In this most secret of secret seasons — with Cape Town experiencing ridiculously summery days, smashing sunsets, and an endless succession of heart-warming winter experiences to lure even the most fireplace-bound homebodies into the city — Hg2 Cape Town author Keith Bain takes a peek at one of the city’s best-kept secrets. And, for once, there isn’t a laser beam or DJ in sight…
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With unseasonally fine weather staging a coup during what should, theoretically, be mid-winter, Cape Town last Thursday also saw the launch of the new symphony season, providing the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (cpo.co.za) ample opportunity to set the City Hall ablaze with a series of robust, heart-racing performances.
Opening night saw world-renowned Nicholas Cleobury conducting, amongst other things, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1. By all accounts, it was a rip-roaring night, with Russian violinist Maria Solozobova turning up as the soloist for one of Paganini’s violin concertos, which ended with some supporters pounding the balcony floor in appreciation—restraint be damned.
This coming Thursday, Cleobury conducts again, when the Orchestra is this time joined by South Africa’s unstoppable young soprano, Pretty Yende, who last month collected the top award at Moscow’s prestigious Operalia 2011 competition. In 2007, Yende became the first South African to win the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, and has been scooping major awards ever since.
And for anyone who’s not familiar with Canteloube’s ‘Songs of the Auvergne’ or Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 (and, let’s face it, in this day and age, who is?), the evening’s programme will be preluded with a free talk by a local radio host who really knows his Bach from his Beethoven—think of it as Classical Music for Dummies; God knows I’ll be sitting in on that.