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KZNPO WORLD SYMPHONY SERIES (article first published : 2005-05-16)

Following the success of the World Symphony Series (WSS) Summer Season, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra has announced their programme for the Winter Season. It is once again filled to the brim with an impressive line-up of front-ranking artists from the international circuit, as well as a sprinkling of South Africa’s finest musicians.

KZNPO Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Bongani Tembe said, “We always love the challenge of putting together an exciting season for our audiences, which will stretch their minds and soothe their souls. We have taken note of comments and feedback from our patrons and will continue to feature works by popular master composers Beethoven, Brahms, Verdi, Elgar and Tchaikovsky, among others. So it is a time of exploration, with a season which definitely caters to all tastes. We hope that you will sit back and enjoy our gift of musical excellence”.

The season begins on May 19 under the baton of popular Dutch conductor, Arjan Tien. Joining him on stage for the first time is gifted South African musician, Marc Uys, who performs Glazunov’s finely crafted Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky's perennially popular Capriccio Italien sets the tone for the evening whilst excerpts from Prokofiev’s evocative musical illustration of the lyrical beauty and tragic power of Romeo and Juliet, will bring the concert to a glorious conclusion.

The following Thursday, May 26, sees talented Swiss conductor Baldur Bronnimann debut with the KZNPO along with American musician Spencer Myer. Noted as one of the most promising pianists of his generation, Myer performs Brahms’s masterly First Piano Concerto. Myer was the winner of the prestigious 2004 UNISA International Piano Competition. In the second half, Nielsen’s Inextinguishable symphony is featured. In the midst of a mid-life crisis, the composer sought to make sense of the war and destruction around him by paying homage to the indestructible force that is the “elemental will of life”, something he felt only music had the power to express in full.

On June 2, Beethoven’s musical genius provides a fitting platform for the return of two accomplished artists: prominent Chinese conductor En Shao, a long-standing favourite with Durban audiences, and Israel-born Dror Biran who has enjoyed several successful tours of South Africa. Musik zu einem Ritterballet is the opening work, followed by Biran playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat major. The final work in this all-Beethoven programme is the Fourth Symphony, replete with musical jokes, and which will provide a whimsical conclusion to the evening.

A highlight of the WSS Winter Season is the concert on June 9 which will satiate the appetite of opera lovers with excerpts from treasured Italian masterpieces. The programme includes works from: Pucinni’s Madame Butterfly and Tosca; Verdi’s Otello, Nabucco, Rigoletto, La Forza del Destino, Un Ballo in Maschera, I Vespri Siciliani and Luisa Miller; Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Giordano’s Andrea Chenier. The four accomplished Italian performers - conductor Armando Tasso, Daniela Longhi (soprano) Cesare Catani (tenor) and Fabio Previati (baritone) - are sponsored by Arena di Verona, the largest operatic theatre in the world, in association with the Italian Institute of Culture, Pretoria, and the Italian Consulate, Durban. Also on stage at this glittering event will be talented South African baritone, Nicholas Ndadane.

Even though June 16 is a public holiday and - for those seasoned concertgoers who are not running in the Comrades Marathon - the good news is that the sounds of the KZN Philharmonic will ring out at the City Hall as usual. En Shao returns to the rostrum for his final concert of the season. He will be joined by Polish violinist Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, who debuts centre stage with the KZNPO to present his interpretation of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto. In turns both bracing and poignant, it abounds with vitality and tenderness. Two works by Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin: Polonaise and Symphony No.2 “Little Russian”,complete the music of this holiday evening.

Entitled Spanish Moods, the concert on June 23 will have audiences playing castanets, tapping their feet and shouting ‘Olé’! It opens with Chabrier’s España and concludes with Bizet-Schedrin’s Carmen Suite. Sergey Ostrovsky completes the bill performing Lalo’s rhythmic concerto Symphonie Espagnol, with its haunting gypsy-flavoured melodies. He makes a welcome return to the Durban stage. Apart from being a skilled soloist, Sergey is also a founding member of the well-known Aviv String Quartet. The concert will be under the direction of the KZNPO’s own Naum Rousine.

The curtain comes down on the WSS Winter Season on June 30 in a festive flourish when the Norwegian National Opera’s acclaimed concert master, Ole Böhn, debuts with the KZNPO. He has been lauded for playing “with intrepid power … and sensuous detail” and will perform Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. This final concert opens with The Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz and concludes with the majestic sounds of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. On the podium is respected British conductor Nicholas Cleobury.

By subscribing now, patrons can save up to 20% on single ticket prices when booking for four or more concerts. Single tickets are also available at any Computicket outlet.

Contact the KZNPO Subscription/Sales Office on 031 369 9404/369 9477, fax 031 369 9403 or email: bookings@kznpo.co.za To go to the KZNPO’s website click on the banner ad on the main pages or visit www.kznpo.co.za




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