An Oriental Odyssey

After their successful first concert of the year back in December, and hot off the heels of a recent schools’ concert in the Gala Theatre, this term the Palatinate Orchestra under Adam Laughton presented their concert in the grand setting of Castle Great Hall. Entitled ‘An Oriental Odyssey’, this concert sold out over a week before the concert, and expectations were high. They began their programme with Jean Sibelius’s Spring Song, a piece which you might not normally characteristically associate with Sibelius; full of energy and joy, it is quite a marked contrast to the composer’s late symphonies, works which are full of melancholy and drama. Immediately, the orchestra set the tone well, with a particularly wonderful cello solo from Jack Hudson. Something which came across not just in the Sibelius, but in the programme as a whole, was the tight-knit string playing. Strong and full of energy, it made a great impact. As the piece progressed, we heard regal contributions from the brass, and some lovely woodwind solos, although occasionally the wind’s higher registers came across as a bit shrill. Nevertheless, Laughton brought out the best in his players for a great concert opener. Russian fantasy then took over, as we heard Sergei Rachmaninoff’s tone poem, Isle of the Dead. Inspired by the black-and-white version of the painting used for the concert poster, it is not hard to...

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Hild Bede Theatre – The Producers

Hild Bede Theatre present an evening full of Broadway inspired laughs, following the story of two producers’ scheme to make a fast buck by putting on a Broadway flop. Whilst not the most polished musical in Durham, it makes up for what it lacks in overall production quality with some stellar performances from DST regulars Joe McWilliam (Leo Bloom), Charlie Keable (Roger Debris) and Will Emery (Carmen). It was great to hear Alex Bromwich’s (Musical Director) pit band start the overture with such confidence to capture the audience’s attention; with a little more care for tuning and intonation it could be said that the show started perfectly. A particular mention should go to Toby Cowling, who really brought the overture alive with his tuned percussion. Bróccán Tyzack-Carlin (Max Bialystock) and Joe McWilliam’s double act lead the cast superbly, performing with great chemistry and dynamically building the connection between the two characters, showing a true friendship blossom. Bróccán convincingly plays the swindling, confident Max, the struggle to maintain vocal clarity throughout his performance notwithstanding. In contrast, Joe never misses a note – providing a vocally diverse performance to show off his fine voice, though not quite achieving the same level of characterisation as Bróccán. The Tech crew did a fantastic job, beautifully allowing the duo to fulfil their combined wish of seeing their names up in lights. The producers are...

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DOE: Carmen

  After the success of their first ever show in the Gala Theatre last year, Durham Opera Ensemble’s largest production in recent times had created incredibly high expectations throughout Durham. The excitement in the theatre beforehand was palpable with both the general public and the University’s most avid music followers eagerly awaiting a sell-out night of opera. Despite a few occasional weaknesses, DOE largely met the incredibly high expectations of the crowd. Carmen follows the tale of Don José’s (Phillipe Durrant) tragic infatuation with the fiery and seductive Carmen (Sophia Smith-Galer). Filled with passion, jealousy and destruction, the love...

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DUCC & DUOS: Durham Actually

Considered the hottest ticket this season, the long sold-out joint concert between Durham University Chamber Choir and Durham University Orchestra Society was expected to impress. When the audience was welcomed into the warmly lit Great Hall, complete with towering Christmas tree, and the orchestra’s first notes rang forth, it was immediately clear that the night would not only meet expectation but surpass it.           To begin, Joseph Schultz led the orchestra in Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’, setting a precedent of liveliness and grace for the music to come. Despite some lack of clarity in quicker passages, the...

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Durham University Palatinate Orchestra

On Friday 11th December Durham University Palatinate Orchestra performed their first concert of the academic year, under the direction of its new conductor, Adam Laughton. The programme began with Elgar’s beautiful Polonia: A Symphonic Prelude. The lyrical passages were of particular beauty with a brilliant sense of line and shape from the string section, lead with distinction by first year music student Daisy Stones. The drama of the prelude was upheld throughout by excellent dynamic contrasts – the orchestra were able to turn corners and change mood with ease. The tutti passages really showed what the orchestra’s capabilities are,...

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Upcoming Events

May 03

Wellbeing Workshop

3 May 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
May 07

KLANG19 | Ben Smith (piano) presents “lines”

7 May 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jun 08

Music Durham Cathedral Concert | Stage and Screen Act 1

8 June 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
United Kingdom
Jun 09

Palatinate Awards 2019

9 June 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
United Kingdom
Jun 10

Big Band Masterclass: Mark Armstrong

10 June 12:45 pm - 3:45 pm