Good strong voi­ces fill the t­he­a­t­re with mu­sic from the o­pe­ra

George Herald - - Arts & Entertainment -

On Sun­day af­ter­noon three out­stan­ding voi­ces with one su­perb pi­a­nist from the UCT O­pe­ra S­chool en­ter­tai­ned a smal­lish but very ent­hu­si­as­tic au­dien­ce in the Oak­hurst In­su­ran­ce Ge­or­ge Arts T­he­a­t­re. Broug­ht to Ge­or­ge by our Mu­sic So­cie­ty and spon­so­red by the Ru­pert Foun­da­ti­on, the­se four ta­len­ted mu­si­ci­ans fil­led the t­he­a­t­re with sound - wit­hout the use of mi­crop­ho­nes so be­lo­ved by pop sin­gers.

The c­hal­len­ge of brin­ging o­pe­ra to the mas­ses in con­cert form is for the sin­gers to get in­to "cha­rac­ter" wit­hout the be­ne­fit of cos­tu­mes, sce­ne­ry and sur­roun­ding plot. T­his the sin­gers ma­na­ged to do most con­vin­cingly.

The pi­a­no transcrip­ti­ons of or­ches­tral sco­res are in­tri­ca­te and re­qui­re nim­ble fin­ge­ring and big chords. The pi­a­nist, Li­sa En­gel­brecht, is the he­ad vo­cal co­ach of the o­pe­ra s­chool and, al­ong with the va­ri­ous ot­her hats she we­ars, is an ex­cel­lent and sup­por­ti­ve ac­com­pa­nist.

The first half of the pro­gram­me was ma­de up of works by Mo­zart, Do­ni­zet­ti and a Ros­si­ni a­ria.

My on­ly cri­ti­cism is that the­se works we­re all too si­mi­lar. Both Ané P­re­to­ri­us and B­rit­ta­ny S­mith ha­ve good strong voi­ces with con­trol­led top no­tes and the skill to per­form the vo­cal gym­nas­ti­cs re­qui­red by the­se com­po­sers.

Lu­vu­yo M­bun­du has a s­lig­ht fra­me from which is­su­es a big ba­ri­to­ne voi­ce. Du­ring the con­cert he cap­tu­red the cha­rac­ters of Fi­ga­ro, Ma­le­tes­ta and Faust most con­vin­cingly.

The se­cond half con­tai­ned se­lecti­ons from Gou­nod, Puc­ci­ni, De­li­bes and Ver­di. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly me­mo­ra­ble was the very po­pu­lar Flo­wer Du­et from Lak­me, sung beau­ti­ful­ly by both so­pra­nos with no his­tri­o­ni­cs. The con­cert en­ded with En­ri­co Mor­ri­co­ne's Nel­la Fan­ta­sia sung by all three sin­gers and e­ar­ning rap­tu­rous ap­plau­se.

As an en­co­re, we we­re tre­a­ted to Gershwin's Sum­mer­ti­me from his o­pe­ra Por­gy and Bess.

T­his was ex­qui­si­te­ly sung by B­rit­ta­ny S­mith with gent­le har­mo­ni­sed hum­ming from her col­le­a­gues.

Ob­vi­ous­ly o­pe­ra is a­li­ve and well at the U­ni­ver­si­ty of Ca­pe To­wn. We look for­ward to a­not­her vi­sit from the­se ta­len­ted young mu­si­ci­ans and wish them well in their fu­tu­re careers. - Sue Ri­js­di­jk

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