Youth Ambassador Review - Between Darkness and Light

Our Youth Ambassador Matt went along to Between Darkness and Light on Sunday afternoon. Here's his review...

Jenny Wollerman and Michael Houston's powerful performance of 'BetweenDarkness and Light', a programme of glowing treasures for soprano with piano, was more than just a concert, it was a total artistic experience and a journey which was a privilege to be a part of. 

These two outstanding leaders of New Zealand classical music captivated the Christchurch Arts Festival audience with their total craftsmanship, emotional sensitivity and utter commitment to their music. Thanks to the powerfully minimalist set the carefully lit stage was itself an artwork(designed by Tony Rabbit) and from the moment of entering the theatre, the impression of entering a void independent of space and time was indeed apparent. Wollerman and Houston's choice of programming emphasized this beautifully mysterious theme of 'Between Darkness and Light'.

Both Wollerman and Houston filled the stage with their presence both musical and physical, and through their choice of French, German, Russian, American and English Art songs they took the audience on a journey of discovery of the love, secrets and emotions that exist 'Between Darkness and Light'. Wollerman's choreography and movement on stage, although minimal, had great impact and emphasized that this was far more than just a concert - it was a journey. Tony Rabbit's lighting took each piece to another realm, reflecting various shades of human experience.

Houston's stunning piano solos interspersed throughout the concert (Ravel'sSonatine, Rachmaninov's Prelude in G# Minor and Prokofiev's Harp Prelude) were more than just interludes but rather songs in themselves that added to the journey. Wollerman explored and expressed the myriad of possibilities that her soprano voice can reach, from the opening Faure's 'Le Secret' to the more modern but equally beautiful 'Holding the Night' by Madeleine Dring and closing with the powerful 'Beim Schlafengehn' by Stauss. All three artists are to be commended for their ability to present classical music in a fresh and compelling way,something which should be explored more often.

John Lennon once said "when I struggle in the night, the magic of the music seems to light the way" and together through the beautiful medium of classical art song, Wollerman, Houston and Rabbit achieved this. They encapsulated the mystery and emotion that exists 'Between Darkness and Light',filling the darkness with a powerfully beautiful glimpses of light.