The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's Tuscan Summer concert promised a festival of Italian sumptuousness with a poster featuring a double-headed gelato dripping down its cone.
Drawing on smaller orchestral forces, this trip to Italy was a rather lacklustre coda for a season that included the triumph of Pietari Inkinen's Beethoven cycle and soloists such as Alisa Weilerstein and Hakan Hardenberger.
The opener, a neatly turned Overture to Rossini's The Barber of Seville could well have been a little more scampish. Would that the flamboyant gestures of conductor Junichi Hirokami had carried through into the music that we heard.
An indisposed soloist is the nightmare of every orchestra and Stefan Jackiw was not able to keep his commitment to play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.
Touted rather extravagantly as a "rock star" and "a talent off the scale", the American violinist might have seemed a hard act to follow.
All was not lost, however, and concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppanen stepped in at two days' notice.
Eleventh-hour pressures occasionally took their toll in virtuoso passages, but Leppanen, playing from memory, showed an individual and thoughtful response to the score. The nicest moment? The warm blend of soloist and colleagues in the first movement's second theme.
Rossini made a second appearance after interval in five short pieces arranged by Benjamin Britten as his Soirees musicales.
These may have been well enough played, but they were lamentably light fare, even if choreographer George Balanchine validated these arrangements for the ballet theatre.
Mendelssohn returned as well, with his Italian Symphony, one of the most celebrated instances of a Northerner looking enviously south to the land of sunshine and saltarellos.
When the composer claimed that it was the merriest piece to come from his pen, he wasn't lying.
Apart from an irritating tendency for violin lines to be submerged by enthusiastic tutti, it all danced along cheerily enough, right through to that closing saltarello.
The orchestra was well-groomed and, despite the extrovert carry-on of Hirokami, one suspects these able musicians could have delivered all by themselves.
What: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Where: Auckland Town Hall.