Review / Soloists shine in CSO’s gala concert

Music / “Love and Lust”. The Canberra Symphony Orchestra Opera Gala, conducted by Simon Kenway. At Llewellyn Hall, June 9. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

PRESENTING a memorable evening of fine music and song, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Opera Gala showcased five young soloists and the ensemble of Pacific Opera, conducted by their artistic director, Simon Kenway.

Pacific Opera supports young singers through a program of education comprising artistic training, performance opportunities, and professional skills development. Through this work, Pacific Opera cultivates the next generation of Australian talent.

The concert, titled “Love and Lust” included romantic arias by Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Delibes, Cilea and both Johann and Richard Strauss. The soloists all displayed impressive voices and technique as well as thoughtful and believable presentation.

Ayako Ohtake’s beautifully clear soprano voice was particularly impressive with “Caro nome” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto”. Tenor Caleb Son gave a heartfelt and nicely controlled performance of Puccini’s “E lucevan le stelle” from “Tosca”.

Soprano Laura Scandizzo thrilled the audience with her soaring, dramatic performance of “Es gibt ein Reich” from “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss.

Banquo’s aria from Verdi’s Macbeth, “Come da ciel precipita”, was a fine showcase for Christopher Curcuruto’s rich and pleasing bass-baritone and acting ability. With her lovely soprano voice, Livia Brash, sang “Una voce poco” from Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” with confidence and a great sense of fun.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor, Simon Kenway, accompanied the singers extremely well. They opened the concert with an exquisite performance of Verdi’s “Prelude Act One” from “La Traviata” and gave a notably exciting and dramatic performance of ‘Polonaise’ from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the start of the second half.

Solo violinist Airena Nakamura gave a beautiful and moving performance of “Meditation” from Massenet’s “Thais”.

The Pacific Opera’s Ensemble of singers displayed their fine voices in their accompaniment to several of the arias and particularly in Johann Strauss’s “Champagne Trio” from “Die Fledermaus” and “Brindisi” from “La Traviata” that brought this delightful concert to a close.

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