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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


(Nozuko Teto)

No need of tinsel or glitter to add sparkle to this occasion. (Review by Keith Millar)

Now, that’s how to celebrate the festive season. A concert of uplifting music performed with consummate skill in the tranquil setting of the Marianhill Church of the Monastery. There was no need of tinsel or glitter to add sparkle to this occasion.

The undoubted star of the Baroque 2000 programme was the impressive soprano Nozuko Teto. Born in the Eastern Cape, Teto studied music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Cape Town. In 2011, she moved to Italy to perfect her performance skills and has since then developed a considerable international reputation as an opera singer.

Teto has a gorgeous voice. It is powerful and pure and has an almost bell-like quality. She sings with apparent effortless ease, and with perfect articulation. This speaks not only of her considerable talent, but also of many, many hours of practice. The power she generates from her petite frame is quite remarkable.

Her contribution to the concert was three arias from George Fredric Handel. The first two, I Know My Redeemer Liveth and He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd from Messiah were sung with exquisite beauty. However Teto saved her best for last with a breathtaking rendition of the popular aria Let the bright Seraphim from the opera Samson. It was a stunning performance which led to an extended and much deserved ovation.

The programme also included a veritable feast of other baroque gems from Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli, Giovanni Henrico Albicastro and Arcangelo Corelli, which kept the audience thoroughly entertained.

Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso Concha in B Major RV 163 was particularly pleasant. It is a short piece which is lively and turbulent. The “Concha” refers to the conch shell which was used by sailors as a foghorn and, supposedly, to ward off impending storms. The sound of the conch shells along with that of a the storm are clearly heard in within concerto.

Also of note was Corelli’s well-known Christmas Concerto – Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 8 in G Minor (Fatto per la Notto di Natale). The concerto has six short movements and these alternate in tempo and mood between lively and slow. The final movement is a serene Pastorale which suggests the nativity scene.

The other two works on the programme were the Concerto a Quattro in forma di Pastorale, per il Santo Natale by Torelli and IL giardino armonico sacro-profano - Concert Grosso Op. 3 No. 12 by Albicastro. Both offered glorious and triumphant Christmas music.

The Baroque 2000 ensemble, led by concertmaster Ralitza Matcheva, were in fine form and played with effervesce and finesse. Their performance was the epitome of the joy and celebration one associates with this time of year.

This fine concert brought down the curtain on this year’s Baroque 2000 concert series. I, for one, can’t wait for their return in March 2015. - Keith Millar