Symphony at Its Finest

ASO’s crowd-pleasing Showcase Series continues, demonstrating their ability to play music of all genres. It also shows how new audiences can be tapped into for orchestral music.

Pinchas Zukerman is one of the world’s finest violin and viola soloists, and a gifted conductor. His playing is fluid and expressive.

A Night on Broadway

A Night on Broadway is an electrifying concert of musical theatre favourites with a live on-stage show orchestra. From toe-tapping and tear-jerking hits from Broadway, the West End, and musical cinema, to the iconic tunes that are woven into our lives, this is an evening of pure escapism.

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra reformed from a 17-player radio ensemble in 1936, and its current name – the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – was adopted in 1949 with Henry Krips as resident conductor. It is the state’s premier performing arts organisation, giving around 100 concerts each year and providing the orchestral support for the State Opera of South Australia.

Dvorak’s New World symphony is a rousing affair with its sweeping melodies and blazing fanfares, while Beethoven’s Violin Concerto takes you to heavenly heights with its celestial opening and sublime stillness. Add in a horn concerto by the ASO’s own composer-in-association, Paul Dean, and you have a concert of bracing intensity.

ASO musicians and singers join rock band The Angels in a spectacular symphonic-meets-rock show at the Royal Adelaide Showground. From the first note of Take A Long Line and Marseilles to After The Rain and Be with You, this is one of the most unique performances you will see this year.

The Angels

With a catalogue that includes three chart-topping albums, a string of national show-stopping appearances and APRA’s ‘Rock Work of the Year’ an incredible seven times, Birds of Tokyo have cemented their status as Australia’s most successful contemporary rock band. They’ll team up with the ASO for Birdsongs, an electrifying concert experience that takes place at Festival Theatre.

The Angels, consisting of sisters Barbara and Phyllis Allbut and Peggy Santiglia, are one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most memorable girl group legends. After forming in 1971 as the acoustic Moonshine Jug & String Band, they changed their name to The Keystone Angels in 1974 and eventually shortened it to The Angels after a 1975 move to electric instruments. After 1978’s Face to Face became an Australian hit, the band toured America and renamed themselves Angel City in the US to avoid confusion with glam rock outfit Angel.

After a sold-out season of Classics Unwrapped, the ASO will return to Festival Theatre for an epic journey from icy polar seas to pulsating coral reefs and colossal kelp forests. The ASO has won worldwide acclaim with its 1998 performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle and in 2004 performed the first fully Australian production. In addition to its renowned subscription series, the ASO also commissions and promotes new works by leading Australian composers such as Cathy Milliken and Gerard Brophy.

A Night at the Opera

Taking the music of Broadway and blending it with the world-class Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Guy Noble conducts this dazzling musical theatre showcase. With a star studded line-up of Australia’s finest musical theatre performers, they will sing your favourites from the Great White Way including ‘Music of the Night’ from Phantom of the Opera, ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables, ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, ‘Back to Before’ from Ragtime and ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen.

In a genre where the boundaries are constantly being pushed and overblown, A Night at the Opera is an unashamedly ridiculous, overproduced, over-recorded and overblown creation. This frantic album pushes all the buttons, from the multi-layered guitars of Sheer Heart Attack to metal (“Death on Two Legs,” “Sweet Lady”), campy British music hall (“Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon,” “Seaside Rendezvous”) and mystical prog rock (“’39,” “The Prophet’s Song”) before collapsing into the pseudo-operatic excess of the title track.

In 1998 the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra won worldwide acclaim with its landmark production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Since then the ASO has continued to be a major player in the Australian music scene. The ASO is also highly regarded for its extensive commitment to Australian composers. Its recordings on ABC Classics, Melba and Opus Arte have won critical acclaim. The ASO has also commissioned and performed a number of works, including the first orchestral tribute to cricketer Sir Donald Bradman and a work commemorating the centenary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli.

Floods of Fire

ASO’s new initiative to commission Australian composers, Floods of Fire, featured in this concert with three works based on stories about flood and fire. The project was conceived with Europe-based theatre-maker Airan Berg who specialises in large scale participatory projects, and he has worked closely with the orchestra to develop the compositions, with workshops also conducted with the Port Augusta community and musicians from local groups including Quirkestra, Thank God It’s Friday choir and Tutti Arts Creative Writing Group.

It was a brave program, and to the ASO’s credit they exposed a lot of new Australian music to an audience that hears very little of it. All the pieces were built upon tonal, audience-friendly European classical models but with oddly local twists and unorthodox means of pushing the arguments forward.

The ASO played with a deep commitment and understanding. Whether quietly shimmering or galloping headlong at full voice, the ensemble maintained a satisfying tonal balance and never let tempos slip.

The opening work, the suite of dances from Hungary’s Zoltan Kodaly, was a reminiscence of home and had unmistakeable echoes of travellers, folk tunes and gypsy dancing. It was robust and muscular and the ASO’s disciplined playing suited guest conductor Elena Schwarz perfectly.