What: Opus Orchestra
When: Sunday
Where: Civic Theatre

Everything came together splendidly for Opus' Connections concert and all the elements for success were there.

The orchestra was in fine form, the guest conductor came with a high reputation and two outstanding soloists combined youthful vitality and musical maturity.

Holly Mathieson was a fine choice to direct the players. She seemed to have a real empathy for the players, coaxed rather than drove them, and had a firm grasp on what was needed for the rewarding programme.

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Mozart's Symphony No. 25, his first in a tragic style, got most of the drama and dynamic contrasts it deserved but the finale faded out when it lacked intensity.

Eve de Castro-Robinson's Releasing the Angel was inspired by the concept of a sculptor releasing a carved work from a block of marble.

Edward King's expressive cello which represented an emerging angel, and ethereal sounds from a variety of percussion instruments were utterly enthralling.

Brahms' Double Concerto seldom appears in concert halls but violinist Amalia Hall and cellist Edward King showed that with such capable soloists it deserves to be included in programmes frequently.

Their performance was captivating for their instrumental skills of a high order, and a close understanding let them bring out the rich textures and beauty of the work.

- By Hanno Fairburn