25 September 2015

Opera meets gut

It's always such a joy to catch Australian Haydn Ensemble. Admittedly they are friends and almost like family, but also because their music is intimate and dignified, light and joyous, and played with great ease and refinement. I follow Jacqueline, of course, bassist, quick and bouncy when required (which is often enough with music of this era) or easy and rich. She was paired this day with cellist Anton and the pairing worked a treat. Then our local import, Erin, conducting from the harpsichord chair, and leader Skye and second violin Matthew and viola James. And that period flute tone from Melissa. The whole works as a lovely team but the programs are also something to note. Each performance has a theme, often featuring obscure names, other times inviting guests. This time it was a fully Haydn program, with a Michael Haydn string quartet to start, then a symphony and two arias from Joseph.. Visiting soprano Celeste Lazarenko sat in for the arias and a surprise Mozart song as encore. Celeste replaced Taryn Fiebig and the Haydn/Hasse program at the last minute when Taryn came down sick. Some practices - and presumably some trepidation - later, and the performance was sweet and neat. Celeste's soprano is firm and strong (she's a principal of Opera Australia so sings in big company) and a challenge for the sweet period tones of gut, but it worked a treat. I loved her voice, loved the carefully responding musicians, Erin's casual guidance, the bouncing bows and the just-present plucks of harpsichord and diverse tones of melody from violin and flute. AHE are always a great pleasure and this was there with the best.

Australian Haydn Ensemble played at Wesley Church. AHE comprised Erin Helyard (guest director, harpsichord), Celeste Lazarenko (guest soprano), Skye McIntosh (artistic director, violin), Melissa Farrow (flute), Matthew Greco (violin), James Eccles (viola), Anton Baba (cello), Jacqueline Dossor (bass) Australian Haydn Ens, Erin Helyard, Celeste Lazarenko, Skye McIntosh, Melissa Farrow, Matthew Greco, James Eccles, Anton Baba, Jacqueline Dossor

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