Newsletter 14 June 2005
The Cape season of Cape Town Opera’s production of Show Boat, during which the Cape Philharmonic was conducted by Günter Wallner, has just ended.
Later this month, the members of the orchestra will take their well-deserved annual leave before they start on a taxing few months of highlight events.
This “mass” holiday bears some thought. Why? Because it is one of the things that make playing in a symphony orchestra different from other jobs – not only are the members called upon to provide the entertainment that the rest of us enjoy in the evenings and over weekends, but they also have little choice in when they are allowed to take their annual leave – and they all have to take it at the same time. So we wish them all a well-deserved rest together with their families.
Two highlights of this semester’s musical programme will take place during the last week of July.
City Hall Celebrations
The first of these events takes place on Sunday, 24 July, when the CPO will celebrate a century of music in the City Hall with a gala concert in collaboration with the Cape Organ Guild and the City of Cape Town.
This will mark exactly 100 years to the day the inauguration of this wonderful concert hall and the grand organ.
The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined by young musicians from the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the St George’s massed choir under direction of Dr Barry Smith, when they perform a programme that includes “Three Dances from Henry VIII” by Edward German (1862- 1936), a work that also appeared on the original programme a century ago.
Since 1914, Cape Town has enjoyed the services of an orchestra in a concert hall that is acoustically ideal for symphonic music. The CPO is eager to reclaim the concert hall as a premier music venue, in spite of the fact that the interior of the building desperately needs an overhaul.
We at the CPO therefore believe that the rejuvenation of the East City precinct, which includes the Grand Parade, the Castle of Good Hope and other important cultural landmarks, should be a priority. This will complement the plan to bring people back to the Central Business District and help to reclaim this historic part of the city as a cultural precinct where patrons can enjoy secure parking and attend concerts in a restored concert hall with world-class amenities.
Off to Europe
Five days after the City Hall celebrations, on July 29, follows the second of the two highlight events when the CPO, together with Cape Town Opera, makes its European debut in the State Theatre in Nuremberg, Germany. The Cape production of Show Boat is being staged as an international touring production in association with Staatstheater Nürnberg and Den Norske Opera of Norway. The orchestra will be performing with Cape Town Opera for 22 performances of the musical in Nuremberg. They then return to Cape Town for the next symphony season, while the opera company travels to Norway.
Originally, Cape Town Opera and the CPO were invited to present Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess as part of an exchange agreement that also made the performance of Fidelio on Robben Island possible last year. However, the copyright for Porgy and Bess for Europe had already been awarded and the choice then fell on Show Boat as an appropriate vehicle to highlight the talents of our local performers.
News from the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is that they are looking forward to a special weekend camp that takes place on 18 and 19 June at the YMCA camp site in Hout Bay. We trust that our young stars will enjoy this experience.
As mentioned earlier, members of the Youth Orchestra will also participate in the City Hall Gala Concert on 24 July. We believe it will be fitting that our leading musicians of tomorrow will form part of such an important event in the city: it illustrates the continuity and vibrancy of the cultural life of our city.
Media and PR support
After the sad loss of Coenie Meyer a few months ago, the CPO has appointed Lia Labuschagne of Extra Hands PR to handle media liaison and public relations support. Readers of the newsletter are welcome to direct relevant questions, comments and suggestions to Lia at email@example.com.
In July our communication efforts will be strengthened further when Marieke Gevers, a student from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, joins us. Her work at the orchestra will form part of the practical part of her studies.