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The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JEFF MCNEILL

The Manawatu Sin­fo­nia presents ‘‘French Im­pres­sions’’, a Sun­day af­ter­noon con­cert of French flavoured clas­sics in the Palmer­ston North Boys’ High Speirs Cen­tre.

In praise of the north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer, the Manawatu Sin­fo­nia presents a be­guil­ing con­cert of sum­mery French mu­sic on Sun­day.

Its French Im­pres­sions con­cert in­cludes pop­u­lar Dutch mezzo-so­prano Maaike Christie-Beek­man. Au­di­ences will re­mem­ber her com­pelling per­for­mance of El­gar’s Sea Pic­tures and Christie-Beek­man prom­ises a sim­i­larly mem­o­rable per­for­mance when she re­turns to sing Ber­lioz’s song cy­cle Les Nuits d’e´te´ ( Sum­mer Nights).

The for­mer opera-singer be­gan as a jazz-singer, be­fore study­ing clas­si­cal singing at the Am­s­ter­dam Con­ser­va­tory. She per­formed in many opera pro­duc­tions in the Nether­lands be­fore em­i­grat­ing to New Zealand with her Kiwi hus­band.

Sum­mer Nights is one of Ber­lioz’s best-loved works, ex­plor­ing the progress of love – from youth­ful in­no­cence to loss and re­newal.

‘‘It is ac­tu­ally very pro­found, but in such a sim­ple and de­light­ful way,’’ Christie-Beekem said. ‘‘It is one of my favourite works and I am look­ing for­ward to singing it again with the Sin­fo­nia.’’

Un­der the ba­ton of for­mer lo­cal pi­anist and now Welling­ton-based con­duc­tor An­drew Atkins, the Sin­fo­nia will also per­form the well-known Faure´’s Pa­vane and Ravel’s Pa­vane for a Dead Princess. Atkins said both were re­flec­tive works. ‘‘They tug at our heart-strings, but their wist­ful­ness is never over­done and we feel re­freshed af­ter hear­ing them.’’

The con­cert fin­ishes with Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite. With move­ments called Tom Thumb, Beauty and the Beast and The Fairy Gar­den, it’s a piece au­di­ences of all ages would find im­me­di­ately ap­peal­ing.

‘‘But, it, too, has a deeper, wist­ful char­ac­ter. Ravel is re­ally re­mind­ing adults of their al­most for­got­ten child­hoods. It is ac­tu­ally a very mov­ing piece and one I es­pe­cially en­joy con­duct­ing,’’ Atkins said.

Sun­day’s 2.30pm con­cert is in the Boys’ High Spiers Cen­tre. Tick­ets are $20, $15 for un­waged and $5 for stu­dents.

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PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Manawatu Sin­fo­nia is pre­par­ing for a Speirs Cen­tre con­cert.

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