Concert-goers turn out in force as orchestra comes to town

2008-09-07 00:00

Friday evening saw the city hall packed to capacity when the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra came to town. It was almost exactly a year ago that Chris Hodgkins brought the orchestra up to Pietermaritzburg for the first Symphony in the City, and he and the KZNPO seem to have found a formula that works.

The concert set out to give the audience exactly what it wanted — a chance to dress up, the hall looking spruced-up with seat covers and coloured spotlights and the kind of music that everyone recognises. As Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Haltshwayo said when welcoming the audience: “Forget the potholes for one night, and be positive about the city”.

The orchestra was joined by the Maritzburg Singers, the Durban Symphonic Choir and school choirs from Girls’ High, Epworth and College.

And if they were a little muted in Carl Orff’s O Fortuna, they had only had one rehearsal together before the concert, and were well into their stride for the Slaves’ Chorus from Nabucco, and, inevitably, Land of Hope and Glory. Christopher Duigan, without whom any concert in Pietermaritzburg would seem incomplete these days, gave beautiful renditions of Chopin’s Polonaise and the Elvira Madigan movement from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21.

However, it was really more about the event than the music, fine though it was. It was a chance to be unashamedly cheerful and to enjoy what is still one of the city’s greatest amenities.

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