Thursday 31st May 2001

Music of Vienna (N.C.H.)
By Marie L Collins

(I was kindly given this report  by Marie Collins)

The National Concert Hall was sold out. The stage was decorated in red and white with the Austrian flag as a center piece. The Austrian Ambassador and his wife were guests of honour.  Both the Irish and Austrian National anthems were played at the beginning of the concert.  Anthony and Kathryn Smyth (the soprano who co-starred in the Irish Ring with Anthony) were the only two singers. There was a Festival orchestra to back them and a group of eight dancers who completed the line up.

As plenty of stage area was needed for the dancers the orchestra was further back than usual which left more room for Anthony and Kathryn to move around during their solos and duets.  The dancers and Kathryn wore Viennese costume. Kathryn a beautiful peach gown in the first half and a gold one in the second.  Anthony of course was in his white tie and tails.

This was the programme they sang:

Kathryn and Anthony        VIENNA, CITY OF MY DREAMS
                                            by Rudolf Siezynski

Anthony                               STROLLING VAGABOND
                                            from The Cousin From Nowhere by
                                            Eduard Kunneke

Anthony                                NIGHTINGALE SONG
                                             from The Bird Seller by
                                             Karl Zeller

Kathryn and Anthony         CAN THIS TRULY BE LOVE
                                             from The Count of Luxembourg
                                             by Franz Lehar

Kathryn and Anthony          CHAMBRE SEPAREE
                                              from Der Opernball by
                                              Richard Heuberger

Anthony                                  VIENNA MINE
                                                from Countess Maritza by
                                                Emmerich Kalman

Kathryn and Anthony             LOVE, WHAT HAS GIVEN YOU...........
                                                from The Land Of Smiles by
                                                Franz Lehar


Kathryn and Anthony            THE MERRY WIDOW WALTZ
                                                from the Merry Widow by
                                                Franz Lehar

                                                LET US SING, LET US DANCE
                                                (not too sure of title??)
                                                from The Count of Luxembourg
                                                by Franz Lehar

Anthony was looking fit and well.  He was in very good voice and seemed relaxed throughout.  Himself and Kathryn have sung together many times and make a very good pairing on stage. The songs were acted out to a certain extent and Anthony's acting is becoming very polished.  He came on singing a "Strolling Vagabond" with his hands in his pockets and wandered across the stage as he sang taking one hand out to gesture as the song progressed.

In the duet "Chambre Seperee" he played the part of an erring husband at a masked ball eagerly encouraging a lady of his choice to go with him to a private room for champagne and some fun!!!  He played this very well. Eyeing her up as she sang, lifting one eyebrow as he surveyed her attributes and
then embracing and caressing her as he demonstrated some of the delight
in store if she went with him.

The romantic love duets were delicately handled and Anthony's performance in this area has improved wonderfully.  No hint now of self consciousness, it all comes across as very real and full of feeling.

Needless to say Anthony sang beautifully throughout.   He is refining his technique and his control is beautiful. Particularly effective is his ability to sing softly and then allow the power/volume to increase smoothly and with great effect when necessary.  This adds colour to the performance and is often missed by some who just concentrate on hitting the high notes!!

During the final encore Anthony and Kathryn waltzed.  They threw in a little fun and it was much enjoyed by the audience.  All the cast were presented with flowers and there were many ovations.

The more I see Anthony in opera and operetta the more I feel it is where he is most at home.  He seems to love it and the audiences love him in it.  I am really looking forward to seeing him as Alfredo in October.