Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It had been a long time coming and took a small diversion from our main travel axis, but seduced by a thrilling Ring Cycle last year, and besotted with Adam Fischer and his orchestra, we went back to Budapest for a first live Parsifal. Not that Budapest doesn't have other attractions.

The Palace of Arts (there is a click-for-English top right) is now 4 years old. It was built down the river on an old industrial site, is a bit more photogenic inside than out, but the major hall is an acoustic wonder with a timber internal fitout, movable side panels, and timber acoustic deflectors over the concert platform. The sound is the most immediate I have ever heard. There they hold an annual Wagner Summer Festival in June. The driving force and muscial director is Adam Fischer, brother of Ivan, whose Mahler 2 (depsite a tweeter wrecking variance in dynamics) and Mahler 4 (just out) are must haves. In fact, it was the Ivan Mahler 2 that set me on the Fischer trail, though I had been to Budapest before.

Now people have said Parsifal is a conversion experience, an epiphany, a revelation, and so it goes. Maybe it is, and maybe also Simon Rattle is right, it is the journey not the destination, and he should know. My Parsifal journey began years ago in Intensive Care after a bike racing accident listening to Levine's Norman/Domingo Parsifal while on morphine. It stayed a bit blurry for quite some time and then continued intermittently, usually put aside for something more pressing to dive into. And the years have moved on, now a few DVD's later the Nagano one is pretty well imprinted, with the highest benchmarks from Matti Salminen, Christopher Ventris and Waltraud Meier, all glory to her, is there any other who understands this timeless creature more than she.

Whatever conspired to keep the Budapest Parsifal below the metaphysical I'm still thinking about. It may well have been simply overexpectaton, but I think most of all it was because this was a performance about getting the notes right, not letting what is between the notes come through, and if there's anything that needs the latter it is surely Parsifal. The orchestra played well for Adam Fischer, though not as confidently, perhaps not as familar, as in the Ring. He is lovely to watch, a good half a chest in full view, and is extremely attentive and responsive to his players.

The choral work pleased me most. I'm a sucker for big choirs, and this being semistaged, without directorial resctrictions, they mustered a choir at a rough count of 130 (30 were children) for the great Act 1 chorus, standing the full height of the hall over 3 levels. The sheer scale of it was impressive enough, but they were tight, beautiful dynamics, and the sopranos especially, infused with the children's voice, were particularly other-worldly.

Judit Nemet's Kundry was big voiced with a luxurious middle and a fine shriek. Not one to take no or be woken up reluctantly. Nikolai Schukoff was a Parsifal of the lean dark handsome show-off-your-chest variety, his voice strangely cold, all the notes there, but something missing for this first timer. I see he is singing Janacek next, and that I would like to hear.

Erik Halfvarson as Gurnemanz stole the show, not the depth of voice of many lifetimes of Matti Salminen, who has, but he was more than wise enough, and took final curtain calls, as the star. The crowd loved him, as they did the Amfortas of Kovats Kolos, who I found pushed and more stretched and strained than wounded.

The (6) flower maidens (f-me-shoes and satin gloves) sang as well as they looked and were really well choreographed, the women's chorus behind. This was the only scene in which I was totally engaged, and arguably one of the hardest to pull off.

Main cast curtain calls with flower maiden picking up white dove released at final moment

We had tickets to the second performance two days later, which a (very happy) opera fan behind the hotel desk took, as we slipped out of town to Paris, a few days early, a matter of Pride. This was not because of the performance, but had already been arranged, reluctantly initially, but then it was Paris Pride, in Paris of course, and more exploring ... to find this:

Looking back onto Montmartre, from the belevedere in Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Friday, June 26, 2009


Liberty Bridge from our Hotel Gellert room at dusk.


On the western outskirts of Berlin is the Waldbuhne, the forest stage, an outdoor amphitheatre built for the 1936 Olympic gymnastics. It is now a heritage site and large scale performance space where every summer, at the solstice, the Berlin Philharmonic hold their final concert of the season. Magic in the forest on a Sunday.

From the local station you follow the crowd through the woods and with 20,000 others wait for the gates to open.

Seating is purchased for a block and within your block it is first in etc. Everything is ordered. Everyone is patient. Security is pleasant and fast. The food stalls are fun and the beer is good. Ushers are helpful. People are friendly. There is no sense of my space your space. There are picnics, bread and schnitzel, and jam turnovers (and umbrellas) to be shared, even with strangers. 

The days are long in the north, and by the 8.15 start time, with the sun just slipping behind the birch and pines trees, the temperature falls faster than the light level.

Sir Simon Rattle is hugely popular and his contract has been renewed till 2018. In that interview with the Financial Times, he speaks about the subtleties of language and culture, about the German containment of emotion and the effect of releasing it, and most of all, he dwells on the importance of journey over destination.

It was an all Russian programme, and after the Tchaikovsky warm up, the amazing Yefim Bronfman, with the help of a few woodbirds, sent a stunning Rachmaninov 3 into the night. After some interval showers it was The Rite of Spring, in a forest now making its own mysterious sounds and with the sometimes distant cry of a baby, the occassional clickety clack of a passing train blown in on the breeze, with the Berlin Philharmonic, with Simon Rattle. 

The sound quality was good, in fact K thought it very good (K gets picky on these matters) with the only obvious loss somewhere in low midrange, with no echo and thanks to whoever was doing the mixing, you never felt you were listening to anything other than the stage. Incredibly, this audience more than matched the Japanese for behaviour. There was no wandering about, eating and drinking stopped, no one dreamt of even whispering, they were unbelievably true to their orchestra and to the music. It was moving enough just to be part of such a group.

And for a closer look and listen to the big bear, from MediciTV (as long as the link stays true...)

The tradition is to finish each year with Die Berliner Luft von Paul Lincke. Here it is from 2007, or you can find this years by clicking the last little window in the playhead cursor in the MediciTV link below. (MediciTV have clever cursor setup which is segmented, so you can jump sections.) I can't watch this now without going all misty. Maybe you had to be there, but 20,000 Berliners, the march, the whistles....

OK, the link to whole concert from MediciTV is here. I'm still geting my head around MediciTV, which uses Youtube for HD broadcasting, and its copyright relationship with performers. If anyone can help, feel free.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Some more on Angela Denoke's Salome:

Kupfer’s production is set in a concrete prison of graffitied walls, steel walkways, mezzanines and stairs. The look is sordid contemporary, guards with rifles, costumes across time and the few props, a chair here, goblet or vomit bowl there, anchoring the story in its origin.

It could well have been inspired by Berghain which the Berliners we've been taking notice of think is far and away  THE club in their city, the city of clubs, and by extension, the world. Outside an old disused power station, a massive concrete building in former east Berlin, in an industrial wasteland edging toward urban renewal, hopefuls wait for hours in the early morniing chill only to be turned away at the door. We had been well advised (when to arrive, the look, what not to say, namely anything in English) and were fingered in quickly. The only hint of menace was the steely glint of an oversized septal spike holding the gate man's nostrils permanently flared.

Inside, dimensionless concrete vaults and spaces brilliantly (and I don't mean brightly) lit, filled with techno music just this side of the pain threshold, were crossed by steel ramps and stairs, spliced by mezzanines, and black apertures took you to somewhere else and whatever it was you sought.

Back to Unter den Linden. This was, by virtue of performance and direction, really only a two person show.  The Herod of Reiner Goldberg was devastatingly good, a vocally unstrained secure and sustained performance delivering a syphilitic/Parkinsonian wreck of a human, an impotent on the edge. The most telling theatrical moment came when sliding backwards to the floor he was barely kept upright with his arms over the necks of two attendants, whose bald skulls he stroked as if erotic spheres, his search for gratification reflex and endless.

The more I think about Angela Denoke's Salome the more complex and satisfying it becomes. Certainly vocally I can't imagine anyone better out there today. It is a warm and womanly voice with none of the steel often assocaited with this role. And I liked it for that. She had, most surprising of all, engaged my sympathy from the very beginning. I never thought her girly or stupid or debauched or bad. She was a female raised in the worst of households who when confronted with what was beyond her understanding did what she had beeen brought up to do. Want it and get it, with a voice which could turn to animal snarl when called for. She had a wonderful way of supporting her top, carefully but not hesitantly placed, and when secure in her pitch would lift herself up on her toes, as if to fly, arms slightly out, up, up, and swell out this gorgeous tone over floods of sound from the pit. 

That James Rutherford's Baptist was vocally a bit underwhelming didn't seem that much out of place, reduced as he was to not much more than a lightening rod for Salome's self-destruction. And she played it as knowing this was her fate from the moment of his first eerie ascent to the stage.

In a refreshing change from the often overly sordid stage craft between Salome and the head, this Salome, after a brief but intense clasping of it to her chest, lay the head in front of her, knelt before it, and sang the hell out of the part, the muscial and dramatic climax coming as she took off its blindfold and stepped back away, aghast at what she had done and withdrew slowly, exhausted (and voice tiring a little and yet it seemed so appropriate) upstage to virtually await her execution.

Predictable as it was that she would be shot, and as much as I was wishing it wasn't going to happen that way, when it did it was still a shock, and was perfectly timed so that the orchestral thuds we're not irrelevant but sounded like some dreadful echo of the rifle shots.

There was a recent interview with Simon Rattle talking about working with the BPO and music making in Germany. He makes the point that the Germans are deeply emotional but contained, and when it is released, it is volcanic. Well, the Spaniard Pedro Halffter Caro certainly lit that fire, and volcanic is exactly what we heard from the pit. We sat close and the percussion and brass were overwhelming, whether by direction or acoustics I can't say, but I can say again, this was a Salome that left me completely drained.

It was, by the way, sung without surtitles. It was the better for it. I used to think that defenders of the no-translation school were defending the indefensible, but in this case, and by inference therefore others, I now wonder if it is sometimes the better course. Anything else here would have diluted the impact.


Last Saturday and Sunday, from mid-morning till 11pm (that is 11pm, on the dot, this is Germany), an area the size of about 6 suburban blocks was given over to Berlin's annual Lesbian and Gay Festival. The city parade ending at Winged Victory is this coming Saturday, as a wave of gay pride events sweep across Europe, slowing as they move further east, last year's Budapest parade exposing prejudice, ignorance and fear as police sided with right wingers who took to the 'outs' with verbal and physical abuse.

But this is Berlin, this is Schöneberg; think Isherwood. This was as comfortable and mature an example of integration as either of us have ever seen, where sexual preference was both so overt and so completely irrelevant that the theme of 'Equal Rights for the Unequal' was the only clue that discrimination existed here at all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009



19 June 2009 and the Staatsoper Angela Denoke Salome has left me speechless and K astounded, and neither of these happen very often. Hers was a performance so complete musically and dramatically for me that I suspect just absorbing it I took up all of my neurohumoral transmitters, in being in the 'now', leaving nothing for whatever is involved in memory, and I fully expect to wake in the morning unable to remember any of it.
I'd be happy to never see Salome again. I've been there.
Spaniard Pedro Halffter and the orchestra gave a savage brutal reading while still retaining the necessary sensitivity and were cruel to the singers leaving most in their wake with the exception of Denoke and Goldberg who were simply magnificent.

Angela Denoke Salome
Reiner Goldberg Herodes
James Rutherford Jochanaan
Pedro Helffter Conductor

More later, memory willing.

Here is the MORE

Friday, June 19, 2009


Nothing underlines the difference more than to leave the city of the velvet revolution, where the theatres became fora for assembly, debate, planning and information exchange, travel to the city of 3 opera houses and 7 symphony orchestras, including the pre-eminent orchestra in the world today, and then check what is going on at home only to find the dispiriting news that the Australia Council for the Arts staff are to go on strike for the first time over extreme workloads, wage reductions and poor morale. 

They just don't get it. The obvious is staring them in the face. If the Sydney Opera House doesn't define as clearly as possible what artistic investment can achieve beyond the immediate, then call me a politician. Strangely, at the recent Utzon memorial, it was left to Premier Natham Rees, in his broad twanging accent, not the empty headed federal minister of the yartz, to touch on what artistic  expenditure can do for spirit, soul, individual and national good. 

Here, William Osborne looks at the different attitudes to arts funding between Europe and the United States, a situatiion even more extreme in Australia where benefaction is occassional at best.

"1. Europeans use public funding to provide alternatives to the marketplace for cultural expression.

2. European politicians avoid attacking the arts for populist and opportunistic political gains.

3. European arts funding is generally decentralized and administered mostly on the state and municipals levels. 

4. Europeans use their cultural legacies to establish and assert their place in the world, often through extensive cultural diplomacy.

5. Europeans combine arts education with the living presence of the performing arts within their communities.

6. Even though Europeans often celebrate the lighter classics, they still stress classical musical for its inherent strengths.

7. Europeans view the city itself as the greatest and most complete expression of the human mind and spirit." 

Meanwhile, tonight

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


At the end of a forgotten street, nothing much more than a car park lined with half empty shops, and one block from a busy mall full of the dregs of crass capitalism, sits solidly still perhaps this city's greatest musical landmark, The Estates Theatre.

It was here that what many consider the greatest opera ever written (a relativity I find meaningless but nonetheless), Don Giovanni, was premiered 29th October 1787 conducted by the composer. That it isn't running every night, like some operatic Mouse Trap, is one of many questions you ask yourself about who comes to Prague and why.

It is an exquisitely beautiful small intimate blue and gold theatre with a capacity of not much more than 600. We joined about 50 others for a short recital by baritone and soprano with wind trio doing something along the lines of Mozart's Greatest Hits. The trio, especially the largish lady on piccolo and flute, was the star. No, correction, the theatre was the star.

The corpulent American gentleman in the neighbouring box, an Oscar Wildish figure of a man, whose svelt and handsome male companion half his age and a third his weight snapped "I'll be waiting downstairs" as we struck up conversation in the corridor, also briefly bemoaned the lack of the genuine article, before he quizzed:

"Have you been to the new bar at the Hotel Augustine yet?"

"No?", as I shook my head. "Then you must, you simply must".

"Of course, and we'll have a drink for you".

"No, have ten. Are you coming to Manhattan?"

We haven't been yet, not for one, let alone ten. There's quite a lot to see.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The centre of Shibuya is the famous Tokyo intersection where the many feeder roads simultaneously turn red, leaving an empty area the size of a football field as a scramble crossing. The sheer numbers and speed of repletion, when only a blink before there were cars, is astounding. This pulsing of people and cars is a continuous endless beat fed by one Tokyo’s largest transport nodes, a multi-multilevel vascular network of metro lines, above ground rail, bus interchange, freeway ramps, local roads and pedestrian thoroughfares. 

As you step into the arena, what overwhelms you is no longer the number of people, you have lost touch with the edges of this swarm, but an increasingly loud high pitched chatter and babble as you move through the centre of hundreds of talking Japanese, which quickly fades away as you move out the other side and continue on, released on your way.

And at night all this is ablaze with a dazzling array of neons, plasma screens, LED displays, and signs of every imaginable size, shape and colour.

A short walk from these crowded streets, funky shops, department stores, cafes, myriad of little side streets, along a winding road up a short hill and past a small shrine among private residences, is the Kanse-Noh Theatre. 

My introduction to Noh theatre was oblique, when many years ago The English Opera Group, an all male ensemble, came to Sydney. I was lucky enough to have been taken to a performance of Britten’s Curlew River in one of the lecture theatres at the University of New South Wales. It was a profoundly moving and formative evening, for which I was completely unprepared, and completely transformed by the power of simplicity, as deceptive as simplicity is, or appears to be.

Britten and Pears had travelled to the East seeking and embracing the instruments, musical structure and aesthetic of Noh theatre, an influence self-evident is much of Britten’s work, none more so than Curlew River. 

After many visits to Tokyo, at last things had conspired that K and I could go to a Noh theatre, both for the first time, and so we took that little walk at last.

Noh (1) is a form of ancient Japanese stagecraft, combining song, dance, music and drama. Drama is the least of these, for unlike Kabuki, the purpose is not so much to tell a story (although the plays do to a certain extent) but to make the audience feel a sense of profound beauty. Realism is avoided. The essence of expression in Noh play lies in concentrated simplicity, unity, harmony and in patternized symbolism. Minimum movement to achieve maximum effect, accompanied by music and chant.

The roots of Noh extend back at least 600 years and have evolved through various influences, not the least being Buddhist rites and legends, to the current 5 schools of Noh. Kanse-Noh is one of them and Noh survives not as an historical artefact, but as an independent part of current Japanese theatre.  

The Noh stage is quite specific, a cyprus wood performance space 19 feet square with thick cyprus pillars at the 4 corners serving as a guide to the (all male) players, whose vision is restricted by their masks. To stage left is a space for chorus, at the back a space for musicians (flute and 3 drums) and assistants, and the stage right entrance is a long covered way marked by 3 pines set in gravel. There is no scenery, although props may be used.

Chant is the essence of the vocal line, by performers and chorus. There was no spoken word at all and the singing was mostly in a narrow low male voice range, with variations in dynamics and vocal colour. The drummers also sing, at our performance repeating a series of monotonal cries that would glissando up to a high pitched welp, followed by the drum being struck. The effect was quite unsettling at first, and offset by intermittent monastic chanting by the chorus. There is no conductor or equivalent, except perhaps the drummers, and the actors control the delivery with their concentration and interaction with each other

The costumes are gorgeous adaptations of 15th C robes, exquisitely woven and dyed silks, some with elaborate head-dresses and wigs.

The plays themselves (around 250) are grouped into 5 categories - god, warrior, woman, madman and devil.

We saw KAMO, a 2 act 90 minute play about a priest’s pilgrimage to a sister shrine where he meets a woman (the Shite - main character) who tells him that long ago a woman found an arrow floating in the river by the shrine and taking the arrow home was miraculously conceived of a god-child. In Act 2 the goddess and her son come to dance and promise protection for the land and its people.

 The first thing to point out is that, with the exception of the main chararcter, a man head and shoulders above anyone else on stage, standing there virtually immobile clutching a beautiful little purse, we were many centimetres taller and many kilos more than anyone else. It concentrated our difference immediately.

What I had been expecting was that movement, precise, spare and meaningful, would be the essence of the experience. What was the surprise was the continuous vocal line. Without the meaning of the words, it was their delivery and expression that was to be our source, and this again was minimal and tightly focused, most lost on our untrained ears no doubt.

We were left to let the experience wash over, aware of the whole but wishing for some insight that only birth and familiarity would bring.  It is a very educated discipline, and as removed in the other direction from the attention deficit nonsense of our western entertainment, particularly television, as you can get. We had been transported back to an period when the focus was on small and time was the most available commodity of them all. It was incredibly beautiful, and equally exhausting.

After the first of three, running continuosly, we slipped out a side door and back into the mania and 21st C just down the hill.


(1) A Guide to Noh, P.G.O’Neill

Friday, June 12, 2009


What had started in 1600 as a short dance entertainment principally for the urban merchant classes has evolved into a vast rep of plays and dances, most dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and is now the most popular theatre in Japan.

The Tokyo Kabuki-Za theatre (5 minutes walk from the teaming department stores of Ginza) is about to close to be rebuilt and running gala farewell performances and drawing huge crowds. There are two runs a day, a matinee of 4 plays from 11.00 till 15:45, and an evening show of 3 plays from 16:30 till 21:30. You can choose to see only one play, but only from the upper seats. All roles are played by males.

By the time I arrived late, disgorged from the metro, for Onna Goroshi Abura (The Lady Killer) even the upper  seats were full and I joined the locals in standing room. 

This 90 minute story is of a merchant's son who, failing to succeed in borrowing from a wealthy oil trader's wife, resorts unsuccessfully to blackmail and finally her murder. The final prolonged scene of sensual dream-like killing by sword, with both masked protagonists slipping in spilled oil, or blood, is hugely popular. Some of the dialogue and action drew gasps and applause.

There were two moments of rare beauty, when back to the audience and facing her murderer, the woman lent backward till her upside down face was in full view, the hair hanging to the stage floor, in a stance of absolute victimisation and helplessness. This was repeated and crescendoed till she lay dead, long black hair and obi unravelled. He took his retreat through the spillage across the trailed obi, with whooping crescendo cries as if a wolf, and dissappeared.

The intensity of the performance was incredible, both on stage and in the audience. I didn't see anyone move for the 90 minutes I was there, and they had been there for the previous 3 hours. The only hint of anything other than complete absorption was the occassional use of opera glasses, but otherwise there was nothing but absolute focus on every word, every movement, all accompanied by the sound of wooden clappers and the shamisen.

And at the end, like any other matinee, the crowd spilled onto the afternoon street, many of the women in traditional dress, with photos being taken on the theatre steps, a priest with begging bowl and a discrete bell near the subway entrance, a line a taxis as far as you could see, and the usual darts through the traffic across the medium strip, Kimonos and all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The New National Theatre, Tokyo is a three hall performance complex which has been operating for some 10 years. The major hall is the opera theatre, seating 1800 in a warm dark wooded interior of 20 rows of stalls and three upper levels. The pit (also the name of the smaller of the other two performance spaces) can accomodate 120 musicians. Oh, and the translation was 'side-titles', (vertical) Japanese down each proscenium side. They actually looked lovely I thought, and if there was any distraction, it was very much less than surtitles.

The street face is a bold area of stone, water, and granite.

Vast open internal areas continue the use of raw cut stone,

echoing the great walls of the Japan.


La Cenerentola on June 10 was the 2nd of a 6 performance run of the Ponnelle Bayerische Staatsoper production, which has been doing the rounds of the northern hemisphere for years as far as I can see. And it shows I'm afraid, but nonetheless this was a fascinating night.

It never ceases to amaze me that here, in the one and only great Metropolis (in the Bladerunner sense), was an opera buffa from 1817 transfixing a smart Tokyo audience (very few Westeners), some in traditional dress, some wearing masks (surgical, not Kabuki) and most enthusiastic they were too. Just seeing the evening unfold was worth the 23,100 yen (oz 290). I shouldn't be surprised. The roots of music and drama and voice run very deep here. And of course it is a great work, easy on the ear, with some dazzling coloratura and ensembles, some good male choral work and a funny take on the old morality of good will win through. 

The production I'll dismiss as tired and old fashioned and complicated by a complex set design for the Don's house that was at complete odds with the otherwise simple (and simply dull) painted drops. It clumsily required three important scenes (eg the revelation scene in act 1 between Alidoro and Angelina) to be sung downstage in front of the main 'curtain' during scene changes. It all rather reminded me of going to the opera at the old Her Majesty's, or G&S at school. Be grateful you lucky people who enjoyed the deliciously camp Michael Hampe OA production in its heyday. This Ponnelle derivative, by comparison, was a very unfunny night with no one on stage attuned to any real sense of comic relief, and much stage action was walk on and stand front stage and sing.

Nevermind, and the audience didn't. The star turn of course, and there is no opera without a coloratura mezzo, was Vesselina Kasarova. This is a fabulously rich deep dark full serious bulgarian I-want-to dive-in-there-and-stay-there-forever mezzo voice. Every note I wanted to never stop. Not the thing to wish for in Rossini exactly, except for the lament, which she sang with such seriousness that I wondered if she were contemplating suicide. That she looked like Joan Crawford on a bad day was a bit of a worry, but the voice, the voice.

It is little wonder why she is getting the Rossini roles: because she can. Her technique defies my description, but she easily negotiates the demands with a strange glottal approach, not really jerky, but neither a rhapsody of smoothness. She is certainly most pleasing in the rich middle voice, while the upper extensions, and Rossini calls for them in the final showpiece, tend toward the ragged edged. All the difficult stuff is accompanied by some increasingly strange body posturing. The right arm mostly holds the diaphragm, and the left is outstretched pointing to some distant galaxy, the body leaning back more and more as she moves up the scale, till finally as she is now lent back far enough that you worry about her balance, something way above the staff emerges. She is, depsite what I may have made her appear, fantastic to watch. It is incredibly organic body singing. I really liked her.

The depth and richness of her sound was strangely out of character for a Cinderella of our western tastes and I wondered most of the night why Rossini had chosen a mezzo rather than a soprano. On the other hand, in Noh theatre, the women are all played, and sung, by men, and in the baritone range.

The prince was Antonino Siragusa, a nasal Florez-like tenor, missing some of the latter's coloratura polish. He proudly nailed his Cs in his act 2 'Si, ritrovarla io giuro', the second one a bit less certain in pitch but sustained to audience-gasp length. With wild applause, he beamed, punched the air, kissed the bracelet, punched the air, blew kisses, kissed the bracelet, waved the maestro on and encored the aria, as well as the self acclaim. Happy days all round. A man not far from me was screaming Brava, Brava; something either lost in translation, or he knows something I don't.

Roberto de Candia was Dandini, Bruno de Simone Don M., and Gunther Groissbock Aldoro. The scaled down orchestra played well, if a bit lacking in sparkle and humour, led by David Syrus. Enough already. I took some curtain call snaps on my mobile. I'll try to get them up sometime.

One more thing: OA men's chorus, take a bow.