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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

A Brave New World

Apr 12, 2011 7:19:00 AM
By BLO Staff

On Thursday April 7, 2011, I was lucky enough to score tickets to
a Brett Dean concert with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.  The program consisted of Johannes Brahms Tragic Overture, op. 81; Dean’s The Lost Art of Letter Writing; and Ross
Harris’ Symphony No. 4.  The concerts are
held at Auckland’s Town Hall, in an auditorium modeled after the old Leipzig
Gewandhaus (it is remarkable to see, since Symphony Hall was modeled after the
old Gewandhaus as well).  Unfortunately,
the Gewandhaus was destroyed in World War II.
Photography was not allowed, so I’ll just have to link to a photo.  The hall itself was recently renovated, so it
is a nice enough space to hear a concert. 
Tickets are much more expensive than back in Boston (a student rush
ticket is NZ$15.00, which is US$11.75). 
Although, expensive, I was able to sit right above the horns, which was
a great experience, especially for the Harris. 
The Auckland Philharmonia is a great orchestra and I is a rewarding
experience to go to their concerts. 
The Brahms was nicely paced and atmospheric.  It felt weighty enough for my tastes, even if
the orchestra was too small (only five basses!?!)  The balance was correct, which is all that
matters.  The Dean was a nice violin
concerto (with a blue-haired Kristian Winther). 
It is the only time I have ever seen a soloist come out on stage with
noticeably color-dyed hair.  The piece
itself was certainly interesting and the soloist was amazing.
The Harris was obviously a labor of love for the composer.  He is one of New Zealand’s most well-known
composers, and people seem to really enjoy his work.  In fact, this concert was recorded to be
released at a later date.  The
composition was dedicated to Mahinarangi Tocker, a singer, composer, and poet
who died three years ago.  Each of the
pieces five sections is linked by a “bell toll.”  It has some great brass and string
writing.  But, one has to wonder, if all
the percussion noise was really necessary. 
Is that what compositions must have, lots of senseless noise?  I hope not. 
Melody is still quite important. 
The brain, in fact, is able to link and follow melody quite easily. 
All in all, this was a concert worth going to.  I have even just become  a student subscriber to the APO, so it will
be nice to finally hear all the concerts. 
Up next week, a concert called Organ and Orchestra.  It will be fun to finally hear the organ
play!
Rob Tedesco

University of
Auckland, New Zealand 

Topics: Student Posts, General Opera

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