Reviewed 7 March 2018
Renowned Swedish mezzo, Anne Sofie von Otter, played to an adoring audience last night at Adelaide Town Hall.
The first half of the program consisted mostly of songs by Scandinavian composers, such as Stenhammar and Sibelius, and included two wonderful Stenhammar piano solos by von Otter’s outstanding accompanist, Leif Kaner-Lidstrom. This half concluded with four songs by Schubert.
Post-interval there was a change of musical scenery, with the addition of guitarist Fabian Fredriksson, playing both electric and acoustic. The house was blown away with A Simple Song, from Bernstein’s Mass, which, although originally written for two orchestras, a rock band and a massive choir, felt just as powerful in the hands of von Otter, Lidstrom and Fredriksson.
Perhaps the most significant section of the evenng was the selection of music from Terezin: all works composed by prisoners in Terezin concentration camp. This included two remarkable piano pieces, redolent of Gershwin, Stravinksy et al, by Erwin Schulhoff: from Hot Music No 3 and from Suite Dansante en Jazz No 6 Foxtrot. The section ended with the hauntingly beautiful lullaby Wiegala, by Ilse Weber, who died in Auschwitz in 1944.
Having taken us on a dark and moving emotional journey, von Otter lifted the mood slightly with some Bach.
She finished the evening with four, contemporary songs, including two ABBA numbers!
At 62, Von Otter still has a remarkably strong and clear voice, and faultless enunciation. But it is not just these technical qualities which make her the performer she is. Her passion, emotional depth and strong stage presence ensure she is a joy to watch in recital. She and her two fellow musicians, more than earned their standing ovation.
She reprises this program at UKARIA this Sunday, and will also be appearing with David Marr for Festival Forums on Friday 9 Mar, 12.30pm, The Palais, Adelaide Riverbank.
Check out her website here.
Venue: Adelaide Town Hall/UKARIA Cultural Centre
Season: March 7th and 10th 2018
Duration: 1 hour 40 mins