May 4, 2010
Gray skies, lurking oil don’t dim Sinfonietta aura
Thoughts of oil spreading through the Gulf faded on a rainy Sunday afternoon when audience members were greeted by Louisiana Sinfonietta-style sunshine in First Baptist Church of Baton Rouge’s sanctuary.
More specifically, the Sinfonietta’s performance of Giselle Eastman’s newly composed “Eternal Sunshine in Caracas” replaced gray skies with musical sun rays in the Sinfonietta’s 2009-2010 season finale, which featured bassoonist Gabriel Beavers, soprano Amy Porter and Greek violinist Georges Demertzis.
Though the performance of Eastman’s piece gave audience members a taste of sunlight that seemed to be absent throughout the weekend, it was Demertzis’ powerful solo on Dinos Constantinides’ composition “Kafantaris Violin Concerto No. 3, LRC 246” that brought them to their feet.
Constantinides is the Sinfonietta’s conductor and musical director. Sunday’s performance was the premiere of his violin concerto, and Dermertzis’ solo deserved its standing ovation.
His performance showed a range of expression and emotion so wide the audience couldn’t help being captivated.
Demertzis was born in Chalkida, Greece, and studied in Athens’ Hellenic Conservatory. He has performed with orchestras throughout the world.
But Demertzis’ performance didn’t rouse the audience until the program’s end. His appearance was preceded by several Sinfonietta ensemble pieces and two that featured soloists Beavers and Porter.
Beavers’ bassoon solo was both haunting and lyrical in Edward Elgar’s “Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra, Op. 62,” and Porter’s commanding performance of W.A. Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio — Konstanze Aria, K. 384” filled the auditorium.
The room seemed to act as a sponge, soaking in Porter’s powerful soprano voice and expanding from floor to ceiling, from wall to wall. She received an enthusiastic audience reception, as did Beavers.
Beavers is an assistant professor of bassoon at LSU; Porter is pursuing her doctorate of musical arts with a specialty in voice there.
In the drizzle after the concert, audience members returned to their cars and to a reality where a mass of oil relentlessly continued toward the Louisiana coast.
But the Sinfonietta’s finale offered them some moments of musical respite, where the sun shone bright.