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Sunday, March 26, 2023


The concerts have been well-attended this season, and Durban concert goers can look forward to the next season which runs from June 8 to 29, 2023. (Review by Barbara Trofimczyk)


Beethoven: Fidelio Overture; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 6 and Warren Bessey:  Inkosi uShaka

Conductor - Daniel Boico with piano soloist - Luis Magalhães


Thursday's Symphony Concert, the fourth and final of the Summer Series which took place in the Playhouse Opera on March 23, was certainly one to remember for its imaginative programme which included the premiere performance of Warren Bessey's iNkosi u Shaka.

Apart from some mild precision problems in the horns and woodwinds in the opening few bars, Fidelio provided an appropriate short introduction to the interesting numbers that followed.

Rearranging compositions for an alternative method of performance is not that uncommon, but is not usual with standard concert repertoire such as Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Violin virtuosity does not always translate into piano virtuosity; melodic textures often need to be adjusted and decorated. This was superbly achieved in the spirited Finale enabling the soloist to be assertive in true piano concerto style. It was however, less so in the first two movements even though beautifully played by Luis Magalhães. A faster tempo in the first movement would have made a difference, and the lengthy virtuoso cadenza would not then have seemed so out of place!

Wonderful, sensitive artistry, and technical control were superbly evident in the Encore!

The main event of the evening was the premiere performance of Warren Bessey's monumental work, iNkosi uShaka, for vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra, and narrator, centering on the iconic Zulu Warrior-King Shaka and other associated historic figures. It is indeed conceived on a grand scale, and, unquestionably, the best artists were engaged for this special occasion.

The music is passionately African; storytelling in song, and the whole performance was well-prepared and professionally presented. The KZNPO, much augmented and complete with extra percussionists, was consistently powerful, sometimes quite overpowering, although it must be said that one's overall impression of the sound can depend on where one sits in the auditorium!

The Playhouse Opera Theatre would do well to seek a solution to this problem for occasions like this one.

The concerts have been well-attended this season, and Durban concert-goers can look forward to the next season which runs from June 8 to 29. - Barbara Trofimczyk

To link to the KZNPO website, click on the orchestra’s advert at the top right-hand of this page.