Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 10th July 2021
The Adelaide Festival Centre’s Guitar Festival has faced significant hurdles due to current travel restrictions. With short notice, Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan was tasked with replacing the Melbourne Guitar Quartet with Andrew Blanch, and enlisted local talents to create A Classical Celebration. The anticipation was palpable among the audience on Saturday, which saw Dunstan Playhouse filled to capacity.
Opening the festivities was the Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra. Fifty-four guitars played in harmony, with performers ranging in age from nine-year-old students through to eighty-four year old tutors. Though perhaps some renditions lacked depth, their performance of Rasputin by Boney M was irresistible and inventive.
Next, internationally acclaimed guitarist Oliver Fartch-Naini performed two pieces by Adelaide composer Ian Seaborn. While it was somewhat of a stark transition going from fifty-four voices to one, Fartch-Naini’s command over the guitar was masterly.
After interval, jazz and Brazilian specialists Mike Bevan and Alain Valodze performed five duets, most of which they arranged themselves. Bevan and Valodze have been working together for decades, enjoying great onstage chemistry and banter. They brought the complex sounds of South America to life, as though it were effortless.
Next, leading classical guitarist Manus Noble took the audience on an international tour. He performed his own arrangements of pieces from Japan, Scotland, and the American Old West.
To close A Classical Celebration, Slava Grigoryan took to the stage with his wife and renowned cellist Sharon Grigoryan. It is always a pleasure to see Slava and Sharon Grigoryan perform together. Not only do they have remarkable chemistry, but their guitar and cello make a unique and beautiful duet. Most striking of their pieces is perhaps Summer’s Julie-O, with an enchanting melody shared between both instruments.
In short order, Slava Grigoryan amassed a program featuring truly exceptional Adelaide guitarists. It would be impossible to attend A Classical Celebration without falling in love with the guitar.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating out of 5: 4
One Night Only – Season Ended