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).

30 October 2014

JPO's 3rd 2014 Season, 1st Concert

To call it a 3rd season is overly generous - after all, there are only 2 concerts!That said, the line-up for both concerts is quite interesting and some shows are better than no shows! Last night's concert, in some ways, encapsulated two of the big problems with the current state of the JPO - poor communication and poor attendance. I am a subscriber, but I only got a SMS about the concerts the day before - certainly not the best way to advertise at such short notice. There were apparently emails, but quite a few people didn't seem to get them. There were apparently a few radio ads also - but in the age of so many communication mediums, it is quite sad that the JPO can't seem to get the word out that that there are actually performing! Poor attendance obviously flows from poor communication and marketing, and it certainly doesn't help the JPO's financial position, sponsorship and ultimately its future prospects.

Starting the evening off, was Grieg's Holberg Suite. I have heard most of the individual components a number of times on radio - especially Sarabande and Rigaudon - but this was the first time I have heard them all together. It was a fun piece, and very easy to appreciate - and certainly a good piece to kick off a concert!

Multiple competition winner, Russian pianist Andrey Pisarev, played a double concerto bill of Chopin's First and Second Piano Concertos. Like the performance last year, Andrey Pisarev, seemed to be in his own world; looking only at the piano or the conductor during his performance. His fingers flew across the keyboard - something that was quite fun to watch, especially in the virtuoso parts of the performance - but he was far more reserved. It was a great performance, and I think I am getting to like Chopin more and more - but not necessarily as personable as Alexander Lubyantsev last year.

28 October 2014

Movie: La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

Lavishly set amongst some of the finest art and architecture in Rome, La Grande Bellezza, or The Great Beauty is a visual masterpiece - but with seemingly no plot and no real storyline. The film revolves around a great (fictional) Italian author, Jep Gambardella, who starts to question his lavish, partying lifestyle upon his 65th birthday - but doesn't really come to any meaningful conclusions. It is a visual masterpiece, backed by an amazing sound track - and in a few places - some amazing dialogue (his assessment of the failures of one his ego-seeking friends is probably worth the ticket price); but there is no meaningful story, and in the end quite unsatisfying.

26 October 2014

War Horse

The UK's National Theatre's performance of War Horse has had rave reviews and the marketing hype for the South African performances has been like no other theatre performance. The hype is definitely warranted - this is certainly one of the best live performances (of any genre) I have attended.

Part of the spectacle, is off course the puppets - especially the large horse puppets - whose movements are so well crafted, that the puppeteers blend into the background; and are completely unobtrusive. This is not Punch and Judy - the puppets manage to convey amazing emotion, and natural movement; and presence -  that it is sometimes easy to forget that these are actually puppets.

 Backing the puppeteers amazing craft, is a superb cast of actors and lighting and stage effects - that manage to completely portray the horrors and cruelty of war. It is a visual feast, that sucks the audience in completely. It is a great story - but it is amazing creativity that has managed to translate the story so completely for a stage performance.