About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

09 November 2013

JPO's 2nd 2013 Season, 5th Concert

Sibelius' 2nd Symphony is awesome, not only the finale, which is very rousing (and as per the commentary, seen as the unofficial Finnish national anthem) and loud; but also the second movement, which has a very interesting start with the double-basses and cellos; and everything else just seems to fit together. No doubt, part of the success of the performance was due to the conductor Yasuo Shinozaki's experience with Finnish music; and it was one of those magical performances where the music just seems to come alive.

Unfortunately, the first part of the concert was more mundane. The first part of the concert was rather short, lasting just over 30 minutes. Proceedings started with Mozart's La clemenza di Tito Overture, followed by Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme played by Russian born, South African cellist Polina Burdukova. Neither performances were bad - just boring. The symphony did make up for it though!

03 November 2013


It's quite cool how some traditional artistic companies are leveraging new technologies to reach new audiences - the Metropolitan Opera and the UK's National Theatre being at the forefront. It opens up their productions to new audiences; and gives different avenues for movie theatres at the same time.

Ster-Kinekor is currently screening National Theatre's production of Macbeth starring Kenneth Branagh. Performed in a deconsecrated church (how is a church deconsecrated?), the "stage" is in the centre of the church, with the audience sitting on either side. The action is fast paced, with no time taken for scene changes; and there is a very earthy; middle-age feeling about the play - particularly in the beginning with the water effects (for rain) that turns the stage into a muddy field. 

It is minimalist; at the same time quite impressive in the use of effects. The performances are brilliant, not only by Kenneth Branagh but also by Ray Fearon as Macduff and Alex  Kingston as Lady Macbeth. 

I saw Macbeth in school, as part of the set work - this is the type of production that makes Shakespeare amazing, even when it is not part of schoolwork :)