August at the Academy

~  ZIMBABWE ACADEMY OF MUSIC  ~

&

~  PERFORMING ARTS BULAWAYO  ~

 

 

AUGUST AT THE ACADEMY

 

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Thursday 3 August    Licence to Kill [Bond 16]

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Shortly after an important drug bust, CIA agent Felix Leiter gets married, but the drug lord he arrested escapes, mutilates Leiter and has his new wife killed. His old friend, James Bond, seeks revenge but ‘M’ orders 007 to drop the matter and start a new assignment so Bond deserts Her Majesty’s Secret Service to embark on a personal vendetta and find those responsible.

  • The stunts all look convincing, and the effect of the closing sequence is exhilarating … Licence to Kill is one of the best of the recent Bonds.  [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]

Without question the most underrated film of the series. Licence to Kill is a tightly plotted thriller free of the silliness and lazy writing that often plagued the Moore years. [GQ Magazine]

  • A pure, rousingly entertaining action movie…   [Newsweek]

  • Both the toughest Bond movie ever and the most entertaining Bond movie ever. A rare entry in the series where the danger seems real.  [Fantastica Daily]

  • The thrills-and-spills chases are superbly orchestrated as the film spins at breakneck speed through its South Florida and Central American locations. [Variety]

  • No one can deny that the action scenes staged by director John Glen are some of the most spectacular of the entire series.  [TV Guide]

  • Some of 007’s earlier adventures fail to hold up, but in a post-Taken world, Licence to Kill has certainly aged well and is an under-appreciated gem in the Bond catalogue.  [Lyles’ Movie Files, November 2015]

  • Licence to Kill ranks as one of the best of the Bond films thanks to Dalton’s athletic, tough and deadly new 007.  [Philadelphia Daily News, May 2014]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Bacon steak, egg and chips: $7.00

 


 

Friday 4 August   Jewels

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.   Carriages: 9.15 p.m.

Balanchine’s ballet was first performed 50 years ago on 13 April 1967.

 

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Jewels dates from late in Balanchine’s career as a choreographer and was the first three-act plotless ballet. There is contrast in both music and style for each of the three acts which are linked only by the dancers’ dazzling costumes encrusted with coloured gems corresponding to the title of the act. For the opening Emeralds, set to music by Fauré, the dancers appear in long green tulle skirts, and the demure choreography is reminiscent of the nineteenth-century French school in its languid and flowing manner. The playful second act, Rubies, is accompanied by Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra and full of character and wit.  Its striking angular poses bring to mind the modern New York scene, even evoking movie musicals. Diamonds evokes the classical era of Imperial Russia and the dancers, dressed in flat white tutus, sparkle to movements from Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony.

Jewels will be preceded by Kenneth Macmillan’s one-act ballet, Concerto, premiered just six months before Jewels, and danced by the Royal Ballet.

  • It is open to doubt whether even George Balanchine has ever created a work in which the inspiration is so sustained, the invention so imaginative or the concept so magnificent.  [New York Times]

  • The Mariinsky is the greatest dance troupe in the world.  [Financial Times]

  • Balanchine’s 1967 creation is a dazzling stylistic potpourri of pure dance, a spectacular sight.  [Dancing Times]

  • Concerto is MacMillan threading Balanchine territory with a sweeping and romantic Pas de Deux and  the Swiss precision of a great corps de ballet, with no tutus in sight.  [The Ballet Bag]

  • Yuhui Choe and Steven McRae blaze cheerfully through the staccato opening section [of Concerto], full of light jumps, and super-fast turns; Marianela Nuñez and Rupert Pennefather bring a lustrous inwardness to the serenely beautiful slow movement.  [The Telegraph]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Beef fillet kebabs, savoury rice and vegetables. Granadilla tart.

 



Tuesday 8 August   The Kingswood College Concert Band

Girls’ College at 7.00 p.m.

Wednesday 9 August   The Kingswood College Concert Band

 

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Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The 40-strong Kingswood College Concert Band will be remembered from its very successful visit five years ago and presents two concerts with programmes that include something for everyone. There will be music by Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, songs from the shows, music from the 80s and the James

Bond films, Bohemian Rhapsody, Holst’s First Suite, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, the Billy Joel Songbook, the Hallelujah Chorus, Klezmer Karnival, ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and more!

Booking is at Girls College for the concert there and at the Academy for BOTH CONCERTS.

Tickets: $5.00  –  Scholars in uniform: $1.00  –  Academy concert is free to Red Carpet members.

 



 

Friday 11 August   Russian Music from the Proms

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.    Carriages: 9.05 p.m.

Rimsky Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky

With the Proms under way in London, here’s one in Bulawayo conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky,the first Russian conductor to be appointed head of a major Western orchestra. Considered – perhaps not surprisingly – a great interpreter of Russian orchestral music, these Prom recordings are superb examples of his art and include a thrilling performance of Rachmaninov’s First :Piano Concerto with Rozhdestvensky‘s wife Viktoria Postnikova as soloist.

  • The Soviet conductor…brought to the music an easy command and a dramatic sensibility.  [The Times]

  • Gennady Rozhdestvensky is one of Russia’s true masters of the baton…His engagement of the orchestra is equally masterful. With his subtle hands and explicit stick he draws each player into the focus of his interpretive intent. [The Guardian]

  • One of the finest Russian conductors with a real feel for the music. The Rimsky-Korsakov is beautiful. The Rachmaninov displays sensitive communication with the pianist, Viktoria Postnikova, Rozhdestvensky’s wife. It makes one wonder why this concerto is so neglected.  [Classic Archive]

  • This is a conductor who eschews all flamboyance, all the while generating performances of stunning architecture and rhythmic alertness.  [Fanfare]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Haddock pie and vegetables. Carrot cake.

 


 

Thursday 17 August   The Moonstone

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

 

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The Moonstone, a sacred Hindu diamond believed to carry a curse, was stolen from a shrine in India. In 1848, just days before her 18th birthday, Yorkshire heiress Rachel Verinder discovers the jewel has been bequeathed to her by her estranged uncle and it is delivered by a young relative, Franklin Blake, but the next morning, the jewel is gone. It falls upon the renowned detective Sergeant Cuff to attempt to unravel the mystery of the stolen diamond. Has one of the obvious suspects committed the crime, or could there be a more

sinister force at work?…

This acclaimed BBC TV adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ classic mystery, the first detective novel ever written, stars Greg Wise, Keeley Hawes and Antony Sher.

The Moonstone with its quality acting, beautiful haunting music and atmospheric scenery is well worth watching,  [PeriodDramas.com]

  • The film captures perfectly Wilkie Collin’s 19th century world and the crime which is at the heart of the story. This is great, plausible and realistic with superb acting and story telling.  [Amazon]
  • There is much to enjoy here, the scenery and settings are great, the photography and music excellent. The principal actors, Greg Wise and Keeley Hawes, are fine, playing it straight and acting their way through the twists and turns of the plot with great sincerity.  [IMDb]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Beef curry, rice and tomato and onion salad: $6.00

 



 

Friday 18 August   Donizetti: Gemma di Vergy

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.  Carriages: 9.45 p.m.

 

Gemma di Vergy dates from the middle of Donizetti’s career when he had already achieved fame and respect with Anna Bolena and L’elisir d’amore whilst Lucia di Lammermoor was just around the corner. The opera was very popular with many performances prior to 1900 but then fell out of the repertoire. A large part of the reason for this neglect is that the music Donizetti wrote for Gemma is difficult in the extreme, both in its demand on the vocalist’s technical virtuosity and on her emotional stamina – Montserrat Caballé, the first modern exponent of Gemma, sang the role in the 1970s and reportedly called it the equal of three Normas! The highly melodramatic plot concerns the Count of Vergy who has obtained an annulment of his marriage to Gemma because they have been unable to have children. Devastated, she reacts with furious intensity, threatening the Count’s intended new bride with a knife, then is driven to despair and madness following the murder of her husband by a servant who is secretly in love with her.

  • There was an outstanding interpreter of the title role in 29-year-old Maria Agresta, whose full, iridescent soprano dealt handily with the music’s demands for bel canto gracefulness as well as for Verdi-like fervour, offering some beautiful pianissimos along the way. She made a tremendous impact in her shattering closing scene.  [New York Times].

  • This production of Gemma di Vergy is the best of all operas I have seen in many, many years. Beautiful traditional costumes and sets, outstanding music and – Glory to God! – no modernisms. This is opera as conceived by the composer and not the whims of modern directors.  [Amazon]

  • Maria Agresta is a wonderful protagonist with singing so refined as to verge on perfection.  [GB Opera Magazine]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members] 

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Roast pork, roast potatoes and vegetables. Ice cream and chocolate sauce.

 


 

Thursday 24 August   Enemy at the Gates

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m..

The Germans reached Stalingrad 75 years ago on 23 August 1942.

Joseph Fiennes and Jude Law star in this riveting account of the 1942-43 Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. Talented sharpshooter Vassili is a rural youth who becomes a national hero by almost single-handedly holding back the German assault. That is, until the Nazis send a gifted marksman of their own to the besieged city, his sole mission to assassinate Vassili.

  • A mainstream movie that works well on three levels -as a psychological thriller, a love story, and as an epic account of a defining battle of the Second World War.  [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Can’t easily be dismissed or forgotten.  [New York Post]

  • A powerful and gripping story of war depicted on both its grandest and most intimate levels.  [Calgary Sun]

  • Impressive visually, with great sets and a grim feel of massive tragedy.  [Houston Chronicle]

  • It’s remarkable.  [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Trbune]

  • Elaborate, exciting and lavishly shot.  [Chicago Tribune]

  • A considerable achievement, a thinking man’s war movie with a more compelling story than that of Saving Private Ryan.  [Hollywood Reporter]

  • It’s good enough to make you want to know more.  [Contra Costa Times]

  • The action is powerful, the drama intense.  [The Mirror]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Pasta with bacon, tomato and cream sauce: $7.00

 

 



Friday 25 August   Giordano: Andrea Chénier

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.   Carriages: 9.25 p.m.

Umberto Giordano was born 150 years ago on 28 August 1867.

Andrea Chénier was a great success at its premiere at La Scala, Milan in 1896 and has remained Giordano’s most popular opera, full of heart-stopping big tunes and powerful emotional situations. If it is not as well-known as it should be, it is perhaps because in summary it sounds a little too like Puccini’s Tosca (which it preceded by four years): there is a tussle between political opponents over a woman, an attempt to save a condemned man, a tenor writing poetry on the eve of execution. The difference is that Gérard is not a villain like Scarpia, he is an idealist whom the French Revolution has betrayed as much as it has his rival, the poet Chénier. His temptation to abuse his power to seduce the virtuous Maddalena is a momentary one, though its consequences are terrible.

 

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Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House in London.

  • Andrea Chénier may not be the best-known opera in the repertoire, but rarely has it been so magnificently served as in this production.  [Tutti Magazine]

  • Kaufmann is performing the title role for the first time, and it’s hard to imagine him bettered. His striking looks make him very much the Romantic and romanticised outsider of Giordano’s vision. His voice, with its dark, liquid tone, soars through the music with refined ease and intensity: all those grand declarations of passion, whether political or erotic, hit home with terrific immediacy.  [The Guardian]

  • The Countess de Coigny in sumptuous purple satin is sung to great effect by Rosalind Plowright, as is Elena Zilio’s Madelon…never less than compelling on screen, Jonas Kaufmann is a perfect foil to Eva-Maria Westbroek’s Maddalena who wrings every last drop of emotion out of La mamma morta…but the man of the hour is Antonio Pappano who conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House as if all their lives depended on it.  [ BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****]

  • Captivating from start to finish, Giordano’s flawed masterpiece Andrea Chénier is presented in a sterling production under director David McVicar. Kaufmann’s voice is in superb condition, expressive and compellingly projected in his arias. [MusicWeb International, September 2016]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00):  Salt beef with carrots and potatoes and vegetables. Milk tart.

 


 

Monday 28 August   The Fidelio Trio

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The ”virtuosic Fidelio Trio’ (Sunday Times) are Darragh Morgan (violin), Adi Tal (cello) and Mary Dullea (piano).  Shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, the Fidelio Trio are enthusiastic champions of the piano trio genre, performing the widest possible range of repertoire on concert stages across the world; they also broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, RTÉ Lyric FM, WNYC, NPR and feature regularly on Sky Arts documentaries.

Their very generous programme is:

Beethoven: Piano Trio No.4 in D major, Op.70, No.1 – ‘Ghost’

Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor

Saint-Saëns: Piano Trio No 2 in E Minor, Op.92

The Ravel and Saint-Saëns Trios featured on the Fidelio’s latest CD release and were a Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice: ‘The Fidelio’s interpretation [of the Saint-Saëns] possesses admirable clarity and definition, polish and brio, qualities they bring also to a very different world of sound in the Ravel Trio. In both works their interpretative touch is secure, their rapport instinctive. Together with their eloquence and passion, this all adds up to something special.’  [November 2016]

Tickets: $10.00 and $5.00, free to Red Carpet members. Booking at the Academy from Monday 21 August (9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.)

Dinner will be available after the concert, cost $10.00: Stuffed roast chicken, roast potatoes, bread sauce and vegetables. Malva pudding and cream.



 

Thursday 31 August   The Last of the Mohicans

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.  [50 Club Draw; 6.45 p.m.]

The film was released 25 years ago on 26 August 1992

The Last of the Mohicans is an epic historical drama set in 1757 as the English and French battle for control of the North American colonies and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe and Jodhi May. Settlers and Indians alike are forced to take sides and Hawkeye, a white man adopted by the last members of the Mohican tribe, unwittingly becomes the protector of the two daughters of a British colonel – but they are targeted by Magua, a sadistic and vengeful Huron warrior determined to destroy the girls’ father for a past injustice.

  • An exciting, visually stunning, and satisfying epic adventure.  [TheMovieReport.com]

  • It’s the most ecstatic piece of action movie-making I’ve seen in years.  [Entertainment Weekly]

  • Incredible and flawless.  [Needcoffee.com]

  • A lush and irresistible historic adventure.  [Flipside Movie Emporium]

  • Simply terrific action film.  [Your Movies]

  • The action is richly detailed and thrillingly staged.  [Rolling Stone]

  • A spellbindingly beautiful old-fashioned epic.  [Good Morning America]

  • Big, bold, and gloriously sweeping.  [ReelViews]

  • Painstakingly, breathtakingly re-created by director Michael Mann, this landscape makes room for heroes with principles greater than the circumference of their biceps.  [Washington Post]

  • One of the best motion pictures ever made. An emotional, rich journey full of plenty of twists and turns, with the perfect hero to root for in Day-Lewis. The most impressive aspect of the entire film is perhaps director Michael Mann’s eye for scenery – this movie contains some of the most breathtaking shots in cinematic history.  [Rotten Tomatoes – 96% rating]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Fillet steak rolls,  sauce and salad: $7.00

 



Friday 1 September   Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa  

Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.    Carriages: 10.10 p.m.

Tchaikovsky’s opera Mazeppa and the poem by Pushkin that inspired it are both based on a real life historical figure, Ivan Mazeppa, the ruler of a Cossack people who early in the 1700s struck an alliance with Charles XII of Sweden, and led a Ukrainian revolt against the Russian Czar, Peter the Great. Mazeppa’s plan failed and he and Charles were defeated at the Battle of Poltava. Another more personal (and factual!) event in Mazeppa’s life also features, a decidedly operatic May-December romance between the elderly Cossack general and Mariya, the young daughter of a man Mazeppa condemns to death.

  • Mazeppa is blessed with a number of dramatic moments especially the stunning ‘Battle of Poltava’ which has Gergiev in his element. The beautiful costumes are a joy to observe and the lavish stage production is truly a visual feast.  [Classical Net]

  • The production is in the best spirit of the Mariinsky, sumptuous to look at and full of period atmosphere, a faithful attempt to match what the composer might have expected to see on stage. This is a very distinguished production and a hugely enjoyable evening.  [Penguin Guide]

  • This Kirov production from 1996 is aces all the way. The production itself is just outstanding – perhaps the best of any opera on DVD. The large staging, gigantic Russian choruses (always a plus), superb costumes, and incredible orchestra, make this a pure visual treat. And the filming (by Brian Large) is perfect with incredible sound! The singers, especially Nikolai Putilin as Mazeppa, are excellent.  [Amazon]

  • Singing and acting are exceptional in every role. The staging is grand and realistic with hundreds of costumed singing extras on stage as required. The dancing in the party scene is everything you could hope for with wild leaps, spins and jumps.  For the terrific tone poem describing the Battle of Poltava, there is even a full marching band playing on stage!  [MusicWeb-International]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members] 

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Stir fried chicken with peppers and pineapple with rice or noodles. Chocolate éclair.

 

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