Dame Kiri and Friends - (The) Gala Concert
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.