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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.
The Manawatu Sinfonia is preparing for a Speirs Centre concert.