May 2012. Opera and Concerto

Expressions Theatre, Upper Hutt.  Saturday, 5th May, 7:30 pm.
Chilton Saint James School.  Sunday, 6th May, 3:00 pm.


This was a massive double feature concert. In the first half, Cambridge based pianist Melanie Lina played Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto. Then Mascagni's one act opera Cavalleria Rusticana played unstaged for the second half. The commitment was such that two performances were given. The first to a sell out audience in Upper Hutt and the second to a large audience in Lower Hutt.  Both performances were received with great enthusiasm.

Melanie Lina : Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto

Melanie delivered an astonishing performance worthy of this powerful and celebrated work. The opening is melodic, but evokes a wide majestic landscape. Then the complexity mounts and a fascinating concerto unfolds. 

Melanie accepting applause
Melanie accepting applause from the audience

View from violins Through harp
Four views of the orchestra
View from cellos Timps

Pietro Mascagni : Cavalleria Rusticana

In a village, long long away, a while back. This short opera was first performed in May 1890. Set in Sicily, it tells of the tragic interaction of the competition of Lola and Santuzza for Turiddu, who has recently returned from overseas.

We used surtitles for the first time (but had done something similar with movies in 2008.) The story is confusing, and was further complicated by the need to have soprano Ruth Armishaw sing the part of (tenor) Turiddu. The opera was unstaged. That is, no set or costumes.
Mother Lucia and Santuzza

Contralto Judy Orgias as Lucia, mother of Turiddu, and soprano Sharon Yearsley as Santuzza.
Principals take a bow

Final curtain call.

Ruth Armishaw
 Sharon Yearsley
  Keiran Rayner
   Jody Orgias
    Alison Hodge

and conductor Brent Stewart.

Higher resolution photos (11) are available on-line in a Picasa Album.