Sunday, March 2, 2014

MY LATIN HEART



Jose Carbo, baritone
Slava Grigoryan, guitar
Leonard Gregoryan, guitar
The Street Theatre 27 - 28 February 2014

Review by Len Power 27 February 2014


When artists say their CD is on sale in the foyer after the show, you don’t expect nearly the entire audience to buy one!  Well, that’s what happened at The Street Theatre on Thursday night after the performance of ‘My Latin Heart’ with vocals by Jose Carbo and guitar accompaniment by Slava and Leonard Grigoryan.

Australian baritone, Jose Carbo, was born in Argentina and migrated to Australia at an early age.  It was while working as a builder that he began singing seriously and the rest is history.  Now a highly sought after performer on the world’s opera stages, in ‘My Latin Heart’, Jose Carbo returns to the music of his heritage.  Also Australians, Slava and Leonard Gregoryan, are internationally renowned guitarists of Russian background with both separate and combined careers which reach beyond the classical repertoire.

Slava Grigoryan, Jose Carbo and Leonard Grigoryan
‘My Latin Heart’ was a feast of memorable music by these superb performers.  Of the three songs by Astor Piazzola, the highlight was an extraordinary ‘Ave Maria’, sung with great feeling by Jose Carbo to an intricate and fascinating accompaniment by the two guitarists.  Several tangos were nicely sung and played including the favourite tango of Jose Carbo’s grandmother, called ‘Caminito’ or ‘Little Path’ by Juan de Dios Filiberto.  Other memorable songs were ‘El Choclo’ by Angel Villoldo, ‘My Beloved Buenos Aires’ by Carlos Gardel and the well-known, ‘Granada’, by Agustin Lara.  Often ruined by over-the-top performances, ‘Granada’ was sung by Jose Carbo with genuine emotion that was quite arresting.  While Jose Carbo took a well-earned break, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan performed two movements from Astor Piazzola’s ‘Tango Suite’ and, in the second half of the show, two contrasting Brazilian pieces, the second of which demonstrated particularly their amazing skills playing together.

All three performers showed great rapport with the audience, speaking simply and directly about their music, sharing moments of humour and making it a very relaxed and enjoyable evening of music.  While singing, Jose Carbo remained seated with the Gregoryan Brothers, creating an informal atmosphere that drew the audience in with a welcoming intimacy.

The fine lighting by Gillian Schwab gave the performers a warm glow that enhanced the intimate atmosphere.  At one point, Jose Carbo asked for the house lights to be raised slightly so he could see everyone in the audience better, which was a nice touch.  He used a hand microphone expertly while singing and the sound amplification level was just right.

To have an opportunity to hear Jose Carbo and the Grigoryan Brothers performing together was an opportunity not to be missed.  If you did miss it, there’s always the CD of the show available on ABC Classics.  Judging by the response of the large audience on Thursday night, they’ll be back again for sure.

Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 2 March 2014.

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