Last night’s concert by the Bulawayo Municipal Orchestr, under Hugh Fenn, turned out a series of honourable near-misses. This sort of thing can be more irritating than downright failure.
It is difficult to diagnose what was missing. Technically, the playing held to a level of precision that was more than acceptable with constant attention to detail.
But it was apparent throught the Beethoven Coriolan Overture, which opened the programme, that the orchestra were sluggishly unresponsive to the best.
The same feeling of disinterst dogged Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony (Italian), so that despite efficient playing I began to wonder whether someone had slipped tranquillisers into the orchestra members’ coffee. The Strauss Emperor Waltzes, however, moved with much more verve.
Asher Hainovitz (tenor) is an innately musical, sensitive singer, with an attractive and flexible voice quality. He was wise to confine himself – with one exception – to lyric arias, where his talents seem most at home.
His expressive sotto voce singing in the Massenet arias, and the restrained warmth of “Non piangere Lieu” from Puccini’s unfinished masterpiece Turandot were excellent indeed.
“La donna e mobile” (Rigoletto), however, was too well-mannered in “Che gelida manina” from La Boheme he pushed his tone dangerously near its limits
He is a most promising artist but seemingly not yet fully at home in the operatic milieu.