This was a delightful concert the theme of which was nocturnes and songs to the Moon – appropriate for a performance on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
Jane Rutter’s special guests artists this time were soprano Catherine Bouchier, pianist John Martin and singer/guitarist Bertie Boekemann.
For the concert Rutter wore a striking, elegant blue gown with a draped over the shoulder long silver shawl.
The concert opened with Dvorak’s Song to the Moon from his opera Russalka in a passionate performance. Schumann’s Mondnachtwas melancholic and Strauss’ Die Nacht was somewhat brighter in mood with a rippling piano and flute.
Two Chopin nocturnes followed for piano and flute, gliding and delicate. Then there was a stirring, dramatic, intense performance of Tacea la Notte Placida from Verdi’s Il Trovatore sung by Bouchier with Martin on piano.
The next bracket featured a highlight of the concert, Taki’s Moon Over Ruined Castle which was shimmering, haunting and dreamlike, featuring rippling, cascading piano and darting, birdlike flute.
Two Clair de Lunes followed – a Faure with dominant piano that was limpid and shimmering with a pastoral atmosphere and then Debussy’s which was romantic, with rippling piano and glorious flute.
Three modern era pop songs to the moon followed, featuring Boekermann in a terrific performance singing and on guitar, blending a bright, bubbling version of Cat Stevens Moonshadow with Rutter on piccolo. The next piece was Henry Mancini’s Moon Riverwith Rutter switching to alto flute, followed by a pulsating version of Van Morrison’s classic Moondance.
The Sun Whose Rays from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado was next, Bouchier a dazzling , impetuous Yum Yum, Rutter having a short mini solo .
Then the lilting, lyrical Belle Nuit o nuit d’amour (a.k.a the Barcarolle) from Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman.
The concert concluded with an exuberant rendition of I Could Have Danced All Night from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady.
After much applause the players returned for an encore, a marvellous version of Cole Porter’s Night and Day .
With the concert over it was time for lunch. Some went to purchase one of the available CDs to add to their collection.
Running time for the concert : 90 minutes.
Part of the wonderful Live at Lunch series, the concert NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON took place at the Concourse, Chatswood on 21st June, 2017.