Glorious blend of dramatic songs
By Alfreda de Silva
Songs to Remember- Featuring Preshanthi Navaratnam (Soprano) and Ronald Samm (Tenor) with Orchestra: Ramya de Livera Perera (Piano), Ananda Dabare (Violin), Dushyanthi Perera (Cello) and Manilal Weerakoon (Horn).

This was a spirited and fulfilling evening at the Lionel Wendt on April 28, a mixed bag of glorious music and song with its appeal to a variety of tastes.

The towering Ronald Samm, his lungs filled with surprising resources of breath and resonance projected the opening Leoncavallo love lyric Mathinata ecstatically. Its rousing impact on the audience was instantaneous and set the pace of the evening. Ronald is an accomplished performer, notably of operatic work.

Poise, self assurance and graceful movement marked Preshanthi Navaratnam's entrance. She was singing in Colombo after a lapse of time during which she had graduated in music from the University of London and the Guildhall School of Music and participated in numerous prestigious concerts in London and North England.

She charmed the audience with Mozart's Porgi Amor (Le Nozzo Di Figaro). It was a plaint of love from countess Almaviva bemoaning her faithless husband and longing for his return.

Preshi and Ronald presented the amusing and piquant Duet of Cherries, Pietro Mascagni's Suzel Buon Di from the opera L'amico Fritz. It was received with a shower of encores from the auditorium.

Ronald's solo Recondita Armoni from Puccini's Tosca, a joyous tribute to the woman he loves from Cavaradossi, a painter was followed by Preshi's anguished plea to her heavenly father not to forsake her in her hour of grief in Vissi D'Arte from the same opera.

Concluding this segment of the programme was the duet from Verdi's Otello, Gia Nella Notta Densa, soulfully sung by Preshi and Ronald to an enthusiastic audience.

A noteworthy contribution to the evening's success was the flawless support accorded to these prestigious singers by the orchestra.

The second part of the concert opened with the orchestra's seductive and captivating interpretation of Phantasia by Frank Bridge, a superb performance of clarity and harmony.

Following this was La Serenata by Tosti, exquisitely sung by Ronald whose next number was Cardillo's admonition to Catari, an ungrateful lover.

Preshi's resilient and beautifully modulated voice gave humour and colour to the Transatlantic Lullaby by Gershwin, Blah, Blah, Blah.

After Ronald's powerful rendition of Lehar's popular Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz there was a session of nostalgic perennials from the Musicals.

Audience reactions proclaimed their delight when Bernstein's Tonight from West Side Story was lyrically presented by Preshi and Ronald; the heart-breaking Summertime from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess by Preshi, and a A Boat to New York from the same opera made villainously bold by Ronald in the guise of Sporting Life.

The programme ended with the nostalgic Song to Remember from Schubert's Lilac Time sung by Preshi and Ronald while the hall echoed with encores and the singers responded. Preshi's singing voice, always so promising, has come full circle - a rich blossoming.

A word about her speaking voice. It has mellowed and acquired a musicality of its own delicately and unselfconsciously balanced in its enunciation and articulation. And Drama School has given Preshi an easy presence and stance on stage that she shared spontaneously with the warm and appealing Ronald Samm.

The first of Opera greats to perform here
Kirov Opera soprano Margarita Alaverdian is scheduled to give just a single performance in Sri Lanka on Monday, May 13, at The Golden Ballroom of The Lanka Oberoi. Also featured will be conductor/pianist Rohan Joseph de Saram.

Ms. Alaverdian is the first in a long line of top class singers who are scheduled to perform here and in India with Rohan Joseph de Saram. These dinner concerts for charity are designed to create greater awareness of grand opera in both countries.
She is a winner of the Maria Callas International Vocal Competition (1989) and the All-Union Competition.

The programme for the dinner concert which benefits the Rehabilitation Centre for the Communication Impaired (R.C.C.I.) among others, includes the Melody from Gluck's 'Orfeo et Eurydice', Bellini's famous Casta Diva from 'Norma', Caro Nome from Verdi's 'Rigoletto's, the Waltz Song from Gounod's 'Romeo et Juliette', the Cavatina from Verdi's 'II Trovatore', Caccini's Ave Maria, O Mio Babbino Caro from Puccini's 'Gianni Schicchi' and Sempre Libera from Verdi's 'La Traviata'.

Ms Alaverdian is also scheduled to give a masterclass for singers on Wednesday, May 15 at The Atrium of The Lanka Oberoi from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. Singers who wish to participate are requested to call 768484 during business hours to discuss the repertoire they wish to present and the fees involved.

Camus' The Outsider as a dramatic monologue
Mark Amerasinghe will present as a dramatic monologue another adaptation of a Camus novel- The Outsider- at the Alliance Francaise Colombo on Saturday May 11, at 7.00 p.m.

He has, to date, presented Camus' 'The Fall' and also Tolstoy's 'Kreutzer Sonata', using a mode which he considers experimental.

Camus' 'The Ousider' is presented in two acts. In Act 1, the action takes place in the courtroom, where, at the closing stages of Mersault's trial (Mersault is indicted for killing an Arab), the public prosecutor makes his final damning address to the jury, asking for Mersault's head. In Act 11, Mersault in death-row, while awaiting his walk up to the guillotine, reminisces (soliloquises) over the events that lead to his arrest, his trial, and his last days in jail.

While in the novel, there is only one narrator, namely, the protagonist Mersault, who relates the events that followed in sequence, the death of his mother, the dramatic adaptation presents two interlinked monologues, with a complete dislocation of the time frame of the novel. The presentation takes just over an hour.

Surfaces come alive
Prof. S.B. Dissanayake looks at the works of young artist Kosala Kumara
I don't know whether Kosala

Kumara was aware of Leonardo's remarks to his pupils. But in the landscapes, more like the all too familiar third world crumbling cityscapes to me, it looks as if he has been inspired by Leonardo's remarks 500 years ago: "Seek inspiration in the contemplation of patches of old wall."

To this young artist a surface serves as a "revelature" or a screen where "desire" is made "legible". These words of Leonardo resonate in all of Kosala's works at this exhibition-even his "Yellow" and "Red", "Trees" are heirs to that legacy.

Kosala Priyan Kumara's exhibition will be held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery from May 11-13.

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