The Latin Fiesta was a variety show of music and dancing – complete with special guests, soloists, and of course, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra – all held together by the consummate entertainer James Morrison.
The night opened with a piece conducted by Sarah-Grace Williams, who also opened after the interval with a Miller’s Dance from the Three Cornered Hat and Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo. She was remarkably young for someone with such an impressive resume, including holding the posts of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and Strathfield Symphony Orchestra and lecturing at the Australian Institute of Music.
The other conductor, Sean O’Boyle, was also fantastic to watch – he had three t-shirt changes during the show which I assume were due to his constant movement to the Latin rhythm as he kept the symphony in time.
James Morrison started his set with the trumpet (he plays seven instruments) and if anyone deserved to blow their own trumpet it was him – he is impossibly talented and made intricate trumpet solos seem effortless. Adam Lopez also sashayed onto the stage twice during the night and was thoroughly engaging. Reading the program before the show, I discovered that Lopez holds the Guinness Book of World Record for hitting the highest note as a male singer. So I was ready for his talent but it still knocked my socks off. He was warm, confident and well-practised in hip gyrations. One or two of the songs made me cringe a little at their lyrical cheesiness and Mariah Carey moments but in the context of a Latin Fiesta this was absolutely excusable.
Tango dancers Dania Percy and Barry Arnold provided another point of interest during the night, dancing through a few numbers. Latin dancing is always a pleasure to watch although I found myself wishing they could break free from their stiff constraints and do some leaping – perhaps the influence of So You Think You Can Dance.
My highlight was watching Morrison play an incredible solo on the trumpet while continuing to play the piano with his left hand. In between songs, he both educated and amused the audience, explaining how different instruments worked and cracking jokes about O’Boyle’s costume changes.
All in all, it was a great night out and we left feeling thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
James Morrison Latin Fiesta
Venue: Perth Concert Hall
Date/Time: 7.30pm, Friday 13 & Saturday 14 November
Tickets: $70.00 - $85.00
Bookings: WASO on 9326 0000 or www.waso.com.au or www.bocsticketing.com.au 9484 1133