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Press Reviews

Opera in a Convent Garden 2014: Artist CV’s

Goitsemang Lehobye – SOPRANO – Résumé Goitsemang was born in Ga-Rankuwa and loved singing from as early as she can remember.  After finishing her school career, she could not pursue her studies due to a lack of funds and she joined The Black Tie Ensemble’s “Incubator” Scheme in February 2005.  Goitsemang performed with The Black […]

Goitsemang Lehobye (Soprano)
Khanyiso Gwenxane
Ifriky Tadadjeu Sokeng
Louise Howlett
Riaan Hunter
Albert Combrink
Goitsemang Lehobye (Soprano)

Goitsemang Lehobye (Soprano)


Goitsemang Lehobye – SOPRANO – Résumé

Goitsemang was born in Ga-Rankuwa and loved singing from as early as she can remember.  After finishing her school career, she could not pursue her studies due to a lack of funds and she joined The Black Tie Ensemble’sIncubator” Scheme in February 2005.  Goitsemang performed with The Black Tie Opera Chorus, taking part in productions of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale Puccini’s Tosca and Madama Butterfly and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

Goitsemang soon attracted attention for solo work and her achievements include the role of Micaëla, in Tshwane University of Technology’s production of Bizet’s Carmen, and the DVD recording of Bravo Mozart and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow.

In the beginning of 2011 Goitsemang got the opportunity to further her studies at the South African College of Music (SACM) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).  In May 2011 she sang the role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème in the Baxter Theatre

Highlights of her career include the Johan Botha Gala Concert at the Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg presented by Cape Town Opera and the CPO’s Neil Schicoff Opera Gala. Most recently she took a leading role in CTO’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She was also winner of the 2013 Schock Sining Competition. She currently receives vocal training from Hanna van Niekerk.

Read more: “Why Verdi’s My Man!” – an interview with Wilhem Snyman (Cape Times)

Khanyiso Gwenxane (Tenor)

Khanyiso Gwenxane (Tenor)

 

Khanyiso Gwenxane – TENOR

Khanyiso Gwenxane is a 25 year old Tenor who started singing at an early age of 6 years in a school choir, and since then he has never looked back in this art form. He has sung in numerous school competitions and has obtained first position nationally. In 2007 he joined the Isango Portabello Ensemble, touring London’s West End with a production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” which won the London Theater Critic’s Olivier Award. He then went on to study at the Tshwane University of Technology where he obtained his National Diploma and B-tech degree in Vocal Art Performance (opera) under the vocal guidance of Mr Pierre du Toit.

His roles include that of The First Priest in The Magic Flute under the directorship of Marcus Desando and Don Ottavio from Don Giovanni, under the directorship of Pierre du Toit. His concert repertoire includes The Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelsohn’s Die Lobgesang  and the Beethoven Choral Symphony.

Khanyiso is now currently furthering his studies at the SACM at UCT doing his second year Post Graduate Diploma in Opera under the vocal guidance of Ms Hanna Van Niekerk. He sang the lead tenor role in this year’s CTO production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

 

Louise Howlett - Soprano

Louise Howlett – Soprano

Louise Howlett – Soprano

Louise Howlett, originally from England, studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Margaret Cable where she featured in a number of competitions and masterclasses. As a member of the National Youth Music Theatre, Louise toured to the Bergen Festival and Edinburgh Main and Fringe Festivals, as well as performing in the award winning production of The Ragged Child at the Sadlers Wells Theatre, London. She performed in television productions of both The Ragged Child and the opera of The Tailor of Gloucester.

Louise came to South Africa in 1993 to work as Organiser for the National Chamber Orchestra in the North West Province and soon decided to make South Africa her home. She sang on many occasions with the NCO including a number of corporate functions in Sun City and Johannesburg. She also performed in a number of Oratoria including the Nelson Mass by Haydn, The Messiah by Handel, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and was involved in choral training workshops and master classes.

In March 1999 she moved to Cape Town where she is now based. Her Cape Town debut took place with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at their Kirstenbosch Millennium Concert, but her love of jazz and the musicals led her to create her own unique combination of classical, broadway and jazz “Across the Styles” singing projects which she regularly performs with pianist Albert Combrink. Performances include such varied events as the Kirstenbosch Classical Chamber Music Series and Big Blues Festival with sold out shows at the Baxter Theatre and the Greyton Rose Festival.

Future plans include further performances at the Baxter Theatre and for the Endler Concert Series. They have also released their first CD “Night Sessions”, generously filled with timeless gems, recorded and produced by Duncan Mackay at Down South Recording.

A keen promoter of classical music in Cape Town, Louise is the General Manager of the Cape Town Concert Series, and is a regular presenter on Fine Music Radio. Her programme “For the Love of Opera” features all the latest news and reviews of opera around the world today.

 

Ifriky Tadadjeu Sokeng  (Tenor)

Ifriky Tadadjeu Sokeng (Tenor)

Ifriky Tadadjeu Sokeng – Tenor

Ifriky Tadadjeu Sokeng  started his music journey at the age of 15 as a tenor in a church choir in Yaounde, Cameroon. Learning from books, music directors, soloists, composers, and from workshops, it took him 4 years to become a choral conductor and tenor soloist and a composer. His achievements include various prizes in his homeland as performer, coach and composer. Ifriky is in the final year of his doctorate in Satellite Systems Engineering at CPUT. He is part of the F’SATI Space program that designed and launched Africa’s 1st nano-satellite on November 21st 2013, and is building expertise in the area of space radiation. He was a semi-finalist as a participant and finalist and winner as assistant coordinator for the Space Mission Idea Contest organized by UNISEC in Japan. As student representative for the Southern Africa Region at the University Space Engineering Consortium, he was invited to participate at the 5th nano-satellite symposium and present at the 1st UNISEC-Global meeting from the 20-24 November 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. He is building his music and academic careers based on innovative projects including his patent-pending doctoral work and the CD “For The Love of Music” (in collaboration with Albert Combrink, Ivan Meredith, Janine Pick and Riaan Steyn). He performs regularly in Cape Town at corporate functions.

 

 

Riaan Hunter (Baritone)

Riaan Hunter (Baritone)

Riaan Hunter – Baritone

Riaan started his studies at the SA College of Music in 2004. After finishing his first year he went into the commercial music industry where he has been very successful for the last seven years. His debut album Net Hier By Jou reached 19th place on Musica’s Top 20 African Sales. Recently Riaan recorded a tribute to “Ge Korsten” with Jannie Moolman that is a great hit all over South Africa.

He starred in his first musical in 2006 at the age of 20,  going on to star in The King and I, The Gondoliers and HMS Pinafore for the Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society.  His performance in The Gondoliers  earned him a special prize at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in England. He was also nominated for a Cape Amateur Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his leading role in HMS Pinafore in 2009.

Riaan returned to the Opera school last year to finish his studies and is currently studying with Prof. Virginia Davids. He sang the role of Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and tDapertutto in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Riaan was the winner of the  Schock Singing Ccompetition in 2012. His most recent success was starring in the title role of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”

Albert Combrink (Pianist and Musical Director)

Albert Combrink (Pianist and Musical Director)

Albert Combrink (Piano * Musical Director) CV:

Albert Combrink performs as pianist and accompanist in classical and contemporary music. He recently returned from touring South-East Asia (Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia) where he performed solo concerts and held masterclasses during the Arts Festivals of Singapore and Bali. Albert completed his MMUS at Natal University and also holds three UNISA Licentiates in Solo Performance, Piano Accompaniment and Piano Teaching (Cum Laude). He made his concerto debut with the Natal Philharmonic at the age of 18.

He was finalist in the National ATKV Music Competition. Other prizes include the UND Performer’s Prize, UND Composer’s Competition, the Young Natal Chamber Music Competition, and the Durban Youth Concerto Festival. He received Master Classes from amongst others, Graham Johnson, Anton Nel, Martini Tirimo, Prof Bernd Goetzke. His recordings include Hindemith’s Piano Concerto Four Temperaments with the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra under David Tidboald, through radio and television broadcasts (including BBC World), works by Hofmeyr and Schnittke with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and was reviewed in the international Gramophone Magazine.

He was repetiteur for the UCT Opera School as well as Cape Town Opera. He was vocal coach for the Portabello company’s Magic Flute which sold out in London’s West End and won the prestigious London Critic’s Olivier Theatre Award. With this company he had the chance to work with BBC’s “The Face of Classical Music”, Charles Hazelwood, and Sir Simon Rattle.

As member of the Cape Town Tango Ensemble he has performed at all the major festivals in the country, with performers and directors such as Mark Hoeben, Ina Wichterich and Marthinus Basson. His work with the CT Tango Ensemble includes two CD’s, El Tango En Africa and Tango Club and has been used on television and in film.

He also co-wrote 3 Arts & Culture Textbooks and Teachers’ Guides for Maskew Miller Longman publications, which have sold more than 100 000 copies.

As concert organiser and accompanist he has worked with a number of South African and international singers, including Prof. Virginia Davids, Hans van Heerden and Virgina Oosthuizen, to name only a few. Highlights with international artists include a concert tour with American soprano Judith Kellock of American and South African Contemporary Art Song. He was also repetiteur for British superstar Lesley Garret on her tour to South Africa and appeared on Top Billing accompanying Welsh Superstar Katherine Jenkins.

Review: Not your usual piano recital – Campanella, with Albert Combrink at the Baxter Theater

A review by Claudia Halter which appeared on ” What’s on in Cape Town” – 24 October 2012 Read the Original Review on the Whats On in Cape Town WEBSITE.

Whats on in Cape Town Logo
Albert Combrink Review
albertcombrink

A review by Claudia Halter which appeared on ” What’s on in Cape Town” – 24 October 2012

Read the Original Review on the Whats On in Cape Town WEBSITE.

Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song: William Berger (Baritone) & Albert Combrink (Piano) – Review in “Die Burger” 25 September 2012

Baritone impresses with technique – Charl van Heyningen – “Die Burger” 25 Sept 2012, P.10 Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song William Berger (Baritone) and Albert Combrink (Piano) St. Andrews Presbyterian Church – Greenpoint During a newspaper interview the late Marita Napier once lit up a cigarette. “How can you smoke and sing?” asked the […]

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Baritone impresses with technique – Charl van Heyningen –

“Die Burger” 25 Sept 2012, P.10

Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song
William Berger (Baritone) and Albert Combrink (Piano)
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church – Greenpoint

During a newspaper interview the late Marita Napier once lit up a cigarette. “How can you smoke and sing?” asked the shocked young journalist. “Technique, darling. Technique”, said the opera diva in her typically laconic manner.

And technique is precisely what the British Lyric Baritone William Berger displayed brilliantly when he delighted an appreciative audience for more than 90 minutes. Only a dry mouth and an intermittent cough and splutter gave away that Berger was suffering from a stubborn cold.

The voice is well-schooled, focused, slender, light and warm with a fast vibrato that falls well on the ear. Especially in the shimmering middle-high register it really comes into its own.

The cleverly compiled programme, in celebration of Berger’s first Solo album, covers a large spectrum, from the Viennese classical era to the contemporary. It comprises 17 songs that tell the tale of a man in love experiencing a sleepless night. It starts with Mozart’s Abendempfindung and ends with Morgen by Ricahrd Strauss. In between there is Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Schubert and quite a few songs by Wolf, for whom the singer obviously has affection. A personal favourite was Oh! Quand je dors by Franz Liszt, sung with an exquisite legato and toe-curling falsetto. Berger’s ability as an interpreter is very good and he always is up to the musical demands, whether it be dramatic or drifting lyrically. And his operatic encores at the end were fun.

Albert Combrink’s accompaniment was sensitive, supportive and never overpowered. The church shrank to the size of a lounge with ten or so standing lamps which contributed to the nocturnal mood.

My own negative criticism is that Berger spoke too much, too fast and often not audibly in between the numbers. Hopefully we will soon be able to enjoy this comfortable, charming and truly gifted singer again. The leading Gramophone – magazine calls him one of the best young baritones in the world. No wonder.

Charl van Heynignen

Translation of the Review by Charl van Heyningen in
“Die Burger”
25 September 2012, P.10

Read more about the recital HERE.

Buy the CD Insomnia: A nocturnal voyage in song with William Berger and Iain Burnside (Piano) HERE.

Visit William Berger’s Website HERE.

Visit Delphian Records (William Berger’s Record Label for the Album Insomnia) HERE.

Visit the St. Andrews Concert Series HERE.

William Berger

William Berger

Reviews: Cinema Serenade: Louise Howlett & Albert Combrink – Baxter Theater June 2012

Reviewer: Clifford Graham – The Monday Missile – something rare and not just a little entertaining. – A simple setting for something so rich. – It’s a well conceived and staged performance. – Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer Just a glance through any gig guide in our city’s many entertainment publications and […]

Reviewer: Clifford Graham – The Monday Missile

something rare and not just a little entertaining. – A simple setting for something so rich. – It’s a well conceived and staged performance.Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer Just a glance through any gig guide in our city’s many entertainment publications and you will see a hundred and one music happenings spread throughout the city. Very rarely though are these actual staged performances, and even more rarely do they ask an audience to focus on anything more than just the music. On Saturday evening, however, I may have reacted to just another listing in the aforementioned gig guides, made a last minute booking and made my way to the venue without too much expectation. Little did I know I was about to be treated to something rare and not just a little entertaining.

On entering the Baxter Theatre’s Golden Arrow Studio, the walls are bedecked with posters from the cinema, sadly A4 sized. Real posters from the movies are becoming rare and hard to find, but of course as with most visual history, abundant on the internet. On the stage is a piano, a music stand and a microphone. A simple setting for something so rich.

I know Albert Combrink more as a classical pianist, and in this regard he is very accomplished. But in Cinema Serenade he teams up with Louise Howlett and together they take us on a journey through music used and written for the cinema. Okay, movies if you prefer. Cleverly compiled and starting from the decade of the thirties to the present, we are asked to reach into our memories and guess (in most cases) the film in which the song, or composition was used, or specially written for. To make it just that little more special, the music genres are mixed. Opera, pop, new age and jazz are all thrown in to keep us guessing. And no, this is not a weekend pub quiz. It’s a well conceived and staged performance. Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer. Her inflection through the songs conveying not just the right emotion, but with voice soaring in all the right places and softer, sympathetic tones well placed, I feel at home with her performance. Combrink too gets his chance to shine (no pun intended) with some beautifully played interludes. Starting with Debussy’s Clair de Lune and later with Michael Nyman’s The Heart Asks Pleasure First (guess the film).

As someone who takes pride in my knowledge of film, which I regard as an art form, I was challenged and left pondering over just how much I did not know, and just how much has yet to be learned about cinema and it’s serenades.

Just a tip. Book your ticket and brush up on your cinema knowledge. This will make the experience all the more worthwhile. Oh, and by the way, there are a few prizes for the right answers.   Read the Orginal review on the Monday Missile WebSite. The review was also published on ARTSLINK.

Reviewer: Jordan Scot – Biz Lounge NEWS

– Louise Howett (the lady with a voice like an angel) and Albert Combrink (the pianist with magic fingers) make the perfect duo.– The show… is definitely one to go and watch. Louise Howett (the lady with a voice like an angel) and Albert Combrink (the pianist with magic fingers) make the perfect duo. Cinema Serenade is an ode to all the classic songs that have featured in the very best movies. (Louise also bluntly tells us that they are all songs that she loves to sing.) It was interesting to see how many songs I thought came from a certain movie, but in actual fact were in so many others.

It was a tantalising journey through the ages, although I only managed to catch up round about the 1990s, but thanks to my mum I had a running commentary of where all the other songs came from. But as she sings you can almost hear everyone in the audience thinking to themselves “oh my word I know that song, but from where?” Before singing a song Louise gave the audience various bits of information about the movie that the song came from and then continue to woo us with her songs. Afterwards, the audience was asked to tell her from which movie and year the song was. This audience interaction was not only entertaining, but also really got you thinking. (I’m quite sure many audience members suddenly realised they were getting old as well.) There were songs from Casablanca, Titanic, The Shawshank Redemption, Moulin Rouge and many more. (Those are also a few answers, so if you win a box of Smarties it’s my pleasure). I don’t want to give away too much as it will spoil it for you. The show runs until 16 June at the Baxter Theatre and is definitely one to go and watch. Even if it is simply to remember the classic movies that once stole your heart – before special effects and 3D. Read the Original review on the BizCommunity Website.

Reviewer: Theresa Smith – Cape Argus Tonight Stage 5/6/12

– “Old School Magic” – “A lovely treat for lovers of movie music” – “Howlett’s voice is robust without being overpowering”

Reviewer: Kelly-Eve Koopman – WhatsoninCapeTown 15/6/2012

– I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema. – Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias – Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent – Howlett and Combrink soared through jazz from the 1940s and 50s with excellent arrangements and superb skill – Howlett quaintly embodied the likes of Judy Garland and presented a particularly pleasing jazzy arrangement of ‘My Favourite Things’ in a programme that continued to show off Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.

Cinema Serenade: Baxter Theater – Review in WhatsoninCapeTown 15/6/2012

  Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.    – I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema.  – Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias.  –  Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent.  –  Howlett and Combrink soared […]

 

Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.

 

 – I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema.

 – Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias.

 –  Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent.

 –  Howlett and Combrink soared through jazz from the 1940s and 50s with excellent arrangements and superb skill.

 –  a programme that continued to show off Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.

 WhatsoninCapeTown Review: 15/6/2012

With a laminated A4 poster of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tffany’s to my right and a garter flashing Velma Kelly to my left I felt I was invading the bedroom of a 15 year old wannabe ingénue. More cinema poster reprints lined the walls of the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, but my initial anxiety of being transposed into a low budget, two-man version of Glee was thankfully dispelled when popular pianist Albert Combrink gracefully coaxed the somewhat rickety piano into a pleasing if rather fast-paced arrangement of Debussy’s iconic ‘Claire de Lune’, a fitting piece of music for the introduction of the graceful, soft-spoken Louise Howlett.

Howlett, in the role of self-appointed movie muse or cinema siren, explained how Debussy’s evocative ode to moonlight prominently features in many movies including Atonement, Oceans Thirteen and Twilight. Personally I’d have liked to enjoy this particular piece of music without being reminded of Edward Cullen, gaunt and garishly glittering in the sunlight.  This was the first example of a somewhat clumsy dialogue contextualizing each piece of music. The transitions between singing and speaking felt abrupt and uncomfortable, and encumbered the imagination from indulging in the strong cinematic imagery otherwise conjured up by the sweet subtleties of Howlett’s haunting voice.

At times, Howlett did touch on the historical significance of individual films, or their cinematic development, aesthetic, art or socio-politics. I’d have liked more of this. For the most part however she fell into the habit of simply recanting imagery from the films and describing why she felt a personal affinity towards them. Such introductions would benefit enormously either from a short, piquant, contextualised script, some light camaraderie between the two performers or perhaps even the projection of some (silent) film clips to distract the audience from some of the fussier costume changes.

Nonetheless as the show progressed, Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias and eased effortlessly through Debussy, Mozart and Puccini. Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent. The characterization of Carmen was particularly charismatic with a surprisingly strong sensuality. The effortless embodiment of this of this femme fatale left me anxious to see what she would do with characters such as the chanteuses from Chicago.

Howlett and Combrink soared through jazz from the 1940s and 50s with excellent arrangements and superb skill – a highlight of the show. Howlett quaintly embodied the likes of Judy Garland and presented a particularly pleasing jazzy arrangement of ‘My Favourite Things’ in a programme that continued to show off Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.

Cinema Serenades is an attempt to facilitate a greater understanding for music in motion, and a deeper appreciation of the carefully chosen and arranged soundscapes in films. All too often this is overlooked and – underdeveloped theatrical aesthetic aside – I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema.

Kelly-Eve Koopman

Cinema Serenades runs 2 – 16 June at the Golden Arrow Studio in the Baxter Theatre.

The review was originally published by WhatsoninCapeTown.

Find the Artsmag Press Release HERE

Cinema Serenade (Baxter Theater): Argus Review 5/6/12

  Cinema Serenade is a lovely treat for lovers of Movie Music – Theresa Smith, Cape Argus 5 June 2012   Read More about the Show HERE. Find Cinema Serenade  at the BAXTER THEATER. Book your tickets for Cinema Serenade at COMPUTICKET. Read more reviews of Cinema Serenade HERE.

Argus Review Albert Combrink
TonightStage Banner2
Albert Combrink (Piano)

 

Cinema Serenade is a lovely treat for lovers of Movie Music – Theresa Smith, Cape Argus 5 June 2012

 

Read More about the Show HERE.

Find Cinema Serenade  at the BAXTER THEATER.

Book your tickets for Cinema Serenade at COMPUTICKET.

Read more reviews of Cinema Serenade HERE.

Albert Combrink (Piano) & Louise Howlett (Soprano) - Cinema Serenade Opening Night (Photo: Tom Lobo)

Reviews: Cinema Serenade: Louise Howlett & Albert Combrink – Baxter Theater 2-16 June 2012

Reviewer: Clifford Graham – The Monday Missile – something rare and not just a little entertaining.  – A simple setting for something so rich. – It’s a well conceived and staged performance. –  Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer Just a glance through any gig guide in our city’s many entertainment publications and you will see […]

Reviewer: Clifford Graham – The Monday Missile

– something rare and not just a little entertaining.

 – A simple setting for something so rich.

– It’s a well conceived and staged performance.

–  Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer

Just a glance through any gig guide in our city’s many entertainment publications and you will see a hundred and one music happenings spread throughout the city. Very rarely though are these actual staged performances, and even more rarely do they ask an audience to focus on anything more than just the music. On Saturday evening, however, I may have reacted to just another listing in the aforementioned gig guides, made a last minute booking and made my way to the venue without too much expectation.  Little did I know I  was about to be treated to something rare and not just a little entertaining.

On entering the Baxter Theatre’s Golden Arrow Studio, the walls are bedecked with posters from the cinema, sadly A4 sized. Real posters from the movies are becoming rare and hard to find, but of course as with most visual history, abundant on the internet. On the stage is a piano, a music stand and a microphone. A simple setting for something so rich.

I know Albert Combrink more as a classical pianist, and in this regard he is very accomplished. But in Cinema Serenade he teams up with Louise Howlett and together they take us on a journey through music used and written for the cinema. Okay, movies if you prefer. Cleverly compiled and starting from the decade of the thirties to the present, we are asked to reach into our memories and guess (in most cases) the film in which the song, or composition was used, or specially written for. To make it just that little more special, the music genres are mixed. Opera, pop, new age and jazz are all thrown in to keep us guessing. And no, this is not a weekend pub quiz. It’s a well conceived and staged performance. Louise Howlett is a consummate singer and performer. Her inflection through the songs conveying not just the right emotion, but with voice soaring in all the right places and softer, sympathetic tones well placed, I feel at home with her performance. Combrink too gets his chance to shine (no pun intended) with some beautifully played interludes. Starting with Debussy’s Clair de Lune and later with Michael Nyman’s The Heart Asks Pleasure First (guess the film).

As someone who takes pride in my knowledge of film, which I regard as an art form, I was challenged and left pondering over just how much I did not know, and just how much has yet to be learned about cinema and it’s serenades.

Just a tip. Book your ticket and brush up on your cinema knowledge. This will make the experience all the more worthwhile. Oh, and by the way, there are a few prizes for the right answers.

 

Read the Orginal review on the Monday Missile WebSite.

The review was also published on ARTSLINK.

Reviewer: Jordan Scot – Biz Lounge NEWS

 – Louise Howett (the lady with a voice like an angel) and Albert Combrink (the pianist with magic fingers) make the perfect duo.– The show… is definitely one to go and watch.
Louise Howett (the lady with a voice like an angel) and Albert Combrink (the pianist with magic fingers) make the perfect duo. Cinema Serenade is an ode to all the classic songs that have featured in the very best movies. (Louise also bluntly tells us that they are all songs that she loves to sing.) It was interesting to see how many songs I thought came from a certain movie, but in actual fact were in so many others.

It was a tantalising journey through the ages, although I only managed to catch up round about the 1990s, but thanks to my mum I had a running commentary of where all the other songs came from. But as she sings you can almost hear everyone in the audience thinking to themselves “oh my word I know that song, but from where?”

Before singing a song Louise gave the audience various bits of information about the movie that the song came from and then continue to woo us with her songs. Afterwards, the audience was asked to tell her from which movie and year the song was. This audience interaction was not only entertaining, but also really got you thinking. (I’m quite sure many audience members suddenly realised they were getting old as well.)

There were songs from Casablanca, Titanic, The Shawshank Redemption, Moulin Rouge and many more. (Those are also a few answers, so if you win a box of Smarties it’s my pleasure). I don’t want to give away too much as it will spoil it for you.

The show runs until 16 June at the Baxter Theatre and is definitely one to go and watch. Even if it is simply to remember the classic movies that once stole your heart – before special effects and 3D.

Read the Original review on the BizCommunity Website.

 

Reviewer: Theresa Smith – Cape Argus Tonight Stage 5/6/12

– “Old School Magic”

– “A lovely treat for lovers of movie music”

– “Howlett’s voice is robust without being overpowering” 

 

Reviewer: Kelly-Eve Koopman – WhatsoninCapeTown 15/6/2012

 – I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema.

 – Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias

–  Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent

–  Howlett and Combrink soared through jazz from the 1940s and 50s with excellent arrangements and superb skill

–  Howlett quaintly embodied the likes of Judy Garland and presented a particularly pleasing jazzy arrangement of ‘My Favourite Things’ in a programme that continued to show off Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.
With a laminated A4 poster of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tffany’s to my right and a garter flashing Velma Kelly to my left I felt I was invading the bedroom of a 15 year old wannabe ingénue. More cinema poster reprints lined the walls of the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, but my initial anxiety of being transposed into a low budget, two-man version of Glee was thankfully dispelled when popular pianist Albert Combrink gracefully coaxed the somewhat rickety piano into a pleasing if rather fast-paced arrangement of Debussy’s iconic ‘Claire de Lune’, a fitting piece of music for the introduction of the graceful, soft-spoken Louise Howlett.

Howlett, in the role of self-appointed movie muse or cinema siren, explained how Debussy’s evocative ode to moonlight prominently features in many movies including Atonement, Oceans Thirteen and Twilight. Personally I’d have liked to enjoy this particular piece of music without being reminded of Edward Cullen, gaunt and garishly glittering in the sunlight.  This was the first example of a somewhat clumsy dialogue contextualizing each piece of music. The transitions between singing and speaking felt abrupt and uncomfortable, and encumbered the imagination from indulging in the strong cinematic imagery otherwise conjured up by the sweet subtleties of Howlett’s haunting voice.

At times, Howlett did touch on the historical significance of individual films, or their cinematic development, aesthetic, art or socio-politics. I’d have liked more of this. For the most part however she fell into the habit of simply recanting imagery from the films and describing why she felt a personal affinity towards them. Such introductions would benefit enormously either from a short, piquant, contextualised script, some light camaraderie between the two performers or perhaps even the projection of some (silent) film clips to distract the audience from some of the fussier costume changes.

Nonetheless as the show progressed, Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias and eased effortlessly through Debussy, Mozart and Puccini. Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent. The characterization of Carmen was particularly charismatic with a surprisingly strong sensuality. The effortless embodiment of this of this femme fatale left me anxious to see what she would do with characters such as the chanteuses from Chicago.

Howlett and Combrink soared through jazz from the 1940s and 50s with excellent arrangements and superb skill – a highlight of the show. Howlett quaintly embodied the likes of Judy Garland and presented a particularly pleasing jazzy arrangement of ‘My Favourite Things’ in a programme that continued to show off Howlett’s range and versatility and Combrink’s impressive technique.

Cinema Serenades is an attempt to facilitate a greater understanding for music in motion, and a deeper appreciation of the carefully chosen and arranged soundscapes in films. All too often this is overlooked and – underdeveloped theatrical aesthetic aside – I thoroughly enjoyed Howlett and Combrink’s move to highlight the nuanced emotion that songs provide in cinema.

Kelly-Eve Koopman

Cinema Serenades runs 2 – 16 June at the Golden Arrow Studio in the Baxter Theatre.



CD Review: Tango Club (CT Tango Ensemble) Review by Don Albert

A Review of the CT Tango Ensemble‘s CD Tango Club, by Jazz Journalist Don Albert, published on Artslink, April 26 APril 2012: Don Albert writes: If you liked the movie The Scent of a Woman and you enjoy the music of Astor Piazzolla then you have to listen to Tango Club by the CT Tango […]

Albert Combrink and the CT Tango Ensemble

A Review of the CT Tango Ensemble‘s CD Tango Club, by Jazz Journalist Don Albert, published on Artslink, April 26 APril 2012:

Don Albert writes:

If you liked the movie The Scent of a Woman and you enjoy the music of Astor Piazzolla then you have to listen to Tango Club by the CT Tango Ensemble. This group which plays authentic Argentinean tango comprises Stanislav Angelov bandonéon and accordion, Jacek Domagala violin, Albert Combrink piano and keyboards and Charles Lazar double bass plus guests Adriana Edwards vocal, Willie van Zyl alto saxophone, Kevin Gibson drums and James Grace guitar. Of the 13 tracks seven are by Piazzolla others include originals by Angelov and Lazar. “Cape Town Tango” has a distinctive Cape Carnival sound cleverly intertwined with original tango. If I didn’t find this a very interesting, and an enjoyable aside from the jazz I normally review, I would not have included it here. It reminded me of the time I heard Astor Piazzolla with Gary Burton at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and of course Piazzolla also recorded with Gerry Mulligan. So there is a jazz strain in there. Most listenable. If you can’t find this CD in the shops go to www.goodmusic.co.za

Don Albert is a saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight! section writing about jazz. Currently he writes jazz CD and book reviews for Financial Mail and is the South African Correspondent for Downbeat (USA) and Jazz Journal International (UK). He has presented radio programmes on jazz and served as judge at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards.

Red the complete article HERE.

Hermanus Concert Society 2010

“Night Sessions” review: Die Burger – Mariana Malan

Here follows a translation (from the Afrikaans) of the review of the CD “Night Sessions” by Louise Howlett and Albert Combrink. The review is by Mariana Malan, published in “Die Burger” and “Die Beeld”, 26 November 2010.

die_burger_logo

Like a Half-darkened theater

Both Howlett and Combrink wear more than one hat in the music world. He is a superb and humble accompanist and does his part almost unnoticed. Then he can be very flamboyant when he performs with the CT Tango Ensemble. She drifts effortlessly from classical to musicals to jazz.

For this album they chose ballads and timeless songs. The CD conjures up a half-darkened, small theatre. The pianist is probably wearing a hat, and the singer is in a black dress. In this atmosphere the work of Sondheim, Cole Porter and Edith Piaf fit snugly.

The most beautiful song on the album is Song to the Moon – Dvorak can be sung.

This is an album for a niche market, but will reward anyone who quietly sits and listens to it.

Mariana Malan

Die Burger (Also Published concurrently in Die Beeld)

Friday 26 November 2010.

Comments on “Night Sessions”

Public response to the Launch Shows of “Night Sessions”, the new night-themed CD by Louise Howlett and Albert Combrink, has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are some of the comments and compliments we have received in writing. Thank you everybody for your feedback and appreciationg.

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4 MASTER CD COVER
Louise n Al AL 1



Fine Music Radio 101.3 FM CD of the Week, 21 Feb 2011

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Great to hear Louise on a commercial release at last . I don’t understand why she hasn’t had more recognition for her talent ! I’ve always loved her voice and the way she uses it – not just any old singer this one – a special voice ! – thanks Albert for doing this album – Michael Hankinson via Facebook

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Beautiful! Very seductive! – Prof. Peter Klatzow

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Sweet voice, beautiful piano playing is what you’ll find on this 15 track album of well-known American standards. Interesting arrangements, here, the voice and piano work in complete harmony with each other. It is a perfect album for listening to in the rush hour traffic because at the end of it al your peaceful frame of sanity will remain, no matter how many idiots are causing road rage around you. – Eric Alan,  Radio 2000 Jazz Rendezvous Top South African Jazz Releases 2010 Part 2.

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What I heard was lovely pensive singing… gently carried by real subtle and sensitive accompanimet as opposed to wildly difficult jazz voicings,  which although exciting, with jazz duos often fails to create the carpet of melodic colour needed to really bring a beautiful voice like Louise’s to the fore. It also works well as a group of songs for a program – Anthea Haupt (Website Comments)

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Really beautiful! Bravo, Louise and Albert! – Dr. Barry Smith via Facebook

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I went to Night Sessions tonight, all the way out  to Die Boer, beyond the ‘boerewors gordyn’, and the show was amazing,  the singing sublime with such control, the piano work gentle and  sensitive and the unannounced song composed by Albert Combrink a  showstopper. I wish Besame Mucho was on the cd though. – Mark Hoeben via Facebook

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I listened to your “Devil Moon ” on Facebook. It is original, fresh and most enyoyable. Congratulations. – Prof. Thomas Rajna via Facebook

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Well Done Albert , you are a brilliant pairing  and agree with Mark your song was the SHOWSTOPPER, I want to hear it  again …PLEEEEZ ?  – Andre Smith via Facebook

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Listened to the YouTube version Louise and wow! If there’s a CD, I’ll buy it. – Martine Viljoen, via Facebook

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I really like what you’ve done with Louise Howlett. Such expression in your playing!! Congrats! – Zenobia Kloppers via Facebook

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Louise, I listened to your Youtube “Stardust”. Oh my, that was wonderful. You have got that touch – Mike Blake via Facebook

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Albert you and Louise are absolute stars, the  performance was just amazing and I sang to the CD all the way home! Keep up the great work, we need more performers like you. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to hear Rainbow Connection performed the way  you do! Erica Meles-Libenberg via Facebook

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That was a great launch; thank you for the music – Pauline Treffers via Facebook

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It sounds so cool!! Well done. – Antoinette Blythe via Fabook

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I’ve listened to some of the demo tracks – it  sounds awesome!!!! I know it’s going to be a  huge success!! – Yvonne-Marié Brand via Facebook

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Cd is awesome! go and enjoy launch! – Henriette Weber via Facebook

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This woman has an exceptionally gorgeous voice. Well done. Beautiful recording, Albert. You are indeed versatile 🙂 – Anthea Haupt via Facebook

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Sounds great Albert – Carlo Bidoli – via Facebook

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Gorgeous! Jazz is a state of mind – and you have it!!! You complement one another beautifully!!! – John Walton via Facebook

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Sounds stunning. I’ll definitely get the album when I’m back home. Well done – Fran Leavy

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Wow! You did it again! You and Louise sound great! – Carin Johnson via Facebook

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SPLENDID! Good luck with whole cd, it’s marvelous. – Mark Hoeben via Facebook

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I also loved the concert and think that you and Louise are doing a fantastic job and performance. Well done. Hard work will pay off – Barbara Lenhard

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Sounds great! – Prof. Ruth Goveia via Facebook

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Wow! Great excerpt. Louise Howlett and Albert Combrink complement each other very well in this collaboration. Well done, you two – Anver Ali Karbelkar via Facebook

 

 

Like a Half-darkened theater

Both Howlett and Combrink wear more than one hat in the music world. He is a superb and humble accompanist and does his part almost unnoticed. Then he can be very flamboyant when he performs with the CT Tango Ensemble. She drifts effortlessly from classical to musicals to jazz.

For this album they chose ballads and timeless songs. The CD conjures up a half-darkened, small theatre. The pianist is probably wearing a hat, and the singer is in a black dress. In this atmosphere the work of Sondheim, Cole Porter and Edith Piaf fit snugly.

The most beautiful song on the album is “Song to the Moon” – Dvorak can be sung.

This is an album for a niche market, but will reward anyone who quietly sits and listens to it.

Mariana Malan

Die Burger & Die Beeld

Friday 26 November 2010.