“Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” written by Kurt Vonnegut, directed by Cate Clelland, Canberra REP at Theatre, until August 4. Reviewed BY LEN POWER
IT may sound finicky, but “CityNews” has been much intrigued by the media releases arriving regarding a major outdoor cultural event tomorrow evening in Queanbeyan.Depending on who is telling the story, it’s called either “Symphony on the River” or as the Canberra Symphony Orchestra has it, “Symphony by the River”.
Intrigued by the prospect of a huge pontoon floating out on the waters, “Citynews” swung by the recently-landscaped Queen Elizabeth II Park this morning, but could only find signs of a marquee going up near the amphitheatre style descent to the water. Then “CityNews” noticed that one of the releases says, “the orchestra will perform at the picturesque new stage next to Queanbeyan River.” Alas.
One thing is certain, however, this will be the orchestra’s first major performance in Queanbeyan, and they’re adopting a watery theme.
As the CSO relates, 1717, King George, I decided to hold a concert on the River Thames, and he asked his resident composer Handel to compose something for the occasion. Handel was greatly inspired by the idea of a concert on the river, and went on to create one of his most famous suites, “Water Pieces”. The King loved it so much that he made the musicians play it twice more, which pushed the concert in to the wee hours of the morning!
Now, they’re saying, precisely 300 years later, the Orchestra will play Handel’s masterpiece on the Queanbeyan River in a concert that will feature music inspired by water from Mozart, Strauss and the aforementioned George Frideric Handel.
Not surprisingly, local administrator Tim Overall says: “This is a real coup for the Queanbeyan-Palerang region and it is brilliant that we can make use of the new park for such a fantastic event.”
“The new stage and amphitheatre are perfect for relaxing by the river and enjoying the talents of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra,” he says.
CSO “Water” concert, Queen Elizabeth II Park Amphitheatre, Saturday, March 4, 7pm. Park opens at 5pm. Bookings for reserved seating to eventbrite.com.au or unreserved seating on the lawn.
Audience members are invited to bring a picnic (alcohol is permitted), or to purchase local gourmet street food, beer and wine.