WASO’s Favouriteswas everything you could want from an orchestra’s season opener, the first half of the program comprising a potpourri of popular orchestral and operatic excerpts; the second, two complete and more substantial, yet equally popular, works.
Joining the WA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus were local heroes, bass-baritone James Clayton, tenor Paul O’Neill and 16-year-old piano prodigy, Shuan Hern Lee. Presiding over all – and making her conducting debut with the orchestra – was former WASO assistant conductor Elena Schwarz.
Elena Schwarz. Photograph © Axel Saxe
Proceedings got off to a rousing start with the Act III Polonaisefrom Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, after which Schwarz – currently a Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra – turned to welcome the near-capacity audience.
Borodin’s richly orchestrated Polovtsian Dances– by turns exotic, serene, martial – then called on the services of the ever-reliable if sometimes underpowered WASO Chorus before Clayton leapt onto the stage to reprise, at least for one aria, his role as Leporello in last year’s Don Giovanniwith WA Opera.
By now, Clayton could perform Madamina, il catalogo è questo– otherwise known as the Catalogue Aria –...