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Friday, July 5, 2019


(Left: Lynelle Kenned)

Durban’s fabulous Baroque 2000 delighted its supporters with a concert which was a little bit different and included some very special treats. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Mariannhill Church of the Monastery was the place to be last Sunday afternoon (June 30, 2019) when Durban’s fabulous Baroque 2000 delighted its supporters with a concert which was a little bit different and included some very special treats.

To start with, it was the first time that the ensemble gave a Historically Informed Performance. This is an approach to the performance of classical music, which aims to be faithful to the technique, manner and style of the musical era in which a work was originally conceived.

To this end, the artists performed on period instruments which were stringed with gut (sourced from sheep) and tuned to a pitch of 415. The result is a much mellower sound without the sharp edge apparent from metal strings. The difference is particularly apparent when the strings are plucked.

Baroque 2000 claims to be only the second orchestra in South Africa to offer a Historically Informed Performance – and if this was the catalyst for their exquisite and joyful performance on Sunday, I say bravo to them and let’s have more.

The main treat on the day was the performance of the soloist, Cape Town soprano Lynelle Kenned.

Last seen in Durban a few years ago when she appeared in the role of Maria in the Playhouse’s production of The Sound Of Music, this young lady has made a name for herself as an actor, a musical theatre star, a TV presenter, and an all-round media personality.

It was, of course, as a soprano that she appeared at the Baroque 2000 concert and what a sublime and satisfying performance she delivered.

Kenned is a slight young lady but delivers plenty of power with her exquisitely nuanced and pure voice and she displays supreme poise and confidence on the stage.

From George Frideric Handel she sang the Aria Lascia chío pianga from the opera Rinaldo, Ritotna o caro from the opera Rodelinda, and the beautiful and difficult to sing Tornami from the opera Alcina. From Johan Sebastian Bach she sang Hochster from the cantata BWV51.

Lynelle Kenned’s was a performance to savour and remember for a long time.

The other special treat on the programme was the performance of the Sonata No.3 Op 1 by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

Bologne is a fascinating character. He was born to a wealthy plantation owner in the French colony of Guadeloupe and his wife’s 16 year old African slave. From these humble beginnings he rose to become a champion fencer, classical composer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. He is best remembered as the first classical composer of African ancestry and is sometimes referred to as “The Black Mozart”.

(Right: Refiloe Olifant)

The soloist for his Sonata No. 3 was the popular violinist Refiloe Olifant (known to her friends as Fifi). She has enjoyed spells with orchestras in Durban and Cape Town where she is currently based. So it was a pleasure to have her back in Durban to offer a robust performance of this work.

She enjoyed supportive and lively accompaniment from Cape Town’s Eric Dippenaar on the harpsichord.

Other works performed by the ensemble in this full and varied programme included the Overture from the opera Rinaldo by Handel, two pieces from the Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell, and two dances from Alcina by Handel.

All in all, it was another concert which offered a varied selection of music of high quality performed by the very accomplished Baroque 2000.

Baroque 2000’s next concert will be held in September - the exact date to be announced.

Tickets R150 at the door. Ample and safe parking available. The Monastery Tea Garden will be open for coffee/tea and light lunches.

For more information contact Michel Schneuwly on 031 312 5539 or 082 3035241. Alternatively mail him at – Keith Millar

Project sponsored by: Die Rupert Musiekstigting.