Beethoven - but not as you know him

By Cindy McQuade

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Opus is back in town with a dramatic concert featuring Flight of the Conchords actor Nigel Collins. Photo / Ashley Hopkins
Opus is back in town with a dramatic concert featuring Flight of the Conchords actor Nigel Collins. Photo / Ashley Hopkins

A programme full to the brim with drama and poetic flair is presented when the Opus Orchestra performs Inside Beethoven on Sunday.

"Take one superb soprano, a top trumpeter, add a rarely heard masterpiece and finish with a little fame from Flight of the Conchords to create Opus Orchestra's March concert - Inside Beethoven. The programme is full to the brim with drama and poetic flair, and presents Beethoven as never heard before," said orchestra violinist, Sharon Stephens.

Beethoven's powerful Egmont Overture and Incidental Music will be performed for the concert.

While the overture is a famous gem, the incidental music, which was originally composed for the German writer Goethe's dramatic play Egmont, is a rarely heard masterpiece.

The play is a tragedy based on the life of heroic Dutch nobleman Count Egmont, who is eventually imprisoned for his fight against oppression.

Well-known Hamilton soprano Jane Tankersley sings a passionate and despairing "Clara" - Egmont's wife.

"Opus is very excited to present actor/singer/cellist Nigel Collins from Flight of the Conchords, who will narrate a theatrical summary of the melodramatic tragedy," said Mrs Stephens.

Opus musical director Peter Walls said, to do the Egmont narration well, you need a good actor who is also trained as a musician. Collins has a flair for developing great audience rapport and is perfect for the job, said Walls.

"The narrator has to bring to life the original play by Goethe and, thus, to give the audience an insight into what lies behind Beethoven's excitingly dramatic score.

"He also has to perform as Egmont (a Dutch hero who inspired his people to resist the occupation by Spanish imperial forces) in a melodrama - a script that is carefully integrated into the music."

Opening the concert is Mendelssohn's Fair Melusine. Mendelssohn intended this as a replacement overture for an opera based on ancient legend about the beautiful half-human, half-mermaid Melusine.

Jane Tankersley also takes centre-stage alongside Opus principal trumpet, Bill Stoneham, for Bach's cantata Jauchzet.


* What: Inside Beethoven

* Where: Rotorua Civic Theatre

* When: Sunday 2pm

* Tickets: Ph 0800 111 999

- Rotorua Daily Post

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