Elton John mesmerises 5,000 fans
Capital C: Concerts: Elton John Sold Out in Dunedin!
Capital C: Concerts: Elton John Sold Out in Dunedin!
The final tickets to Elton John’s concert this Friday have gone! Thirty five and a half thousand seats have been sold with a maximum possible seated capacity at Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Capital C: Concerts stated that everyone associated with this concert is ecstatic that the event will herald in an exciting future for the venue and the city.
Promoter, Phil Sprey says, “We have been working with the management at Dunedin Venues for nearly two years and have gone well beyond what our competition would ever have even contemplated to make this first; major concert a lifetime experience. We don’t take short cuts and have spent more money than we ever have before to ensure the audience gets the absolute best.”
Capital C: Concerts went further to say that they will be preparing a special report post-concert to explore the positives and negatives surrounding the event so that all concerned can learn for future concerts.
Instead, they settled for Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, a regional production of which is now on stage at the Kelsey Theatre through Nov. 27.
The musical had a reasonably successful Broadway run from 2000 to 2004, although not nearly as successful as John and Rice’s The Lion King, which seems to be running forever. If you’re a fool for a great musical, Aida will be mildly satisfying. It’s a fairly pedestrian and ultimately tragic love story, which is an appropriate canvas for an opera, and for some high-powered musicals like Rent, which is itself an adaptation of La Boheme.
There’s little humor or wit in this Aida. On the other hand, there’s a lot of sentiment. Boy meets girl from the enemy camp, they fall in love and — surprise — they die. It’s a variant of Romeo and Juliet. Giuseppe Verdi hung one of opera’s great scores on the original plot by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Elton John and Tim Rice hang one of pop music’s most eclectic scores on a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Wang. Along with Elton John’s recognizable pop style, you get a smattering of reggae, Motown, and even gospel.
Maurer Productions OnStage produced the Kelsey Theatre Aida, directed by DanMaurer, with a small orchestra of woodwinds, guitars and percussion, conducted from the keyboard by musical director Tony Di Dia. The all-singing, all-dancing cast is large enough to have built a pyramid.
Aida is spared from hard labor when Radames makes her the handmaiden of Amneris. Behind the scenes, Radames’ father, Zoser (Brian Meltzer), is plotting his son’s accession to the throne by poisoning the Pharaoh (Scott Karlin) with arsenic (a neat trick, since the element wasn’t isolated until 1250).
Things get tangled when the Nubians, with the help of Radames’ servant Mereb (J. Scott), recognize their princess and want her to lead them in revolt. Meanwhile, Radames has fallen in love with Aida, and under her influence, he begins to divest himself of all his possessions. Of course, Amneris can’t fathom why he’s become so emotionally distant.
After the Egyptian army captures Aida’s father (Allwyn Baskin), Radames and Aida are caught in a bind. Their mutual love brands them as traitors to their people and the two are doomed to share the same fate, entombed forever together.
The two standouts in this cast are Ms. Suskind as Amneris and Ms. Mohan as Aida. Ms. Suskind’s vocal strength is evident from the opening. She descends from the throne in a museum display (the frame setting for the tale), resplendent in satiny, crimson Egyptian garb, and sings “Every Story Is a Love Story.” In Act 2, when Amneris realizes her nuptials are not to be, she sings a very affecting “I Know the Truth.”
Mohan is by far the strongest vocalist in the cast, with power and range to go with her acting skills. She shows it off in Aida’s duet with Radames in Act 1, when the two declare their love, “Elaborate Lives” (reprised in Act 2), and in the “gospel” number with the Nubians to end the first act, “The Gods Love Nubia.” As her lover, Radames, Mr. Coppolecchia displays power in his solos in Act 1 (“Fortune Favors the Brave”) and Act 2 (“Radames’ Letter”), compromised only by a somewhat unsteady upper range.
Although there were a lot of dance numbers, choreographed by Jane Coult, this part of the performance was less inspired than the singing — the dancers seemed to have stepped off a two-dimensional Egyptian stele. Sound design by Dan Maurer was intriguing, hampered only by Kelsey’s dodgy sound system, with some unaccountable distortion and buzzing, which was eventually fixed by Act 2.
Other strengths in this production were the modular sets by John Maurer (with rear projections suggesting starry skies and the banks of the Nile), lighting by Kitty Getlick, and varied and elaborate costuming by John Maurer, Diana Gilman Maurer and Tina Heinze.
If you’re an Elton John fan, this pop score will appeal to you. For classical music lovers, however, this is Aida Lite — Verdi would not be amused.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida continues at the Kelsey Theatre on the Mercer County Community College campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, Nov. 25 and 26 at 8 p.m., Nov. 27 at p.m. Tickets are $20. For information, 609-570-3333 or www.kelseyatmccc.org.
George Michael has been forced to postpone two concerts after falling ill with pneumonia.
The singer was due to perform at the gigs in Cardiff this weekend as part of his Symphonica tour.
He recently postponed dates in Vienna, London and Strasbourg after being diagnosed, and is currently receiving treatment.
His spokeswoman said rescheduled dates "will be provided when available".
Earlier this month the star played a special gig at London's Royal Opera House, which raised money for Sir Elton John's Aids Foundation.
An audience including Sir Elton, David Walliams, Kylie Minogue and James Corden were at the show in which the former Wham! singer was accompanied by a symphony orchestra.
Elton John support act enthralls pupils
Dunedin school pupils got a sneak preview this week of tonight's Elton John concert.
Auckland guitarist Kara Gordon, who will open the concert for Sir Elton, held a guitar master class for year 9 and 10 music pupils at Logan Park High School.
His party piece included playing guitar with his teeth, behind his head and even playing the piano on the guitar.
"Music can be a serious business, but you also have to enjoy the fun of it," he told the transfixed pupils.
Gordon (30) has supported international music stars, including Joe Satriani, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Poison, Whitesnake and Ozzie Osbourne.
Satriani later said Gordon was "one of the most prolific young players I've ever seen", while United States band Living Colour founder Vernon Reid described him as "Jimi Hendrix reincarnated".
Gordon plans to play his Hendrix-inspired New Zealand national anthem, based on Hendrix's electric Star Spangled Banneranthem.
"I'll be playing a whole medley of different guitar things. There'll be a lot of classic guitar hero stuff and there's a bit of a surprise thing at the end," he said.
"This will probably be my biggest gig. I opened for Ozzy Osbourne in front of 30,000. But, this is me versus 33,000 people."
Gordon stressed to the pupils the dedication needed to get to the top, including practising between five and 10 hours a day.
"I didn't have much of a social life when I was a kid. While everyone else was out at rugby parties I'd be at home noodling away on my guitar," he said.
"You learn the technique and the theory side and combine those worlds, and before you know it you're having a whole lot of fun with it."
And the rewards - such as his sponsored Kara Gordon signature model guitar, made of 35,000-year-old swamp kauri and inlaid with paua, by New Zealand manufacturer Langcaster - can be substantial.
"One minute I was playing on a $20 op shop guitar my dad got me and the next I'm standing here with a custom Langcaster."
The visit was organised by Dunedin musician Craig Sinclair, who played with Gordon in Auckland earlier this year.
"Kids this age just don't get to see guys like this. He's a truly world-class guitarist," Sinclair said.
Gordon will also perform with the Kara Gordon Trio tomorrow from 10.30pm at Craft Bar.