national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, April 11, 2009


(Pic: A capacity audience enjoys “Last Night of the Proms”)

(Review by Estelle Sinkins, courtesy of The Witness)

Maritzburg music fans are in for some real treats this year, the first of which was the recent hugely successful Last Night of the Proms at the City Hall.

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), under the baton of maestro Naum Rousine, were in scintillating form and the audience had the rare pleasure of hearing a remarkable tenor sing live.

Stefan Louw is considered one of the country's best opera singers and having heard him perform La Donna e Mobile> from Rigoletto, Nessun Dorma from Turandot and Denza's Funiculi Funicula, I can't help agreeing with a Sunday Times reviewer who declared that his voice should be declared a national treasure.

Louw, whose powerful voice seemed to fill every inch of the City Hall, will be back in 'Maritzburg later this year to perform at the Concert in the Park.

Other highlights included Durban soprano, Lauren Dasappa’s rendition of the beautiful O Mio Babbino Caro from Gianna Schicci and Pietermaritzburg-born organist, Christopher Cockburn’s performance on the pipe organ in Saint-Saens' "Symphony No 3 ‘Organ Symphony’ (4th movement)". The sound of the organ was truly incredible and the performance a tour de force.

The massed choir, with singers from the Durban Symphonic Choir, the Maritzburg Singers, Maritzburg College and Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School, was also in fine voice, as were members of the audience who had a ball singing Rule Britannia!, Jerusalem and country songs from the UK.

The KZNPO will be back in the City on April 17 for "The Witness/Eastern Mosaic Indian Music Spectacular". Organiser of the event, Chris Hodgkins said: "Given the enormity of the Indian community in Pietermaritzburg, coupled to their historical significance to the City and the ongoing contribution of this community to the economic infrastructure, it is only right and fitting that the City Hall be used to host the inaugural Eastern Mosaic Concert.

"The concert will be a fulfilling experience not only for the Indian attendees but for attendees of all groups of the population and, an occasion to experience the vibrance and excitement of Indian music in the splendid surroundings of the City Hall."

On the night, the orchestra will be accompanied by Indian soloists and dancers. The first half will feature traditional Indian classical pieces, while the second half will have a more upbeat tempo featuring traditional North and South Indian dances and vibrant Bhangra dance. Tickets for the show range from R125 to R135.

Before that, residents can enjoy an evening of dinner and music at The Ultimate Supper Theatre in the Olympia Hall at the Royal Showgrounds on Friday, March 27 at 7.30pm. Platform Jazz and The Brass O's will perform songs like Quando Quando, Fly Me To The Moon, Sway and In The Mood and the three course meal will be provided by CHC Catering. Tickets cost R185.

Other events to look forward to include an Afrikaans music spectacular featuring The Campbells, Nadine, Freddie Nest and Vaughn Lee from on May 31. The Juanita du Plessis Show at Voortrekker Hoerskool on June 5 at 19h30. Concert In The Park on June 21 at the Botanical Gardens featuring the cast of the Nashville Show, the Pietermaritzburg Girls High Orchestra, the Caledonian Pipe Band, the full KZNPO and solo artists. The inaugural The Witness Pietermaritzburg Festival and Cultural Week from August 27 to September 5, which will include a jazz concert, opera and ballet, Indian Bhangra, a symphony concert, a mass choir concert, an Afrikaans show, an African extravaganza and a philharmonic rock show.

Then there’s Symphony in the City at the City Hall on October 2 Simply Frank – the Music of Sinatra at the Royal Show Grounds on November 20; and Christmas Crackers at the City Hall on December 4.

Those wishing to book for The Ultimate Supper Theatre or The Witness/Eastern Mosaic Indian Music Spectacular should contact Pearl on 033 342 4512 or visit the tourism office at Liberty Midlands Mall. - Estelle Sinkins