Steampunk Mozart: a performance to make the master himself proud

Artistic director and conductor Jessica Gethin with Perth Chamber Orchestra performing at the Midland Railway Workshops. Picture: Richard Jefferson
Artistic director and conductor Jessica Gethin with Perth Chamber Orchestra performing at the Midland Railway Workshops. Picture: Richard Jefferson

PERTH Chamber Orchestra is reinventing the classical music experience by appealing to a wider audience with a string of unusually themed concerts performed in unexpected places.

The inaugural Steampunk Mozart concert at the Midland Railway Workshops on Wednesday delivered on a promise the 18th century maestro would have been proud to witness.

Early arrivals queued outside the venue to be met by a ‘bouncer’ in the guise of a life-sized Dalek whose role was to seek out interlopers.

Exterminate interlopers! Picture: Lynn Grierson

The quirky idea was a novel introduction to a family night of chamber music interspersed with anecdotes and a little history of life at the old workshops.

Performing in the atmospheric space was no mean feat for the musicians under the artistic direction of conductor Jessica Gethin and virtuoso violinist Paul Wright.

Steampunk fashion was born from a mashup of Victoriana influences laced with burlesque, a theme that turned traditional orchestral wear on its head as the musicians rocked the stage adorned in buckles, corsets, goggles and leather.

There were great moments on the night with a standout performance by clarinettist Catherine Cahill, whose soulful sounds soothed as she effortlessly played Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K622 – Adagio.

The performance was met with rapturous applause from a crowd of more than 200 appreciative listeners.

Teresa Vinci and Jared Yapp raised the bar for young musicians when they left the stage and performed Mozart’s Duo for Violin and Viola in G Major, K423 – Allegro amid the audience.

Teresa Vinci and Jared Yapp. Picture: Lynn Grierson

One of the best-known pieces played on the night was the neo-Baroque composition Adagio for Strings in G Minor, by Mozart contemporaries Remo Giazotto and Tomaso Albinoni, a composition popularised by television and used in films including Flashdance.

Upcoming performances by the Perth Chamber Orchestra include Serenades in the City, a musical champagne brunch on July 30 at Government House ballroom.

The orchestra’s big sister Perth Symphony Orchestra will perform music by the late George Michael and feature WAAPA Gospel Choir in Faith and Freedom on June 27 at the Astor Theatre.

For details of all performances, visit perthsymphony.com/whats-on.

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