Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Conductor: Leonard Weiss
Soloist: Louise Page
Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest 27 October

Reviewed by Len Power

After their successful inaugural concert in July, Canberra Sinfonia presented a fine second concert at the Wesley Uniting Church in Forrest.  Conducted by Leonard Weiss, the young artists performed a program of Bartók and Haydn and, after interval, they were joined by their Patron, soprano Louise Page, who sang arias by Handel and Mozart.

The ‘Romanian Folk Dances’ by Béla Bartók gave the concert a stirring opening with throbbing, earthy rhythms and romantic melodies in six movements.  It was tightly played by the orchestra, especially the spectacularly busy final movement.

The second item on the program was Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 63 (second version).  The first version is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings, while the second version has the same scoring but with only one bassoon and no trumpets or timpani.  The final two movements differ from the first version, particularly with the oboe and bassoon trio in the third movement.

The orchestra gave a fine performance of all four movements of this work.  The energetic playing of the first movement contrasted with the nicely played, melodic second, or ‘Roxelane’, movement.  The third movement was notable for the fine playing of the trio by Caitin McAnulty and Timothy Elphick on the oboes and bassoonist, Jordan London.  The final movement was given a strong and colourful performance.

From the 18th century musical drama, ‘Semele’, by George Frideric Handel, Louise Page sang two arias.  ‘Where’er you walk’ was hauntingly sung, evoking a promised garden paradise.  Page gave the second aria, ‘O sleep, why dost though leave me?’, an affecting emotional performance.

Louise Page

The program finished with four of Mozart’s most beautiful arias for soprano.  All four were expertly sung including a delicately moving ‘Porgi Amor’ (Grant, love, some comfort) from ‘The Marriage Of Figaro’ and a fine acting and singing performance of conflicted emotions for ‘In What Excesses, O Heavens’ from ‘Don Giovanni’.

The accompaniment for the Handel and Mozart arias was sensitive and with a good balance between orchestra and singer.

Photos by Peter Hislop
This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 29 October 2018.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.