|Written by C.C. Williamson|
|Sunday, 09 September 2012 18:17|
The choir was mounted on rostra behind the orchestra, faces barely distinguishable, and looked strained and sterile, squashed as they were into a program that felt uptight and imbalanced. The orchestra, however dexterous and rich, drowned the voices with most of the lower registers. The singers seemed to be doing their best to fight against the volume, performing to the best of their ability. It is a difficult balance between articulate tone, timbre, and texture, but a striking of balance is expected on an evening such as this.
Porgy and Bess, the pairing to the Verdi Celebration, was a welcomed shift in energy and style. A few simply stunning moments of complete musical embodiment, characterisation, fun and frivolity illuminated the hall. The Capetown Opera’s Porgy and Bess has toured extensively, and it showed. The choir, animated and joyous, expressed the harmony and discord of the world Gershwin created. A large backdrop with the faces of slavery, isolation, freedom and ruin hung behind the choir, framing the feeling of the world of the characters, present in voice, still wearing suits and gowns, though fewer jewels and more heart and soul.
From Summertime to Lawd, I’m On My Way, I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin, the whole stage buzzed as the theatrics came thick and fast, leaving a feeling of excitement and revelry for hours after. In afterthought, the expectation that led to my lack of enjoyment of the first half of the performance was due to my desire for richness and soul from the South African choir and cast. It is with this understanding that this reviewer is in turmoil over stylistic choice and the contrasts and conflicts they can present.
Orchestra Victoria presents
With the Voice of a Nation Choir
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