Thursday, January 12, 2023


Ayşe Göknur Shanal, Soprano

John Martin, Piano

Pedro Florentino Alvarez, Tango Master

Overture Hall, Orana Steiner School Weston 8 January


Reviewed by Len Power


It was a sublime early evening concert of tango music and dancing with Turkish soprano, Ayşe Göknur Shanal, pianist John Martin and tango master of dance, Pedro Florentino Alvarez.

Ayşe Göknur Shanal has won many prestigious awards and scholarships here in Australia and overseas.  She has performed widely in the USA, UK, Europe and Asia including Opera Australia, Turkish State opera and Opera Queensland.

Ayşe Göknur Shanal, soprano

Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger.  His work revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music.

The program contained many songs of Astor Piazzolla and his contemporaries.  Shanal’s vocal range and delivery was perfect for these passionate, emotional and deeply personal songs.  There are driving, changing rhythms that require great technical expertise and Shanal made them seem effortless.  We were willingly swept up into the sensuous world she was creating.

There were songs of love and loss, of great longing and regret.  Outstanding among them were Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” as well as “Adios Nonino”, written on the death of his father.  There were also the popular tunes “Por un Cabeza” by Carlos Gardel, heard in the 1992 film “Scent Of A Woman”, and "Quizás, quizás, quizás" by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés, so memorable from the film “Strictly Ballroom”.

John Martin, piano, Ayşe Göknur Shanal, soprano, Pedro Florentino Alvarez, tango master and partner, Teresa Chau

Another dimension to the concert was the appearance of tango master, Pedro Florentino Alvarez.  Alone and with his partner, Teresa Chau, his dancing complemented Shanal’s songs.  His sudden appearances were often haunting and dreamlike and his dancing was superb.

Audience members were also invited to dance and four couples, who were clearly excellent tango dancers, were soon swirling around the singer and pianist, adding to the romantic and sensuous mood.

Pianist, John Martin, provided an excellent accompaniment throughout.  His contribution to the success of the concert was considerable.


Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 9 January.

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at