Monday, May 31, 2010

REVIEW: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Hi! Something good happened. Every now and then, I will be contributing to Time-Out Hong Kong online edition. This review of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will be my first one. Hope you like it and thank you for visiting my blog.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall Saturday May 29

They say he plays like Gershwin and I say if Gershwin plays like Kevin Cole, Gershwin must have been really good!

In an all-Gershwin programme, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra performed to a well-attended concert. Conductor David Alan Miller, a champion of American music, led the orchestra with pizzazz and precision; and the orchestra responded to the genre with brio.

The evening started with Oh Kay!: Overture, and ended with An American in Paris. It also included songs like Summertime and My Man's Gone Now from the opera Porgy and Bess; and Gershwin standards like The Man I Love, They Can't Take That Away from Me, Love is Here to Stay, Embraceable You and ‘S Wonderful, all performed with American soprano Indra Thomas. Indra started off a bit shaky, but slowly blossomed into a very charming performer who beautifully captured the jazz idiom that usually escapes most classically trained singers. While her middle and low registers seemed to thrive in Gershwin songs, her high register was a bit tattered.

The highlight of the evening was Kevin Cole in Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm Variation and his encore piece of a medley of Gershwin tunes. His humble demeanor on stage belies his stunning virtuosity. Kevin’s gift went beyond technique and tone and onto a performance of great affinity and passion for Gershwin music. It is not everyday that I see the audience smiling in an HKPO concert… in awe, a lot of times, but smiling? Now that is very special.

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