The year is just racing away – especially now that Mad March is upon us – and the ASO is off to a flying start.
First up was Inspired by the Sea, the alfresco concert at Mt Lofty Botanic Garden on Saturday 28 January. After a superb first half, the heavens opened, but the audience stayed on until safety issues dictated an early end to the concert. Says a lot about both the quality of the ASO and the stoicism of the Orchestra’s supporters…
While there was no chance of the Season Opening Concert being rained off in the Town Hall on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 February, the rain certainly did its best to make its presence known on the Saturday night. Nowhere near enough to spoil a great start to the Town Hall concerts, though. After the majestic opening of Wagner’s Meistersinger Overture (which always leaves me wanting to hear the hymn that follows), Natsuko was in fine form with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto; then after the interval came Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique – a piece that I enjoy listening to well enough in broadcasts or recordings, but which has so much more to offer in live performance. I always love the off-key bells in the final movement’s Dies Irae motif, and it was quite something to watch the augmented tympani in the penultimate movement.
The following week brought The King’s Singers, a highly polished performance by a seasoned and versatile group, and the week after that For the Love of Scotland, replacing the cancelled Symphony at the Movies with Michael Parkinson. February was then rounded off with Symphony Under the Stars in Elder Park, which went ahead despite the heat and offered the thousands in Elder Park a free treat of popular classics.
And then it was March, and the Orchestra and Adelaide Festival Chorus, under the baton of Italian composer of movie and classical music Maestro Ennio Morricone, competed with (and ultimately prevailed over) the cars of the Clipsal twilight race and the somewhat noisy disposal of bottles during the encores, on the opening night of this year’s Adelaide International Arts Festival.
Still to come this month are Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, the residency at Goolwa and then, on the final weekend of the month, Master Series 1 (Nielsen’s Helios, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 and Beethoven’s Eroica) at the Town Hall.
And that’s only the first quarter of the year…