Down under with the Wellington Orchestra,
by HOWARD SMITH
In an effort to get more backsides on seats, Vector Wellington Orchestra (VWO) has just completed an experimental and seemingly successful 2007 season titled Music That Moves; performing concerts with part of the programme complemented on the stage front by small dance ensembles.
Despite a significant increase in audience numbers, reaction has been divided -- and the balance between commercial gain and artisic merit continues to be debated. At the season's well-attended final concert in Wellington Town Hall [17 November 2007], a senior member of the VWO's sponsors expressed dismay at the spectacle of two skilled, assiduously-rehearsed ladies (dressed in bathing belle briefs -- grey shorts and red halter tops) performing a gymnastic-style routine to Mozart's Exultate Jubilate, serenely presented by soprano Jenny Wollerman.
Ms Wollerman was inevitably relegated to 'second division'; with the duo dancers' (members of Wellington's Java Dance Company) choreographed calisthenics to the fore. Any (claimed) symbiosis between the two art forms was lost on numbers of concertgoers.
The evening began with Mozart's Paris Symphony, No 31 in D, K297, under music director Marc Taddei; an uncontentious reading. While Mozart calls for adroit, bouyant strings, there were times here when VWO's upper strings seemed somewhat undernourished.
Copyright © 21 November 2007
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand