“Sweeter than Roses” – English and Italian songs of the joys of love by Purcell, Britten, Mozart, Sondheim incl. “My Fair Lady”

DATE: Sunday, 25 April 2010

TIME: 15:00 – 16:30

VENUE: Masque Theatre – 37 Main Road, Muizenberg

BOOKING DETAILS: 021 – 788 1898 (Mon. to Fri. 09:00 to 16:00)

TICKETS: R60 (R50 Theatre Club members – regrettably no Credit Card Bookings available)

“Sweeter than Roses” – English and Italian songs of the joys of love by Purcell, Britten, Mozart, Sondheim incl. “My Fair Lady”
This delightful programme of mostly English songs explores the joys and dreams of young lovers through the songs of Purcell (“If music be the food of love”), Britten’s famous Folksong settings (“The Foggy, foggy dew”) and operatic extracts by Mozart, that master of comic characterisation. The three singers and pianist are all noted for their variety and perform in different styles, taking the audience through a tale of love lost, found and lost again. Shirley Sutherland will lead the second half of the programme with extracts from “My Fair Lady”, the show in which she had a major triumph at the Artscape Theatre in 2008. Louise Howlett, a veteran stage performer, will include extracts from her soon-to-be released second CD from the musicals “Cats” and “A Little Night Music”. Baritone John Hardie – winner of various awards such as the Leonard Hall Memorial Prize – is the perfect foil for the two ladies. He will be the Figaro to their Suzanna and Cherubino and the Don Giovanni to their Zerlinas. The programme will reflect the more playful aspect of young love, from the charm and beauty of setting of Shakespeare to more contemporary and popular music. The fact that most of the songs are in English makes this a programme with instant appeal for audiences of all ages. The keyword is variety, and versatility is what this set of performers are known for.

Meet the perfromers

Pianist and presenter Albert Combrink

Pianist Albert Combrink devised and compiled the programme as well making musical arrangements and accompanying the singers. He has worked as accompanist and musical director from the opera house to the musicals stage. Magic Flute (Isango Portabello) won a London Critics’ Olivier Award and  Assassins (New Space Theatre) won two Fleur du Caps. International arrtists with whom he has worked include American soprano Judith Kellock and British superstar Lesley Garrett. Recordings as orchestral member and soloist with orchestras include works by Hendrik Hofmeyr and Alfred Schnittke with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. His broad interest in music has enabled him to put on a number of off-beat and unusual programmes. These include Ladies & Ladders (Kalfiefees), Dangerous Liaisons (Beau Soleil), and Moonlight Serenade (Kirstenbosch Chamber Music Series) – the latter in collaboration with Louise Howlett). He has been musical director of the Rotary Opera in a Convent Garden since 2007. He is member of the CT Tango Ensemble which recently launched its second CD Tango Club to a sell-out audience at the Baxter Theatre.

Soprano Louise Howlett: equally at home from Bach to Blues

Soprano Louise Howlett studied singing at the Royal College of Music in London, with Margaret Cable. She performed at 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. Originally classically trained, her love of jazz and the musicals led her to create her own unique combination of classical, broadway and jazz “Across the Styles” projects out of which her “Serenade” series was born.  These productions can vary from classical versions, to jazz standard evenings to the full range of genres blended into one programme. She has performed with great success at various venues and festivals including the Kirstenbosch Winter Chamber Music Series, the Greyton Rose Festival, and most recently at the Baxter Theatre. In one season she performed both in the classical line-up of Barry Smith’s Concert Series at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and at the Big Blues Festival in Kleinmond.

Baritone John  Hardie studied singing at UCT and Stellenbosch University and his teachers include Sarita Stern, Nellie du Toit and Marita Napier. He sang with Capab Opera for 3 years taking part in productions of “Albert Herring” and “Cosi fan Tutte”. He won the College of Music Opera prize in 1988 and 1989, the Friends of the Nico Malan Opera Prize in 1990, the Leonard Hall memorial Prize in 1991. He has performed professionally with accompanists such as Albie van Schalkwyk, Tommy Rajna and Neil Solomon.

Shirley Sutherland entertains in musicals and opera

Soprano Shirley Sutherland has proven her versatility in the fields of Opera, Muiscals and Oratorio. With Cape Town Opera she toured Sweden and Germany in productions of Rusalka, and Showboat. Her many awards include the Cape Times Best Actress Award for her role of Roxy in Chicago. She has been seen in concert around the country, including Richard Cock’s Last Night of the Proms and various oratorios.

Read more about some of the works on the programme on the following posts:

~ Benjamin Britten Folksong (re)settings: when artsong meets folksong

~ Schoenberg to Sondheim: Louise Howlett & Albert Combrink perform at Kirstenbosch

~ Breaking Rules: Discussing performers who cross over different styles and genres