REVIEW: A Night at the Proms – TWSO and Cantando Choir

What:              A Night at the Proms

Who:               Cantando Choir withTrust Waikato Symphony Orchestra

When:            Saturday 17 November 2018

Where:           Hamilton Gardens Pavilion

Works from:  Verdi, Elgar, well known Proms classics, and local works like Now is the Hour

Conductor:    Rupert D’Cruze

Soloist:           Anna Hawkins

Reviewer:      Sam Edwards


On the way out tonight, a friend observed that it is years since he has heard a crowd of several hundred Kiwi singing with such gusto and enjoyment. doing it for the sheer fun to be had. It was fueled, not by what my gran referred to as spirituous liquors, but by the fine singing of Cantando Choir,  an excellent lead by the TWSO, and effortless example from the recently returned Anna Hawkins. The Hawkins voice has matured with a richly resonant purity and power, and she had the audience in thrall as what sounded like an hypnotically effortless top C, superbly controlled, reducing to a silence which had no beginning. Her voice was a highlight in a programme which demanded that Cantando developed perfect and unremitting focus.

Bearing in mind that this was the Proms on display, the music had to move from serious classical to ripper crowd pleasers, and encompass the requisite works – “Rule Britannia” and Elgar’s treasured “Pomp and Circumstance”. Conductor D’Cruze began with “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. The choir demonstrated from the first chords that ”piano intacta” was to be demonstrated whenever necessary, and they delivered some wonderfully controlled dynamics with pianissimos which were moving and beautiful. They also delivered in stylistic adaptation. Verdi’s  “Va Pensiero” is in another country alongside Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus” which ended the first half, but both choir and orchestra responded to deliver some stunningly musical moments,

The pleasure kept increasing, and the sold out venue heard a genuinely appreciative crowd calling for the show to continue. Great for the performers. Great for the audience – including tourists. Great for the city. How mean of the city fathers to make the users of the venue, the choir and orchestra, set out all the chairs and pack out immediately after the show.

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