “easy to get into, difficult to get out of” and Brandenburg’s Concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen dazzled, channelling his inner Paganini and giving an astonishing bravura performance in the almost impossibly demanding Capriccios.
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.
KARAKORUM : A most exciting and unusual concert that combines the outstanding talents of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and five members of the Brandenburg choir with the ‘medieval world folk’ ensemble, La Camera delle Lacrime.
Narrated by one of Australia’s most respected actors, David Wenham, as William in a black Franciscan habit , the concert follows the 13th century journey of William of Rubruck, a Flemish Franciscan friar who spent years exploring what we now know as ‘the silk road’ on a mission to convert the Great Khan to Christianity in the Mongol capital, Karakorum. He traveled through the lands that the Mongols had conquered in the Crimea, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Asia Minor between 1253 and 1255. Wenham as William conveys Michael Costi’s script (a translation which is based on La Camera Director Khaï-dong Luong’s original concept and directed here by ConstantineCosti) with attentive respect, considering each observation, before discreetly withdrawing to write in his journal as his adventure develops.Continue reading KARAKORUM – AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA→
The cognoscenti were out in force at Sydney’s City Recital Hall. A quick 360 degree spin around the foyer and later at interval revealed that in attendance were Leo Schofield, Ann Sanders, Anton Enus, John Bell and Anna Volska, Helen Wellings, doubtless anonymous captains of industry and of-course the general music loving public.
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra performs as part of Sydney Festival 2018 at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Immerse yourself in the splendour of the exhibition REMBRANDT AND THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE:: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum as members of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra perform amongst masterpieces of the 17th century.
Rembrandt Live is a theatrical encounter for the senses, marrying the treasures of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum with baroque performance and music, directed by John Bell with musical curator Paul Dyer.
In association with REMBRANDT LIVE, Matt Moran and Chiswick at the Gallery head chef, Tim Brindley, have designed a decadent baroque banquet, inspired by the flavours of the Dutch Golden Age, available for two nights only after the show.
REMBRANDT LIVE dates
6, 8-9, 11-12, 15-16, 22-23 January 2018
For two nights only Baroque Banquet 18-19 January, 6-10pm
BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONS, marking the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth. as presented by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, is structured around three works by two of the most iconic of baroque composers and includes Bach’s famous comic coffee cantata.
Monteverdi | Lamento della Ninfa.
A beautiful, moving story of loss and mourning, the nymph, angrily and with broken heart, sings the story of her traitorous lover.
Monteverdi | Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.
A story of love, tragedy and mistaken identity.
J.S. BACH | Coffee Cantata.
A rollicking satire about the coffee-drinking antics of this lusciously-jolly, caffeine-crazed woman.
Soprano Natasha Wilson ties these three worlds together in a dramatic, staged performance with the Brandenburg. Through the concert we discover the heartbreak, passion and comic revelry within a repressive world.
Joining Natasha on stage are tenors Karim Sulayman from the USA and Australian Spencer Darby, as well as Danish bass Jakob Bloch Jespersen.
Paul Dyer has reunited the Australian creative team with whom he collaborated on the Brandenburg’s acclaimed and first-ever staging of Handel’s Messiah in February 2017, NIDA graduates director Constantine Costi, set designer Charlotte Mungomery and costume designer Genevieve Graham.
The creative team is completed by the leading Australian lighting designer, John Rayment, who in 2018 will be lighting the Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies on the Gold Coast, as well as Opera Australia’s new production of Aida.
It is most impressively ‘partially staged ‘ and musically and vocally is superb. The performance is in three parts or ‘scenes’ and follows a woman’s journey through the sweet and bitter of life, through pleasure and pain, and opens with Monteverdi’s Nymph’s Lament, a tale of spurned love from his eight book of madrigals.
The concert is set in a cornfield with observing shepherds who act as a sort of Greek chorus. Natasha Wilson plays the nymph in white drifting around rather Ophelia – like and lamenting her traitorous lost love in ravishing arias.
The highlight of the first half and one of the major highlights of the performance was the striking, dramatic staging of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (The Battle of Tancredi and Clorinda) first performed in Venice in 1624 and based on a story of the First Crusade by Torquato Tasso which explores the fused themes of love and war through the story of the tragically star-crossed lovers.
The front cloth is lifted to reveal large metal staircase scaffolding which Jakob Bloch Jespersen and Wilson clamber up and down. For most of the performance Wilson and Jespersen are up on the top layer of the scaffolding and blindfolded. The dominant colour is red and a red banner is unfurled at one point. Karim Sulayman as the narrator below was passionate and intense describing the various events of the battle, the anger, exhaustion and eventual despair and parting.
This work is also notable for its inclusion of Aikido– a modern Japanese martial art as the intricate, tightly choreographed battle is excitingly performed by Melanie Lindenthal and Andrew Sunter. ( http://aikidoinsydney.com/)The work features one of the earliest known uses of pizzicato in Baroque music and also pioneered the use of tremolo and the ‘agitated style ‘ to convey tension.
Wilson as Clorinda is superb her dying arias piercingly, soaringly exquisite. Jakob Bloch Jespersen ( from Denmark) as the noble warrior Tancredi was magnificent , commanding and vibrant in the battle , horror struck and grief stricken at the end .
The Bach Brandenburg Concerto No 4 BWV 1049 (first movement only) was given a sprightly, elegant and filigreed performance. The Orchestra had a warm luscious tone.The Baroque flutes /recorders ( Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg) bubbled and darted in a delightful, enchanting performance that left us wanting more.The other interludes included in both halves of the program were also delightful.
“Don’t get between a girl and her coffee “ – the bulk of the second half consisted of J.S Bach’s Coffee Cantata, BWV 211 which was given a sparkling performance. A delicious satire, with bewitching music, this is classified as a cantata ( a vocal composition with instrumental accompaniment intended for concert performance) yet it is rather like a mini opera with three characters. Bach himself was a caffeine addict.
The set was reworked during interval to become a coffee shop and there were huge bags of coffee beans scattered around. There was also the use of mobile phones, Liesshen takes quite few selfies. Karim Sulayman here acts as the overworked barista/narrator.
Jakob Bloch Jespersen (Mr Schlendrian, Lieschen’s harassed father) is here dressed in casually expensive jeans t shirt and jacket and is growing weary of constantly forking out money for all the coffee that his daughter drinks. Lieschen is portrayed by Natasha Wilson as spoilt and self centred. She wears a red dress, fishnet stockings ankle boots and a large striped faux fur coat. The love of her life is COFFEE to which she is extremely addicted to. She must have it, drink it, be gifted it.
To her, coffee is more delicious than a thousand kisses. More pleasing than wine. Wilson’s arias to coffee are sultry and sensational. But her father declares she must give up coffee and marry. Leischen eventually agrees, thinking that her husband to be will pay for all her coffee. It ends with a wonderful tightly choreographed trio for the barista, Lieschen and her father drinking , stirring and raising their cups – to the joys of COFFEE.
Another cappuccino please ..
Running time just under 2 hours including interval
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s BITTERSWEET OBSESSION is playing the City Recital Hall until the 1st November and Melbourne until 5 November 2017.
In this latest terrific concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO), the program for the evening consisted of four works, concentrating on the Classical period.
The concert began with a rarely heard Sinfonia by Mozart’s friend Christian Cannabich, who led the renowned Mannheim court orchestra which was to the 18th century what the Berlin Philharmonic is to today. Then there were two works by Mozart, and a Haydn cello concerto, superbly played by ABO principal Jamie Hey.
The Orchestra had as many composers as players in their ensemble and it set the standard for others to follow, increasing the orchestral range and nuance by their introduction of innovative bowing techniques and the use of rhythm and ascending climaxes which became known as the “Mannheim Rocket”.
The entire ABO was in fine, golden form as energetically led by the very enthusiastic Paul Dyer who was close to dancing whilst conducting on fortepiano.
The concert began with the rarely heard Sinfonia in E-Flat major by Cannabich that gave the concert a brisk, emphatic, sprightly start.
This was a fascinating concert that was perhaps a trifle uneven in the first half but the second half was astonishing and the audience gave a thunderous standing ovation which led to THREE encores.
The Brandenburg Orchestra’s special guest artist Dmitry Sinkovsky was a star student of the iconic Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich once taught and Rachmaninoff studied). He was groomed for an international career on modern violin but changed focus in 2005 and pursued specialised early music training in Moscow, Montreal and Holland.
Now he is a highly regarded laureate in many European violin competitions (including first, audience and critic’s prizes in the coveted Music Antiqua Competition in Bruges). He is in great demand internationally both as violinist and as a counter tenor.
Sinkovsky is an very charismatic figure. Dressed in black he had his hair long and channelled his inner Paganini (or some other Romantic performer/composer perhaps) playing intently, cradling his violin intimately and swaying with the music. When singing he was proud, passionate and fiery. He played a rare and precious Francesco Ruggeri violin made in Cremona in 1675.
The concert began with Aubert’s bright, flowing Ciaconna from his Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3 featuring energetic swirling strings. Dyer, as always, conducted enthusiastically from the keyboard. The Orchestra throughout breathed and played as one with glorious ensemble playing.
Then came Telemann’s fiendishly difficult Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel” featuring the extraordinary Sinkovsky The first movement was pulsating with powerful undercurrents , the second had a most emphatic beginning and circular rhythms which Sinkovsky took and embroidered. The third movement, by contrast , was far more lyrical and softer, with Sinkovsky tender yet dazzling in his playing. The fourth movement saw Sinkovsky in a blisteringly fast mini solo, the melody stated and passed around the Orchestra, Sinkovsky embellishing again in commanding Il Divo mode on his violin.
Vivaldi’s Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538 was next, rich and vibrant at a galloping pace featuring Darryl Poulsen and Doree Dixonon Baroque horn. This was a rich and vibrant performance. In the first movement the horns stated the melody and led the Orchestra and the third movement was a fast showy duet for horns and orchestra, both movements animated allegros and with featured use of ritornellos. The middle, second movement however was a lyrical, eloquent passage for the cello and double basses.
Leclair’s Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2, full of elegant playing, featured a soft, hushed opening, Sinkovsky eventually leading shimmering violins. In the first movement Sinkovsky had a darting very fast mini solo whilst the second movement was fluid with pulsating undercurrents, Sinkovsky was dazzling in his warm, rich bravura solo comprising full of leaps and difficult arpeggios. The final movement saw Sinkovsky very intense, yet lyrical with his glittering playing leading to an exuberant conclusion.
After interval the Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”, in some ways an instrumental opera, based on the Greek legend of Cretan princess Araidne, was off to a slow, poignant beginning which then turned suddenly blisteringly fast.
The Orchestra was brisk and emphatic, rather stately and eloquent in a thoughtful discussion with Sinkovsky, who charmed us with his warm, lustrously textured playing, In the second movement, the orchestra played p its lament and there was a sudden change to brisk scurrying while the third movement featured Sinkovsky’s shimmering playing.
Then came Locatelli’s Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5 with its cascading, rolling strings and bright, swirling circular rhythms. Paul Dyer enthusiastically led on harpsichord.
The last work, officially, on the program was Vivaldi’s complex Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito” with emphatic, dynamic strings and Sinkovsky’s extraordinary dazzling, soaring playing full of delicacy and simplicity. The second movement began slowly and softly, developing a floating, dreamlike atmosphere and Sinkovsky’s playing was poignant and extremely eloquent. The third final movement saw a forceful start by the Orchestra and Sinkovsky had a very fast showy solo, swooping and soaring on his violin, as part of a dynamic dialogue with the Orchestra.
After thunderous , prolonged applause the first encore was Locatelli’s Capriccio from his Concerto in D Major (Op. 3, No. 1) with Sinkovsky blistering on his skittering violin.
in a delightful , surprising move, the second encore was Handel’s Dove sei from Rodelinda (HWV 19) with Sinkovsky leaving the violin behind, and performing as counter tenor. This piece was fluid and passionately dramatic.
The final encore was Handel ‘s Va tacito e nascosto from his Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) – the Hunting Aria – where Sinkovsky was explosively powerful and there was a teasing, dynamic ‘anything you can do I can do better’ duet with Darryl Poulsen on horn. The concert ended with tumultuous applause and a standing ovation.
Running time just under 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval.
DMITRY SINKOVSKY: THE SINGING VIOLIN is playing the City Recital Hall until Friday 4th August. The concert then moves to Melbourne and Brisbane
Aubert Ciaconna from Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3
Telemann Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel”
Vivaldi Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538
Leclair Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2 Interval
Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”
Locatelli Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5
Vivaldi Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito”
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.
The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.
The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.
Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids.Continue reading SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL→
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