Bridgetines bring magic to the stage
t was Shakespeare who said "If music be the food of
love, play on". Had he heard the Bridgetine choir in action
at the above show, he would have added "sing on, dance on"
Song as a means
of communication is among the most effective, as it has the potential
to take even the most ordinary of thoughts, ideas and expressions,
and convert them into a transmission almost sublime in its effect.
It moves the emotions more powerfully than a speech or a recital.
This is the magic of song, and it was this magic that was evidenced
in the performance of this young choir.
a true convent atmosphere, with songs from the "Sound of Music"
the choir went on to display a diversity of talent that was thrilling
to watch, as they went from being nuns to disco dancers to Indians
and many more, all in the space of one and a half hours. It is to
their credit that they were in perfect character and brought out
the appropriate mood in each scene that they portrayed. This reviewer
was especially impressed by the yodelling song from Sound of Music,
which is almost always left out of concerts, perhaps due to the
level of difficulty it presents. It was not only sung well, but
also choreographed artistically.
to the choir in action, whether in the group singing, or in the
solos, there was never a feeling that something was missing, which
is what usually happens when an all-female choir takes to the stage.
This choir handled four-part harmonies with the zest and confidence
as if it was the easiest of undertakings, and in doing so, kept
the audience spellbound from beginning to end. The concert programme
was also designed in such a way as to allow the choir time to take
their costume changes, as the soloists performed at those times.
Hence, there was no break, either in continuity or momentum.
were all convincing as they had taken time to understand the context
of the words they were singing, and were able to bring out the sub
textual meanings of the words as well. Special mention must be made
of the soloists who performed "Memory", "Cabaret",
and "Can't Help Lovin' dat Man". They displayed a maturity
and sensitivity far above anything one would expect from a schoolgirl.
It was apparent that the director had extracted the very best and
something more, from these young performers.
to external effects, this reviewer was particularly impressed by
the costumes, considering the tight costume budget that had to be
worked with. The costumes in "ABBA" deserve special comment,
as they were reminiscent of the seventies, and really helped to
set the mood for the lively singing and energetic dancing that followed.
- enhanced the performance by providing a realistic atmosphere for
each scene - from the soft lighting in the convent scene, to the
flashy disco lights in ABBA. The musical accompaniment was spot
to the entire production team including the backstage crew, for
a disciplined and professional job behind the scenes.
it was a truly uplifting experience, and all those who left the
performance would have taken a little bit of the magic of the Bridgetines
away with them.
to the sound of organs
Marisa de Silva
"From the Movies" an evening of song and dance
will go on the boards at the Bishops College auditorium on
July 5 and 6. Shyama Perera, Director of the Academy of Organ Music,
after her recent success of performing at the Victoria Theatre,
Singapore earlier this year is hard at work with her 160 students
ranging from 6-18, who will play songs from around 40 popular musicals.
classics from movies like the 'Sound of Music', 'Grease', 'Fiddler
on the Roof' and 'Summer Place' are just a snippet of what's in
store for audiences of all ages next weekend.
feature of this concert is that each and every one of my students
is getting an opportunity to show off their talents," says
talented dancers and singers, not directly attached to the Academy
will also perform at this concert, backed by Shyama's students.
be at least 10 organs on the stage at any given time and each item
will smoothly flow from one to another, she explains.
A full orchestral
effect can be simulated on the organ so, it would seem like there
are many instruments backing the performing artistes, when in fact
there would only be the organs, she adds.
Swasha who is helping her with the choreography will be seen in
a dance act on her own from one of the hit movies of the 80s, 'Flash
'From the Movies'
should prove to be an enjoyable evening for the whole family.
An old man in
search of reality beyond himself
Old Man" - a musical-dramatic sketch with Mark Amerasinghe
as narrator and Valentine Basnayake at the piano at the Alliance
Francaise on June 12.
When I entered
the auditorium a few minutes late it did not look promising. The
narrator was seated and reading sedately from a script. The pianist
slouched before the keyboard seemed half asleep. To make matters
worse, the narrator was in the process of ridiculing the old man's
efforts at composition as formless and graceless.
When the old
man began to play excerpts from his compositions you could understand
the reason for his neighbour's objections. For the music was unlike
anything you might have expected at the end of the penultimate decade
of the 19th century, at which the narrative had been set. It was
at once amorphous, unmelodious and deeply chromatic almost to the
point of dissonance.
But it was
strangely compelling. And long before the narrator was forced to
admit that there might be a method to the old man's madness, we
had come to realise that his music had a beauty and power of its
own in spite of its fragmentariness and its rejection of the conventional
harmonic and melodic resolutions. It was the music of an old man
who had seen the dreams and illusions of youth and the prime of
life shattered and was searching, through composition, to express
love and to preserve a meaning to life. "These fragments,"
he seemed to be saying in his music as Eliot did in poetry, "I
have shored against my ruins."
We were astounded
to learn at the end of the narrative that the old man was Franz
Liszt. This was a side of Liszt we had not dreamt of, the music
of his last few years when he had retired from public life and was
no longer the romantic exhibitionist but one in search of a reality
beyond himself. The result was a modernity well ahead of its time,
the effects both impressionistic and expressionistic, the seeming
abandonment of tonality, the flashes of the whole tone scale etc.,
all anticipating the revolution that Debussy, Schoenberg and others
were to bring about in the next century. They must surely have been
influenced by this last phase of Liszt, and here was yet another
link in the great chain of the musical tradition.
narration was polished and sensitive. His singing of the poem, "Be
Still", did exquisite justice to the poignantly sparse beauty
of the song with accompaniment that Liszt had made of it. Valentine
Basnayake's rendition of the music of these last years was truly
striking. He maintained throughout the illusion of the old man lost
in his music, hardly changing his posture or glancing at the score.
In so doing he achieved an expressiveness that was startling for
its technical virtuosity as much as for its interpretative insight.
There was no doubt that he identified closely with this final phase
of Liszt's creativity, and we are grateful for the revelation that
his enthusiasm afforded us.
- Priya David
Indian art with
of visual art, organized by Gangcey will be held at the Lionel Wendt
Art Gallery, Colombo from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. from July 5-7.
artists from India will participate and some of them will be in
Sri Lanka during the time of the exhibition. These young artists
who hail from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, have been mainly inspired
by the influences of tribal art.
is to make this activity a meaningful experience within Sri Lankan
art, say Manoranjana Herath and Sanjeewa Liyanage, both talented
artists who have organised this project.
by Dee Cee
had a warm heart
Listening to Sam Wijesinha, former Secretary-General of Parliament
is always a treat. He is knowledgeable, informative, thorough and
interesting. The D. R. Wijewardene Memorial Award evening was no
He had a lot
to say about the greatest newspaperman in Sri Lanka's history of
journalism. He talked about his personal life, working life and
the tempo of the country in the Wijewardene era.
with a warm heart and a cold exterior" was how he introduced
the founder of Lake House. Describing him as "a hard task master",
Sam Wijesinha pinpointed three qualities he looked for in his employees
- opportunity, capacity and loyalty. "He spoke very little.
Even at a party, he kept silent. It was a treat to draw out DR to
speak," he said.
the journalists who worked for Wijewardene in the early days, he
mentioned Manikkam Saravanamuttu who joined the 'Sunday Observer'
as Sports Editor, who had returned from Oxford where he had played
cricket there. Sam Wijesinha had an interesting story to relate
of how sharp Wijewardene was. Once he questioned Manikkam about
a fast century his brother Sara had scored in a school match - S.
Thomas' vs St Anthony's. "In how many balls did he score the
121 runs", he asked Manikkam who replied he did it in 35 balls
and went on to give the details - 11 sixers, 10 fours, 1 two and
13 singles. Wijewardene did a quick calculation and asked how he
could get the 13 singles one after the other when he had to get
to the other side after hitting the ball!
was A. V. Kulasingham who came to Colombo from Jaffna to read law
and become an Advocate and eked out a living by writing editorials
of the 'Daily News'. Recalling that Wijewardene liked Martin Wickramasinghe
a lot, Sam Wijesinha related how he promoted the young Wickramasinghe
to rent out a house in Mount Lavinia after he got married so that
he wouldn't go home to Koggala for the week-ends.
Tarzie Vittachi had started work in the 'Daily News' in January
1948. When J. R. Jayewardene presented his first budget, Wijewardene
wanted him to write a funny piece about it. Vittachi knew it was
a tough assignment and being a witty columnist, he was sure whatever
he wrote, he would be in trouble. He did write and waited at home
the next morning without coming to office not knowing what the reaction
of the chief would be.
It was only
after the editor, H. A. J. Hulugalle called him and assured him
that the chief was pleased about what he had written, that Vittachi
came to office. Mr. Wijewardene called Tarzie and said he was raising
his salary by 50 rupees!
days from when Mr. Wijewardene was a member of the National Liberal
Club during his student days in England, Sam Wijesinha spoke of
how he was influenced by Indian national leaders like Gopal Krishna
Gokhale and Sundernath Bannerji, his contemporaries in London. Back
in Ceylon, Mr. Wijewardene was the secretary of the Liberal League
and the Ceylon Association.
was aware of the need to educate the masses and he did it through
At a time when
the English papers ('Ceylonese', 'Morning Leader' and 'Observer')
were backing politicians and British interests, he bought up the
'Dinamina' with brother D.C. The paper was being printed in Maradana
while the offices of the English papers were in Fort. In Maradana,
the surroundings were awful and Wijewardene decided to move to Fort.
When the 'Ceylonese' found it difficult to pay 21,000 rupees they
owed F. R. Senanayake, Mr. Wijewardene wanted to pay and buy it.
Mr. Senanayake asked him to bid at the auction and he got it for
16,000 rupees. He paid the balance to Mr. Senanayake.
he looked for lucidity, precision, order and method. He was also
a pioneer of welfare schemes for workers.
led a serene home life," Sam Wijesinha concluded.
Bandula Abeysekera, a young man from Matale employed at the
Bank of Ceylon won the D. R. Wijewardene Award 2002 for the best
manuscript in Sinhala fiction.
is the title of his novel which brought him the coveted Wijewardene
trophy and a cash award of 50,000 rupees which he collected from
the chief guest, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
the 18th recipient of the Wijewardene Award, which has continuously
been given from 1984.
was the 19th awards presentation, no one was awarded the prize in
1995 since there was no manuscript worthy of the award.
The first runner-up
for 2002 was W. B. D. Ranaweera who received a certificate and a
25,000 rupee cash award for his effort 'Senehasa Soya'. Tekla Pathmini
Kariyawasam was the recipient of a certificate and 10,000 rupees
for being second runner-up. Her novel was titled 'Sanda Hiru Nethi
Three of the
award-winning novels have been made into teledramas. It's rather
interesting that all three had won the award in three consecutive
years. Swarnalatha Kiriwaththuduwa's 'Isuru Soya' (1986 winner),
Jayatilleka Kammalaweera's 'Ata Avurudda' (1987) and Sarath Wijesuriya's
'Avidu Anduru (1988) are the three. While two bore the same titles
in the teledramas, 'Ata Avurudda' was presented as 'Prabhathaya'.
Anushka on bestseller
Wirasingha's books 'Visually Learn PC' and 'On Your Marks... Net......
Set........ Go! Surviving in an e-world' have been rated bestsellers
in the prestigious India Times bestseller list (www.indiatimes.com)
The two books,
'Visually Learn PC' (a fast selling favourite with a prestigious
Times ranking and one of only 20 books in the 'Computer Basics'
category to be classed bestseller) and 'On your marks ....... Net
....... Set...... Go! Surviving in an e-world' (the only bestseller
in the 'Internet' category) both published by Prentice Hall, have
gained popularity within a relatively short period of time.
To gain a bestseller
ranking is no easy task, often requiring sales of over 20,000 within
a week, a spokesman for Prentice Hall said.
This is the
first time a Sri Lankan has made it to the India Times bestseller
list and been ranked as a best-selling author at such an early stage
in his or her career.