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As 2013 makes its way into history, we take a look at some of the music that captured our imagination here in Sydney during the year –
The celebrations surrounding the Wagner, Verdi and Britten centenaries dominated, with the Sydney Symphony showcasing its incoming conductor David Robertson in performances of Verdi’s Requiem and a concert version of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman in the middle of the year. They followed this up in November celebrating Britten’s birth centenary with a performance of the War Requiem, conducted by outgoing conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Opera Australia turned on a feat of grand opera both in Sydney and in Melbourne with a year-long Verdi-fest, opening with A Masked Ball the very successful Ring cycle in Melbourne and Britten’s Albert Herring.
The Sydney Opera House turned 40, adding The Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw to the list of ensembles which have performed there; the Sydney Eisteddfod celebrated 80 years of talent spotting; a capella ensemble The Idea of North celebrated 30 years of impeccable music making, capping the anniversary with the 2013 ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album for Smile, keeping good company with pianist Sally Whitwell who won the 2013 ARIA for Best Classical Album All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman; vocal ensemble Halcyon turned 15 commemorating their decade and a half of performance and commissioning new works with a song writing project, Kingfisher.
Counter -tenor Philippe Jaroussky had us spellbound performing with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra; likewise violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Alisa Weilerstein who toured with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The Australian World Orchestra returned with Maestro Zubin Mehta and Pinchgut Opera surpassed itself again with Cavalli’s Giasone. The Australian Chamber Orchestra is to bring Sydney the Christmas staple J S Bach’s Christmas Oratorio having been featured on a CD Winter Morning Walks which has garnered 4 Grammy Award nominations.
Modulating to a minor key, it was announced that the SBS Youth Orchestra would fold after 25 years of nurturing and training young orchestral musicians, many of whom have progressed to careers as professionals both here and overseas. We farewelled Galina Vishnevskaya, Sir John Tavener, Robert Allman, Elke Niedhardt, Van Cliburn, Wolfgang Sawallisch, James dePriest, Henri Dutilleux and Sir Colin Davis.
It was a good year – already 2014 is beginning to preoccupy the mind with the Sydney Festival to look forward to, the summer opera season, Jonas Kauffman, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge and so much more……..
Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©