Concert Review: Winter Bells Gala Concert

A familiar acoustic environment assisted the conductor and orchestral ensemble in providing volume-appropriate accompaniment to the singers.

December 22, 2012 21:51
1 minute read.
LOCAL RA’ANANA resident and baritone Colin Schacha

LOCAL RA’ANANA resident and baritone Colin Schachat 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of Colin Schachat)


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Ra’anana seems an unlikely venue for the staging of an international-standard gala concert, but that is exactly what the audience who filled the Mishhkan Music Center Auditorium were treated to on Monday night. The sometimes maverick Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra produced an accurate and musically tight performance. The experience and authority of Dudi Sebba, who navigated the breadth and depth of a musically and stylistically diverse program, was clearly evident. A familiar acoustic environment assisted the conductor and orchestral ensemble in providing volume-appropriate accompaniment to the singers.

While the audience responded rapturously to most of the items performed, there are clearly certain aspects of the vocal performance which warrant special mention. The young South African tenor Given Nkosi, whose beautiful lyric tenor has been heard on numerous occasions in performance as soloist with the New Israel Opera (most recently in the lead role as the Duke in Rigoletto), was impressive throughout, notwithstanding imperfect intonation in the first half.

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His sustained high B-flat at the end of “Nessun Dorma,” which may have not pleased the purists, had the desired effect, producing sustained applause and appreciation.

Local soprano Yael Levita continues to impress and develop both as a soprano and actress. She selected perfect vehicles to express her talents and particularly excelled with Adele’s principal aria from Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus and the Doll Aria from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman.

Experienced local tenor Yotam Cohen’s performance was predictably solid and reliable, with wonderful musicality and impressive vocal control evident in “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from Domizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore. Local Ra’anana resident and baritone Colin Schachat demonstrated versatility in choosing lighter repertoire as solo items (Managing particularly admirably with Rossini’s linguistically challenging “La Danza”), but excelled in the two tenor/baritone duets “E Lui desso infante” and “Au fond du temple saint” from Verdi’s Don Carlo and Bizet’s Pearl Fishers respectively. His powerful vocal resonance and correct textual context were impressive.

The “Brindisi” from Verdi’s La Traviata as a final item and encore literally brought the audience to its feet and provided an end to a memorable concert and an unforgettable introduction to the pleasures of classical music.

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