Thursday, March 17, 2016

A fabulous evening with Richard Cock, Pretty Yende & Hugh Masekela at The RMB Starlight Concert, Vergelegen

This annual concert, held at Vergelegen, just gets better and better each year. This year the headliners included South African opera diva Pretty Yende. She has starred at nearly all of the major opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (where she is resident), Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Paris Opera. Bra Hugh Masekela also topped the bill with his brand of SA jazz and delighted us with his humour and his trumpet. And, yes, he did play Grazing in the Grass, his #1 smash hit in 1968
Conductor Richard Cock with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra started with the National Anthem and then continued the programme with the stirring theme from Star Wars
We were asked to arrive at Vergelegen at 5, checked in and handed over our passes and then proceeded through Lady Phillips’ magnificent garden to the Manor House
There are huge, ancient camphor trees on the estate
The paying audience is seated on the lawn at the rear of the concert area
RMB's guests meet on the lawn next to the Manor House and drinks and canapés are served while we meet and greet
On offer was the appropriately named Starlight Brut MCC from Villiera. This has an alcohol content of only 9.2%/vol
Smoked salmon canapés
More canapés being served by smiling staff
Rare beef topped with cranberry jelly
Lots and lots of glasses, as there are several hundred RMB guests. You could also order beer, spirits or Vergelegen wine
The rose garden is a perfect picture this time of the year
Behind the barrier are the patient ticket holders who picnic before the concert
RMB guests on the provided chairs
Maestro Richard Cock
RMB welcomes us. All money raised at the concerts goes to charity
The show began with the impressive Mzansi Youth Choir
Soprano Pretty Yende
She also sang the famous duet O soave fanciulla from Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème with tenor Stefan Louw. It was very beautiful, she has such range and depth to her voice
The audience loved Bra Hugh Masekela ...
... and gave him a standing ovation
Mzansi Youth Choir in their colourful costumes
Hugh Masekela captivating us with some classics
and joining in with other members of the cast
The audience is on our feet and rocking with Bra Hugh
Another Aria from Pretty Yende
She sang "Vilja's Song" from The Merry Widow by Franz Lehar with help from the audience, who had to join in for a chorus, loved it and sang along loudly
Not only song, but dance too
with singers performing All about the Bass
The Mzansi Youth Choir gave us some wonderful Cape songs, including Daar Kom die Alibama, January February March and Laurika Rauch’s Stuur Groete Aan Mannetjies Roux
An amazing rendition of Summer Time from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess by Pretty Yende and Hugh Masekela
and we lit our candles to make it a truly starlit evening and we sang along to John Lennon’s song Imagine. Very emotional indeed
Lots of light, bright sides
Raise your candles if you like the song or the singer
This young man, Jeremy Olivier (who is a finalist on The Voice SA on Lira's team) sang 'All of Me' beautifully
Bra Hugh doing what he does best, entertaining on his trumpet
Pretty Yende sings Barcelona with a very talented young singer, Monde Msutwana, who took Freddy Mercury’s part. She reached notes (and sustained them) that one did not know were possible
Sadly, this year, we were not given programmes, so we did not get the names of all the performers, which was a pity
One almost felt the Olympic spirit
The lighting and effects all evening were amazing and so well choreographed to fit the music
The final encore. Melanie Scholtz belting out a number
Pretty joining in
and she is joined by Bra Hugh
Bows, loud applause and calls of MORE!
The entire cast takes a bow, including our two conductors for the evening
This was shameful. Normally, everyone clears up after themselves, but not this time. We were given rubbish bags and asked to take everything with us. And this was in the Pound seats and was left by the guests of RMB
No one rushes to go home, as there is often a huge traffic jam outside as the concert audience rushes home. So we were invited for dessert, port, coffee and drinks under the trees. Thank heavens for Uber and our AirBnB in Somerset West!
Assorted macaroons beautifully presented
Boards groaning with dessert options: chocolate and raspberry tarts, lemon tarts, rather dry red velvet cakes
The amazing, ancient Camphor trees, looking like Ents under the spotlights
Dismantling the set and some just don't want to leave
Going home down the pathway between the sculpted antelopes
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus
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