Review – Saints and the Diva

Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre
27 October 2012
Conductor: Peter Adams
Guests: Anna Leese(soprano)

World-class acts merited ovation

Two world-class acts presenting a variety of world-class popular items were given a standing ovation by an enraptured full house at the King’s and Queen’s Performance Centre on Saturday night.

Admittedly, the night belonged to Leese’s magnificent voice showcased through such popular opera arias as Dvorak’s Rusalka’s Song to the Moon, Puccini’s Mio babbino caro and Gerswhin’s Summertime, Jenkins’ Benedictus from Armed Man Mass and other folk music from the perennial Londonderry Air and Whelan’s Riverdance.

Sadly, Leese’s performance of Benedictus seemed unrehearsed and her delivery of the lower notes in Londonderry Air lacked the power to reach over the St Kilda Brass Band. Otherwise her stage presentation couples a natural friendliness with her professional prowess.

The St Kilda Brass Band is equally A grade and seemed no to put a foot wrong throughout the evening. Their leader, Peter Adams, was resplendent in his Chinese jacket recently acquired as a result of their success at the Chinese competitions.

Their sound is professional, precise and warm and successfully achieved over a wide range of music. Shostakovich’s Festive Overture opened an evening of highly enjoyable music, immediately supported by Henry VIII’s Pastime in Good Company. Gershwin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz and I Got Rhythm lifted the tempo and had the audience rocking. The band’s presentation of Richard Phillips’ Joy, Peace and Happiness engaged the audience.

Errol Moore’s solo on euphonium of Bernstein’s Somewhere was underwhelming while Megan Gooding’s solo in Shine as the Lightendorsed the evening’s highlight. More soulful numbers included Oh Shenandoah and the Beatles’ Here, There and Everywhere.

The final number, Whelan’s Riverdance, had the audience stamping and cheering for more while the Irish Blessing sung by Leese sent the audience away happy. Nice!

Marian Poole

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (October 29, 2012)

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