Dame Kiri and Friends - (The) Gala Concert

Undemanding, but all for a good cause

Author: 
Jeremy Nicholas

Dame Kiri and Friends - (The) Gala Concert

  • Tarakihi (The Locust)
  • (Le) nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Porgi, amor
  • Così fan tutte, Soave sia il vento
  • (4) Lieder, No. 4, Morgen (wds. J H Mackay: orch 1897)
  • Carmen, L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera)
  • Carmen, ~, La fleur que tu m'avais jetée
  • (I) Vespri siciliani, '(The) Sicilian Vespers', Mercè, dilette amiche (Bolero)
  • Louise, Depuis le jour
  • Lakmé, ~, Dôme épais le jasmin/Sous le dôme épais (Flower duet)
  • Tosca, Vissi d'arte
  • Turandot, Nessun dorma!
  • Madama Butterfly, Un bel dì vedremo
  • (La) Rondine, '(The) Swallow', Chi il bel sogno di Doretta
  • (Le) nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', ~, Sull'aria
  • Adriana Lecouvreur, ~, Io son l'umile ancella
  • (La) Bohème, 'Bohemian Life', O soave fanciulla
  • Candide, Make our garden grow (wds. Wilbur)
  • (Die) Fledermaus, '(The) Bat', Trinke, Liebchen, trinke schnell
  • Lord of the Rings, May it be an evening star
  • Hine e Hine

This concert marked the launch of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. Its aim is to provide financial and career support to talented New Zealand singers and musicians. All proceeds from this concert, DVD and CD are being donated to the Foundation.

The programme is of popular arias, no New Zealand instrumentalists of sufficient interest having been spotted as yet, it seems. It’s an undemanding, middle-of-the-road, utterly predictable and inoffensive fund-raiser in which nothing remarkable happens and anything beginning with ‘Nessun’ and ending with ‘dorma’ gets the biggest cheer of the evening, no matter how it is sung. Dame Kiri’s vibrato has widened, inevitably, but if her still creamy tone is more effortfully secured these days she is shrewd enough to leave the flashier items to Dame Malvina, whose top B flats are no longer things of beauty. Not that anyone in the audience cares and, hey, it’s all in a good cause.

EMI’s presentation, however, is a puzzle. The product is clearly aimed at a non-specialist audience, but while the booklet for the CD at least provides some information on the music, the DVD has nothing. Perhaps EMI has given up on the idea of making converts to classical music through the experience of a concert like this. It has certainly abandoned such common courtesies as offering a biography of the artists supporting Dame Kiri. EMI prefers instead to list in ravishing detail not only the name of every member of the Auckland Philharmonia but which player is principal, acting associate principal and sub-principal of each section. If I were Dame Malvina and the other guest artists, I should be a tad irked.

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