Review: Sunset Symphony, HGAF 2019

What: Sunset Symphony

Who: Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Rupert D’Cruze

Where: Rhododendron Lawn, Hamilton Gardens

When: Sunday night

Reviewed by: Sam Edwards

The Rhododendron Lawn at the Hamilton Gardens will hold an audience of something over 4000, and tonight it was chocka.

The whole of the Waikato community was represented – along with the odd foreigner from climes like Wellington and The Bay. The sun set behind the huge old gum, and soothing muzak oozed rhythmically, reassuringly, from the speakers to relax latecomers and small children frantically searching for mates and minders.

The energiser MC hit the stage to rev up the audience, and that well known conductor, Rupert D’Cruze, who needs no introduction because he has owned the Sunset show forever, was introduced.

He raised his Hogwart’s lookalike magic baton, silence crept across the lawn, the baton descended, and the braggadocio gallop of Rossini’s wonderful overture not only broke the silence, it completely captured the crowd.

As the evening continued, peaks like that first adventure into popular classics of the orchestral repertoire rose above the engaging entertainment to provide the “Remember when…” moments we reference for weeks after the event.

There was an interactive version of the multi-million-hits-on-YouTube phenomenon, Baby Shark with a group of littlies performing the iconic dance with that simple addictive little tune given the full orchestral treatment. It was hilariously, entertainingly, beautifully, memorable.

The full Khatchaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from his ballet Spartacus, in all its stunningly moving splendour, stopped the clock, and then… Well!

Inspired by their own personal genius, the organisers included one of the great musical stand-ups in the programme.

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