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Saturday, February 25, 2012


(Sivan Rotem)

Sizeable audience enjoys memorable performance from KZNPO and soloist. (Review by Michael Green)

A programme of Beethoven, Mozart and Rossini drew a sizeable audience to the Durban City Hall for the second concert of the summer season of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

The admirable Omri Hadari was again on the podium, and again he drew full value from the orchestra in a concert of outstanding music. He is a vigorous, emotional type of conductor, and he obviously has a close rapport with the players. This was abundantly clear in the first item, Rossini’s Semiramide Overture, performed with obvious enjoyment by conductor and players.

The soloist of the evening was Sivan Rotem, a soprano from Israel, a tall, stately figure with an accurate, controlled voice well suited to the Mozart songs she performed. These were arias from The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan tutte, and, best of all, the motet Exsultate, jubilate. Orchestra and soloist excelled in this sublime religious music. Prolonged applause brought forth an encore, a robust Spanish-Hebrew song, attractive but ill-matched, I thought, with the exquisite sounds that had preceded it.

After the interval came one of the great masterpieces, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major. Which of Beethoven’s nine symphonies is the best? The one you are listening to at that moment, I suggest. Most people would probably put No. 7 among the top three or four. Its relentless, driving rhythms carry the hearer along in an almost hypnotised state, especially in the haunting second movement.

The orchestra responded to this magnificent music with a memorable performance that was acknowledged with an ovation at the end. Compact discs, television and radio may be excellent, but this concert was proof again that there is no real substitute for a live performance. - Michael Green