Delightful mix of light and dramatic in Gehan’s own style
It was an evening of melodious operatic arias, Broadway classics, and sublime piano music at the Bishop’s College Auditorium on Saturday, March 4, all courtesy of the multi-talented Gehan Cooray and Norwegian pianist Torgeir Kinne Solsvik performing at Classical and Cool 2023. The concert was the third in a series of shows in aid of the Friends of Prisoners’ Children, an organisation which extends a helping hand to children who have either one or both parents incarcerated.
The repertoire for the evening, as explained by Gehan, was chosen to be more contemplative and reflective – a tribute to the sense of childlike wonder and imagination that humans possess as children. Any song that spoke about love was not your typical love song but more an ode to love in more than just a romantic sense.
Gehan’s rich baritone began the evening with Donizetti’s ‘Bella Siccome un Angelo’, which translates to ‘as beautiful as an angel’, followed by a less operatic song ‘In A World of My Own’, from the 1951 Disney animated film Alice in Wonderland. Gehan’s range was seen in his performance of Count Almaviva’s vindictive tirade from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, a bel canto aria by Rossini, and in his reprisal of the toreador Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, a role he recently played in the Miami Music Festival’s production of the opera.
The more contemporary – or cool – part of the show included songs from the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the 1958 musical Gigi, and a throwback to his early days at St Joseph’s College, with ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ from the musical Annie. He also performed a number from the recent musical, Little Women, sung by the main female character as the quintessential anti-love song.
Torgeir Kinne Solsvik’s effortless piano playing was highlighted in his rendering of Norwegian composers Edvard Grieg and Geirr Tveitt pieces. Particularly captivating was his performance of Grieg’s ‘Wedding Day at Troldhaugen’, starting from the jubilant excitement felt at the beginning to the more contemplative and reverent.
It was a well-balanced mix of light and dramatic, the performances by the two artists, amply living up to the Classical and Cool moniker.
For more information on Friends of Prisoners’ Children, seewww.fpc.lk
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