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Friday, August 28, 2015


Coming up in the Mondays @ Six programme at St Clements in Musgrave Road on August 31 will be From La Boheme To Bayreuth – A Magical Operatic Journey presented by Judge Chris Nicholson

Judge Nicholson explains the inspiration for this presentation:

“On a chilly morning in June 1970, a beautiful fellow advocate Karen Blum, showed me a music shop in Windhoek, where a sale was in progress. Knowing my love of classical music she invited me to buy a two-record set of La Boheme by Puccini, sung by Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi. I told her that I could not stand all that screaming and politely declined. She insisted and I relented. It was modestly priced at R4 and I took it home, with great scepticism. I played the records a few times and then one evening, a miracle occurred. I was lying in the bath after an exhausting game of squash, wallowing in the warmth of the soap suds. The orchestra was hushed and Carlo Bergonzi began to sing…

Che gelida manu – your tiny hand is frozen - the great aria in act 1 of that wonderful work, entered my soul and changed my life.

Oh, those glorious melodies! That follow you around all day like the taste of kippers, but so much greater! I became an avid listener, a devotee and finally a worshipping disciple of the magical world of opera. After La Boheme, I moved on to the awesome Madam Butterfly and the rest of Puccini. Verdi, Mozart and the other masters of the craft joined my pantheon of gods on Mount Olympus. Bizet’s Carmen can never be forgotten and the marvellous world of Richard Strauss and his predecessors on the continent. I was always told that one day I would be mature enough to listen to Richard Wagner. So with long hours and hard work, I found the pinnacle of all opera in the master of Bayreuth, the town where he established his music festival. His towering masterpieces, culminating in the Ring of the Nibelung, are said to equal the Sistine Chapel ceiling as the finest artistic achievements in the Western world.”

Judge Nicholson offers to take opera lovers on a short journey to the magical kingdom of opera, with musical illustrations. For table bookings phone St Clements on 031 202 2511.