Outstanding, exhilarating performance

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday night. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday night. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Carl Orff’s popular Carmina Burana  entertained a large audience in the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday evening, writes Elizabeth Bouman. 

This massive popular choral work saw more than 200 performers on stage, as conductor Marc Taddei led Dunedin’s singers, musicians and guest soloists through an exhilarating experience.

Singing with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra were City Choir Dunedin, Southern Youth Choir, Southern Children’s Choir, Fairfield School Choir and  three soloists, soprano Natasha Wilson, tenor Henry Choo and baritone James Clayton.

But first came the appetiser, as the DSO showed  its  expertise with 35 minutes of kaleidoscopic palate in Bizet’s orchestral work  L’Arlesienne Suites l & ll .  Strong unison strings launched the well-known  "Prelude" with pace and determination, and the following six sections continued with exciting contrasting interpretation. Light and spritely for the "Minuet", a stealthy melodic entry for "Adagietto" and "pianissimi" verging on inaudible while maintaining tone — so impressive!

Carmina Burana, sometimes referred to as a "pop classic",  is a stupendous, pulsating work.  Latin/Germanic poetic text (unashamedly sensuous at times) translated in the programme enabled fuller appreciation of the rich orchestration and many turbulent choral outbursts.

The opening chorus "O Fortuna" boomed out with sensational power and energy. The percussionists had a ball thoughout, and Taddei maintained the thrilling pace and contrasts for over an hour until  the final fervent climax. The massed choir never flagged, with high soprano passages generously toned, the Fairfield School Choir and the Southern Children's Choir sang with excellent diction and unity and the soloists were exceptional.  Clayton showed such versatility across an entire register which included counter-tenor, and humorous body language in "Ego sum abbas". Technical proficiency from Wilson and Choo enabled them to fill the auditorium with powerfully rich-toned solos, passionately delivered.

A truly outstanding and exhilarating performance from all.  


Carmina Burana

• Dunedin Town Hall, Saturday, September 1

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