Ode to mermaids; an ailing lost love and radical romanticism.
KZN Philharmonic’s 2024 Summer Season
Concert ONE -Playhouse Opera: Thursday 29 Feb at 7pm
It’s KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2024 Summer symphony season time again – with four glorious Thursday symphonies coming up in The Playhouse Opera Theatre starting on 29 February until 21 March 2024, starting at 19h00.
The Summer Season opens on Thursday 29 February. This will see celebrated conductor Talia Ilan making her KZN Philharmonic debut, opening her programme with Felix Mendelssohn’s evocative but rarely heard Melusina Overture. It was written in 1834 as a birthday gift for his sister. According to legend, Fair Melusina was a water nymph who bore a curse which turned her into a mermaid for one night in seven. This is music which conjures a dreamworld of harmonic power and mixed emotions.
Well worth the hearing, it paves the way for Dvořák’s iconic Cello Concerto as the evening’s centrepiece, played by the German virtuoso Benedict Kloeckner. A recurring motif in the concerto (“Leave me alone”) was a special favourite of the composer’s sister-in-law, Josefina Kaunitzová, an aspiring actress to whom Dvořák gave piano lessons, and with whom he was in love. He eventually married Josefina’s younger sister Anna. He included the “Leave me alone” reference on hearing the news of Josefina’s illness and eventual passing.
The programme ends with one of the 19th century’s benchmark staples, Robert Schumann’s Fourth Symphony in D minor, described by the imminent music critic Tovey as the composer’s ‘greatest and most masterly conception’. The symphony begins with a slow, brooding, passionate introduction, evolving to moments of lightness and joy which is characteristic of Schumann’s Romanticism.
The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra wants to make their audiences’ experience as comfortable as possible. Many audience members would prefer not to self-drive to the Playhouse to attend KZN Philharmonic concerts in the evening, so the Orchestra is providing a FREE bus service allowing people to park in the suburbs and hop on a bespoke bus into town.
Various routes are on offer: for north of Durban residents – from Grace Family Church in Umhlanga departing at 6.15pm; for upper highway residents – a bus departs from St Agnes Church at 5.45pm; Westville residents can park at Westville Senior Primary, with a bus departing at 6pm. A bus stops at the Caister Lodge in Durban’s Berea for Durbanites, departing 6.20pm. Safe, free parking is available at all departure points. The bus is free, but booking is essential. Booking may be made by emailing info@kznphil.org.za or by calling 031 369 9438.
‘It is our great pleasure and privilege to welcome back our unique community of music lovers for our four-concert Summer Symphony Season of 2024,’ says Bongani Tembe, KZN Philharmonic’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. ‘Now as ever, we are set to uphold the grand traditions of our long-running World Symphony Series, as we bring the music lovers we serve, a roster of superbly accomplished guest stars. They will join our dedicated orchestral musicians in creating many hours of musical enchantment. The season dovetails with our continued commitment to community engagement and skills transfer among new-generation artists and learners.’
Public are welcome to sit in on the final rehearsal every Thursday morning at 10h00 in the Playhouse Opera. Tickets R50 adults throughout. Unreserved seating in the downstairs stalls only.
KZN Philharmonic Season tickets are available through KZN Philharmonic Office on 031 369 9438 or info@kznphil.org.za, and bookings for individual concerts, are available at Quicket outlets. For more information call 031-369 9438, email info@kznphil.org.za or visit www.kznphil.org.za.
Whilst the Playhouse Coffee Shop is not operational at the moment, The Playhouse bar is once more operational for pre-concerts and interval drinks. One can pre-order interval drinks on arrival.
Good to Know:
Thurs 29 Feb
Conductor: Talia Ilan
Soloist: Benedict Kloeckner – Cello
Mendelssohn: Melusina Overture
Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Schumann: Fourth Symphon
Thurs 7 March
Conductor: Emmanuel Siffert
Soloist: Jan Jiracek von Arnim – piano
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin (Memorial to Couperin).
Mozart: Piano Concerto no 23
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 2 (dubbed ‘The Little Russian’)
Thurs 14 March
Conductor: Leon Bosch
Soloist: Hyeyoon Park – violin
Grieg: Holberg Suite
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Schubert: Symphony No 5
Thurs 21 March
Conductor: Daniel Boico
Soloist: Nina Schumann / Megan-Geoffrey Prins – piano
Dvořák: Czech Suite
Camille Saint Saëns: Carnival of the Animals
Mozart: ‘Symphony no 38 ‘The Prague’

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