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SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS (article first published : 2007-06-1)

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra presents the ninth annual Starlight Pop Opera, which is generously sponsored by First National Bank, at the scenic Durban Country Club on June 3. These concerts have become one of the highlights on the South African arts and culture calendar and are a “must-see” event. The Starlight Pop Opera concert is back where it belongs in June having moved to August last year so as not to coincide with the telecasts of the soccer world cup, which was taking place in Germany.

“We are delighted to have put together once again a concert which is filled with magnificent music brought to you by an eclectic mix of performers in the company of the KZN Philharmonic - Africa’s premier orchestra. We salute First National Bank for their continued support and their belief that music, along with other art forms, is the soul and creativity of a nation. It is indeed gratifying to find a Blue Chip company willing to support the arts and other community related endeavours,“ said Bongani Tembe, the Orchestra’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director.

The impressive line-up for this year’s concert includes the acclaimed international composer, singer and now producer Lebo M who will present music from the Grammy award-winning musical The Lion King (due to open in Johannesburg on June 6), well-known South African jazz diva Gloria Bosman, Durban-born composer/singer Kreesan, velvet-voiced Tim Moloi and two accomplished opera singers; Cape Town-based soprano Marion Roberts and Germany-based tenor Musa Nkuna. The brilliant African-American conductor, Dr Leslie B Dunner, who thrilled audiences last year, will once again lead the concert from the podium.

Bobby Madhav, FNB Provincial Executive for KZN, said “At FNB we strongly believe in supporting music and the arts, as these expressive art forms give a voice to our collective consciousness, as a nation and as human beings”.

The concert promises to be an unforgettable evening, offering a fine selection of arias from well-loved operas, an attractive mix of light classics and highlights from popular musicals from the silver screen. The rousing sounds of the Carnival Overture by Dvořák opens the concert to be followed by Musa Nkuna’s rendition of the famous aria La donna é mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Marion Roberts’s performance of the stratospheric aria Queen of the Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. These two opera singers will also be starring, later this year, in the William Kentridge-inspired production of The Magic Flute in the roles of Tamino and Queen of the Night respectively.

The very popular singer Kreesan performs his own composition Bluesy in the Night with Tim Moloi then taking centre stage for his own rendition of The Way You Look Tonight. During this half, the KZNPO will contribute two orchestral excerpts – the exquisite Love Theme from the popular ballet Romeo and Juliette by Tchaikovsky and the evocative Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. One of jazz’s most lovely daughters, Gloria Bosman, will end the first half with the popular hit-song African Dream.

In the second half, the Orchestra will open with a selection from the hit musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Then Musa Nkuna and Marion Roberts perform a duet from the blockbuster show Phantom of the Opera also by Lloyd Webber. Jazz diva Gloria Bosman returns with her second number Window of Hope - the song which was made popular by Oleta Adams. After that, the Orchestra will take you into the world of espionage and the famous spy who is licensed to kill, with Themes from 007.

If you are a fan of Frank and Nancy Sinatra or more recently Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman from the sound track of the movie Moulin Rouge, you will not want to miss Marion Roberts and Kreesan’s interpretation of Somethin’ Stupid. After this, Tim Moloi will get feet tapping with a swing medley including such timeless numbers as Have you met Miss Jones, Come Fly with Me and Ain’t that a kick in the head.

The final two items of the evening will be rendered by the SAMA award-winning Lebo M who will perform - He Lives in You and The Circle of Life - from the hit musical The Lion King. After its sell-out 10 year season on Broadway, and after hugely successful runs in China, the USA, Britain, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany and Holland, the theatre production of The Lion King will be showing at the world class Teatro at Montecasino from June 2007. So, at last The Lion King is coming home and South Africans will be able to enjoy this dynamic production. Of particular interest to KwaZulu-Natal audiences is that KZNPO Chief Executive and Artistic Director Bongani Tembe has been appointed as associate producer. Another feather in the KZNPO cap is that popular resident conductor of the KZNPO, Lyk Temmingh, is on the podium for the entire run of the show at Montecasino.

The concert starts at 17h30 gates will be open at 15h00 and patrons are encouraged to arrive early to avoid the last-minute rush. So pack a picnic basket with delicious food and wine, bring fold-up chairs and treat your family and friends to an evening of beautiful music under the stars.

Booking by phone or online through Computicket on www.computicket.com or 011 340 8000 or 083 915 800. Tickets R95 (R50 children) will also be available at the gate on the day of the performance. First National Bank will donate a portion of every ticket sold to charity.

Free secure parking is available at the nearby ABSA Stadium. In the event of rain, the concert will take place at 18h00 on June 4.




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