The afternoon reached about 29C, the sky was a brilliant blue. And sydney-siders dawdled in with their eskies and low chairs, ready to stake out their patch for friends arriving later. We all have our theories, re best possie. I like along Art Gallery Road, out of the sun, and within eye/ear-shot of the artillery. The only hassle with arriving early is that the music does not start until 8pm.
Brett Weymark, the musical conductor of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs tapped the podium for the choirs, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the brilliant Mr John Bell, arguably Australia's pre-eminent Shakespearian actor, and head of the Bell Shakespeare Company for yonks (over 20 years).
The program commenced with Nicolai's music for his opera based upon 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' which I have on LP, so that was fine. Then we segued into William Walton's music for the 1939 Olivier version of 'Henry V' where Bell came into his own with rousing declamations from the battlefields about bands of brothers and stuff. I am a devotee of Branagh's DVD of his play.
I was a bit disappointed with the meagre selection from Mendelsohn's music from 'Midsummer Night's Dream' - not a bridal march in sight. The program proper concluded with the bold and courageous choice of Prokofiev's music for "Romeo and Juliet'. It was romantic in turn, and dramatic in turn, but ... I guess I needed to know it better.
What I did enjoy, though, was the combination and the deft control of Weymark. I had only a sideways view of the orchestra, and no view at all of the choir, except a distorted view on the large screen. But I did not need to see - not with ears to hear! And they soared! Often without words, but with glorious scat - are you allowed to call it that? I loved the combination more than anything else.
Will get tickets to both Bell Shakespeare's 'Big Julie' as well as MSND in the Botanic Gardens.
Terrific night. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Will go again next year. Now to check the Shakespeare and the Philharmonia websites.