Under a warm and lowering sky, an audience of 800 gathered for an evening of music and song at Piano in the Vines.

Apart from a few fat drops, the rain held off and we settled in for a fabulous evening.

This is the first event of its kind to be held in the amphitheatre at Black Barn and was a mix of classical concertos, Broadway favourites and cross-over classical jazz.

Piano in the Vines is the dream child of Geoff Vautier, a relative newcomer to Hawke's Bay who loves his music and plays piano for his own pleasure.

Advertisement

Three years ago he began sketching out his plan, culminating in the stunning performances by four young, talented musicians.

This was Vautier's dream and then, during the interval, he took the breath away from the audience and his partner, Mary, by proposing marriage to her on stage; another dream.

The concert grand piano had been carefully transported from the Hawke's Bay Opera House and was greeted by the crowd with much pleasure.

A highlight of the evening was Ludwig Treviranus' interpretation of Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven as advancing deafness threatened his career, it was a deeply moving, empathetic rendition of the sadness felt by the composer.

Treviranus has a doctorate in music from Florida University. He is an international concert pianist and a consummate teacher of piano.

As Vautier's piano teacher, the pair planned the event and they drew together the group of performers from Treviranus' cohort of young classical musicians. The rapport between them was evident on stage.

His old Auckland University mate, Bonaventure (Bonnie) Allan-Moetaua is one of the Three Tenors and a Soprano group.

With his Pedro the fisherman he had the crowd puckering up to whistle the tune in a delightful example of audience participation.

He's a tenor with a wide repertoire who has performed throughout New Zealand and has a played a leading role in the Operatunity series.

International concert pianist Maria Mo has toured throughout New Zealand to critical acclaim, with international performances in Australia, the UK and Europe. Elegant in her silky-satin gowns and so graceful to watch, she played piano duets with Ludwig and surprised us all after the interval with a sultry cabaret in duet with Bonnie, a rendition of the Irving Berlin favourite Cheek to Cheek.

Amalia Hall, an international concert violinist is a brilliant performer and stunning to watch as she interpreted the Sonata in A Major by Franck.

Hall has won numerous international competitions, including first prize at the Postacchini International Violin Competition, and has won major awards in New Zealand.

Her solo performances with the major New Zealand orchestras are regularly broadcast on the Radio New Zealand concert programme.

Piano in the Vines
Black Barn Amphitheatre, Havelock North
Saturday, February 27
Reviewed by Kay Bazzard