Rarely Heard But Guaranteed To Please

Newcastle Herald
Thursday July 1, 1999

ANDRAS Schiff is one of the great pianists of the world today.

Born in Budapest in 1953, he was only five years old when he began studying the piano.

Central to his artistic activities are his solo recitals which in recent years have seen him perform cycles of works by Bach, Bartok, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert.

These cycles have been the highlight of music seasons in London, Vienna, Budapest, Milan, Paris and New York.

A new recording by Teldec features Schiff playing the rarely recorded solo piano music of Bedrich Smetana (1824/1884). The album Polkas (3984212612) is an introduction to some of the lesser known works of this composer, who is dubbed the father of Czech music.

While Smetana is mostly known for his symphonic work Mas Viast and the opera The Bartered Bride, he is relatively unknown for the 200 or so compositions for piano.

On this recording, the polkas are beautifully lyrical and elegantly played by Schiff. He draws out of them some rich colours and extraordinarily delicate nuances.

His artistry combines sensitivity with mastery of his technical prowess.

This disc is a superb recording of some fine 19th Century piano literature, which is rarely heard, but will surely delight listeners. WIT, high art and opera combine in tonight’s hilarious performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

This production by OzOpera, the touring arm of Opera Australia, will be performed at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre at 8pm.

This performance is sure to break down barriers with its modern and comic approach, as well as it being sung in English.

As part of the tour of regional centres, OzOpera includes 11 singers, 13 instrumentalists from the State Orchestra of Victoria and five production staff.

Recently a Melbourne critic wrote that the show `will delight those who are not embarrassed to laugh out loud at the opera.’

The lead parts are played by Fiona Campbell (Rosina), Hao Zhou (Count Almaviva), Joshua Bloom (Figaro) and Ian Cousins (Dr Bartolo).

Tickets are available at the Civic box office for $45 (adult) and $35 (concession) or by telephoning Ticketek on 49 291977 (booking fees apply).

 © 1999 Newcastle Herald

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