Monday June 17, 2024

What's On (NSW)

Better Angels

Better Angels


October 14, 2023

Mosman Art Gallery, 1 Art Gallery Way
Mosman, NSW



Eight singers and a grand piano performing music for Opera's Better Angels.
Enjoy the beautiful ambience of the Grand Hall of the Mosman Art Gallery, a complimentary wine or soft drink at interval and a concert to lift the spirits.

After the trying years of the Covid 19 pandemic and with the increasing tendency of the media to focus its attention on disaster, distress and division, we thought a dose of the uplifting was warranted. We are all well overdue for light and happiness! Hence, Better Angels has been crafted around the decent, faithful and brave characters in opera for our listeners to share in moments of fun, happiness, joy, inspiration, peace, acceptance, courage, triumph and redemption through song.

There is so much to find in opera that is truly inspiring. There is the courage of Beethoven’s Leonora who risks her own personal safety to successfully rescue her imprisoned partner. Bradamante too, is courageous and fearless in her quest to save her beloved from the enchantress, Alcina. Beth from Little Women while facing her own mortality, wishes peace on the unsettled and conflicted Jo. The delightful, ‘innocent,’ Papageno is able to overlook the outward appearance of the old Crone and is rewarded when she transforms into his little sweetheart, Papagena. The nobility of the character of Sarastro is a given, although his Masonic origins may not be pleasing to all! Then there is the faithful Count Gremin, who truly adores his beloved Tatyana and the graciousness and wisdom of both the Countess and The Marschallin. Who could possibly argue that their music is not some of the most glorious of Mozart and Strauss’ writing?

The programme begins with a supreme example of ensemble writing in the heavenly quartet from Fidelio by Beethoven, in which we will introduce you to two artists performing for TOSC for the first time, tenor, Hongxin Jiang and bass, Lucas Tamayo. They will be joined by Pamela Andrews as Marzelline and Laura Scandizzo, in a departure from how we have recently seen her (as Lady Macbeth) when she performs as Leonora. Hongxin and Lucas are welcome additions bringing to life the patriotic Cavaradossi, trustworthy Sarastro and faithful Gremin. In the arias and ensembles from the baroque era we note that in this period it was not unusual for the good characters to be mezzos or altos, making a lovely change for Jill Sullivan with the sopranos the villains. Later, in the romantic era it became more common to associate the lower voiced females with less savoury characters! Samanta Lestavel, who has sung in every concert since the beginnings of TOSC is singing music for Iphigénie, who is prepared to put duty before all else, and is again performing a contemporary American aria, this time Beth’s aria from Little Women by Adamo. Louise Keast will be bringing to life hope and youthful love in Agathe’s aria ‘Und ob die Wolke’ then expressing motherly love and concern for her doomed religious charges when she sings as Madame Lidoine.

Our programme also includes the exquisite trio from Der Rosenkavalier sung by Samanta, Pam and Jill and moves to that other Strauss, Johann, in an ensemble of deliciousness led by sonorous baritone, Tristan Entwistle.

If you are needing something that will soothe the soul and bring joy we urge you to come along, and enjoy the afternoon. The music will do its magic! Indeed some of the most sublime music ever written, has been for the decent and delightful characters in opera!


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