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KZNPO CONCERT: MARCH 25 (article first published : 2004-03-27)

I am not normally enthusiastic about a pot-pourri of operatic favourites, but this concert of the KZN Philharmonic, featuring four singers from the Norwegian Opera, was something else. The soloists and the Norwegian conductor, Terje Boye Hansen, made this a memorable evening for the big audience, who included many faces not often seen at the Thursday night concerts (and some Norwegians).

The programme of 16 items, all of them familiar works, encompassed Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Massenet, Delibes, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Bellini and Bernstein. The well-trained Durban Serenade Choral Society choir contributed substantially to the enjoyment of the evening, but it was the four soloists who captured the eye and the ear throughout. These are opera singers, not recitalists, and their acting added an extra dimension to their singing.

It is difficult to single out any one item in such a parade of excellence, but my vote would go to mezzo soprano Ingebjorg Kosmo for her performance of the Habanera from Bizetís Carmen, complete with a sway of the hips and a wiggle of the fuller figure. Her vocal and physical panache was captivating.

In contrast, Ragnhild Heiland Sorenson was a more serious kind of soprano, a Wagnerian singer who showed in an excerpt from Tannhauser a true and accurate tone and expressive phrasing.

The two sopranos joined voices in two duets, one from Belliniís Norma and the other from Delibesís Lakme, the latter another high point of the evening.

Ole Jorgen Kristiansen displayed a powerful, full-bodied baritone in the Toreadorís song from Carmen and the prologue and aria from Leoncavalloís Pagliacci, and Henrik Engelsviken, who had apparently not been feeling well, scored a big success late in the programme with his ringing tenor voice. - Michael Green




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