Wednesday, March 06, 2019

RMB Starlight Concert at Vergelegen - the Concert

One of the high points of our year is an invitation to the RMB Starlight Concert which took place last Friday and Saturday night at Vergelegen. This was the 21st year of this spectacular concert; the invited performers never cease to amaze and delight
Guests enter through the 18th Century Vergelegen Manor House
and are greeted by the view between the ancient camphor trees across the lawn to the amphitheatre
Before the main concert begins, RMB has to seat 750 invited couples so, while that was taking place, we were entertained by The Bruckner University Big Band from Linz in Austria who are on tour in South Africa. Christian Radovan is the Director and the singer is Christina Kerschner. They really had the place jumping with their Swing jazz
The concert began at 7.30 and was opened by James Formby, the CEO of Rand Merchant Bank
The concert was once again an Afro-symphonic tribute to our country and its diverse musical talents
and also a celebration of 20 years of the Cape Town Opera Chorus
The orchestra is the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Richard Cock
who led us all in a rousing version of the South African National Anthem
This was followed by the Hebrew Slaves chorus from the opera Nabucco
performed by the Cape Town Opera chorus and the Drakensberg Boys Choir, very moving indeed
And then came a rousing version of "Votre Toast" from the opera Carmen (you may know it better as The Toreador song)
by prize winning young star Bongani Kubheka
He has a powerful and exceptional baritone voice and a great stage presence
We hope to see and hear much more of him and his talent
Then Libertango played by Professor Karendra Devroop on the Saxophone
He is also known for his work on the South African Music Outreach Project
He was accompanied by a couple dancing a feverish tango
And then a song familiar to everyone and a compulsion to sing along. Tenor Sipho Fubesi gave us Funiculi Funicula, a Neapolitan song composed in 1880 by Luigi Denza to lyrics by Peppino Turco. In its first year the sheet music sold over a million copies, astounding for those times
Next a few songs from the musical Chicago by members of its local cast Craig Urbani and Samantha Peo
First we had All That Jazz
 He sang Razzle Dazzle accompanied by dancers from the Cape Town Ballet Company
and she sang The Cell Block Tango
What is a murmuration? Conductor Richard Cock asked the audience. It is the wondrous flocking behaviour of starlings at sunset. Canadian composer Jordan Pal has written a piece of music and we watched entranced as it was played by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and we watched a video of starlings in their fantastic flights of fancy
Popular Afrikaans singing phenomenon Refentse Morake was next
He sang three popular songs, two in Afrikaans ... One was Sonvanger (Suncatcher) from his album,
which went Gold almost immediately it was released
... and, accompanied by the Drakensberg Boys Choir, Ha La La. We all wanted to jump up and dance along with them
It's a magical song and it was a magical performance
And then it went up another notch. Singer Zoe Modiga gave us one of the most powerful performances of Ravel's Bolero with Xhosa lyrics, known as Lonlon. Her voice is superb and it was a captivating performance and the best arrangement we have ever heard
Supported by the Chorus of the Cape Town Opera
Another entrancing performance by the Drakensberg Boys Choir
The Conquest of Paradise from The Mission by Greek composer Vangelis
And then the headlining group Micasa took the stage and performed some of their songs
And were then joined by other members of the cast and choirs ...
... in a rousing send off to Interval. We felt like we had seen the whole concert but there was more to come after half an hour
Friends Mike and Renée Bampfield Duggan in the audience
After a rousing start with Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture played by the Orchestra, three young singers from The Drakensberg Boys Choir took centre stage for an achingly beautiful rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu. Three superb soprano voices but the lad in the middle gave us goose bumps, he was so special
And then some fun. The serving staff came down the central aisles, all clutching bottles of Vergelegen's MMV Brut [Reserve] 2014. And with the Champagne Song from The Merry Widow playing, they were instructed to pop the corks at the same time. Many did, but some of the corks held tight for a little while. Then joy of joys, glasses of this beautiful new bubbly were passed down the rows so we could indeed raise them to the music. Whoever had this great idea is a genius. What an amazing MCC
Hope the singers had some in their glasses too
The bottle
Great graphics made us all feel we were in that palace
And then it was time for us to light our candles and raise them to Bongani Khubeka singing Stars, a new song
Oh look what the camera caught! Romance by starlight
Always a beautiful sight
Samantha Peo sang Imagine by John Lennon
And we had What a Wonderful World
More performers joined the stage and the singing.
Three Divas singing songs from Aretha Franklin
Respect!
And they nearly brought the house down with songs from Bob Marley
A lovely version of You Look Perfect by J'Something of Mi Casa
and from Andiswa Makana a haunting version of the Song to the Moon from Rusalka by Dvorák
The final numbers were Mi Casa with the whole ensemble and of course we had some encores. What a night, what a concert
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