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KZNPO OPENS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2002-06-9)

The Monument in Grahamstown will resound to the passionate sounds of Tchaikovsky’s music from the KZN Philharmonic over the opening weekend of the 2002 National Arts Festival. The Orchestra will be in residence for five days of the festival which runs from June 29 to July 6.

The great Russian composer endured many an emotional storm and his music speaks straight to the heart with accessible, stirring moments of elation and pain. His private life will come under the spotlight in words, song and music performed by operatic duo Linda Bukhosini (soprano) and Bongani Thembe (tenor), pianist Christopher Duigan and the KZNPO in the Festival opening concert on June 28.

The acclaimed Russian pianist Olga Kern will play her countryman's Piano Concerto No 1 in B Flat Minor in the KZNPO’s symphony concert on June 30 under the baton of charismatic Dutch conductor Arjan Tien. Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture is also part of the programme which is completed by Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 and César Franck's Symphony in D Minor.

Friday night's innovative concert, To my Invisible Good Fairy, was conceived by Tanya Rousine with music selected by Naum Rousine to highlight the range of Tchaikovsky's work and features passages from many of his most evocative vocal, piano and orchestral compositions. The "good fairy" of the title is the composer's benefactress, Madame Nadezhda von Meck. In the course of 13 years, they exchanged more than a thousand letters. To him she meant financial security and the most intimate friendship he would ever know. She loved him deeply but they never met, as she was afraid to break their spiritual bond.

During the concert, singing and music is interspersed with passages from the letters read by Vita Award winning actors Brenda Radloff and David Dennis.

Singers Linda Bukhosini and Bongani Thembe are both graduates of New York's Juilliard School and have performed in the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, Alice Tully Hall in New York City, the National Theatre in Brazilia and Dewan Philharmonic Petronas in Kuala Lumpur. They have sung for President Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip.

Conducted by Naum Rousine the KZNPO will accompany the Cape Town City Ballet's production of Coppélia on June 29.

The orchestra's residency, the first of this kind at the Festival, will be completed with two free "Meet the Orchestra" sessions in the Grahamstown City Hall at 11h00 on July 1 and 2.

The KZNPO has a dynamic approach to its responsibilities in Education and Development and has established one of South Africa's most vibrant community-focused programmes. During the two free morning sessions for festinos, musicians will introduce traditional Western and African instruments, play illustrative pieces and chat to audience members.

The National Arts Festival is proudly sponsored by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank and the National Arts Council, with support from Shamwari Game Reserve.

For more information on the National Arts Festival programme, visit www.nafest.co.za or get extra info on www.myzone.co.za. Booking is open at Computicket.




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