Archive for April, 2018

Review of Ely Sinfonia’s concert ‘From Russia with Love’ on Saturday 28th April 2018

April 29, 2018

From its inauguration in 1999, Ely Sinfonia conducted by Steve Bingham has developed into a fine orchestra and tonight’s concert certainly had its highlights.

I arrived thinking we would have some easy popular tunes to indulge our romantic senses while we admired the magnificent spectacle of the large orchestra with its variety of instruments and the beautiful cathedral.

The title of the concert was ‘From Russia with Love’  featuring three very well-known composers, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Kachaturian, all known for some of the most famous love tunes, so the concert was bound to be full of easy-listening.

However, this was no easy ride – we were kept very much awake and alive as these splendid musicians presented the works with energy, precision and a wealth of tonal variation. In the hands of Steve Bingham, the music ebbed and flowed deliciously sometimes building up to tremendous climaxes that had us swept along in their wake. All sections: strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion had grand moments when highly talented performers shone.

The works performed included Kachaturian’s ‘Spartacus Suite no.2’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, and his second symphony (the ‘Little Russian’). The concert ended with suite no 1 from Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Our expectations were well met when the theme from the TV series, the ‘Onedin Line’ (the Adagio in the Spartacus Suite) resounded in the vaults of the cathedral, the strings especially ringing out a beautiful rich tone. This swelled our hearts splendidly. Tchaikovsky’s second symphony was most enjoyable and gave us glimpses of the later work by this composer. When the Prokiev came we waited with bated breath for the theme we were expecting, but no, this suite was much more complex, colourful and intricate than expected. However, there were numerous singable tunes the orchestra brought out well, and the standard of playing in this piece and the effectiveness of the music compensated more than enough for our minor disappointment.

This was a wonderful concert. The next one to look forward to is on Saturday 29th September 2018.



Review of ‘Wind in the Willows’ produced by KD productions on Friday 6th April 2018 at The Maltings Ely

April 13, 2018

KD production’s presentation of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ at the Maltings in Ely was a joy to behold. All the favourite characters were there: the flamboyant Toad (played by Terry Burns), the river-loving Ratty (Ross Townsend Green), best friend Mole (Rosie Coles) wise old Badger (Oliver Scott) and evil Chief Weasel (Oliver Tattersfield). There were adorable rabbits, the easily rattled policeman, pretty Washerwoman’s daughter, the Toad-look-alike-Washerwoman and a number of weasels and stoats.

The scenes played out swiftly and smoothly so that we were soon swept up in the drama. The singing was first rate and the accompanying music well selected adding flavour to some of the most effective scenes.

Highlights for me included the effective way in which the characters interplayed and the ingenious scenes of Toad’s escape.

Director Oliver Scott, choreographer Katherine Hickmott and producers Scott Ritchie Productions and KD Productions (Daniel Bell and Katherine Hickmott) and team are to be congratulated for presenting such a great story in such a most enjoyable way.

The next production to look forward to is ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which will be touring in Spring and Autumn in 2019.

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