Concert review:  Lynelle Kenned and Stefan Lombard at the Norval Foundation- stunning showcase of artistry by Cape virtuosi

What: In Concert at Norval Foundation – Lynelle Kenned & Stefan Lombard

Online booking link: R70 a ticket (+R5 booking fee)- available to view, until midnight, Saturday October 16, 2021.
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The encore song of Lynelle Kenned and Stefan Lombard, in concert at the Norval Foundation, is Henry Mancini’s, wistful Moon River, which Audrey Hepburn sang in the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It is a song about aspiration, hope, dreams; letting go of comfort zones and taking chances: “Moon river, wider than a mile…I’m crossing you in style some day…Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker. Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way… Two drifters, off to see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end. Waitin’ ’round the bend.” In year two, of the pandemic, this song is utterly relatable and inspiring. We are reaching for a rainbow – around the bend- crossing over the interruption of Rona.

Moon River is for me, emblematic of the sheer charisma, creativity and the dazzling range of artistry that Stefan Lombard and Lynelle Kenned bring to their work.  They go beyond the technical. Each song is heightened by reflections and stories- their relationship to the music. In this concert at Cape Town’s Norval Foundation, we are treated to a showcase of their repertoire and their versatility. The programme is an eclectic mix and includes Bach, arias, musical theatre and the stirring encore, Moon River. See box for the programme and you will see the range of material at this concert. Stefan is playing on a Fazioli Grand Piano (sponsored by Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos) and Lynelle is dressed in a sumptuous ball gown, oozing glam and glitz, by designer Hershall Lee Davids. I want that dress. I want to be back in a theatre and see a big musical, with Lynelle on stage and Stefan at the piano. For now, I can get a taste on screen and you can as well. Read on.

This concert was performed live, yesterday, Saturday, October 9, at the Norval, with an audience –in-attendance (lockdown level 1, South Africa, audience numbers limited due to Covid/lockdown regulations). The concert was live streamed by Penny Lane Studios. The recording of the concert is streaming on Quicket, until Saturday, October 16. My appointment to click into the live streamed show was scuppered by load-shedding. I wasn’t stressed, I knew that I had a week to watch. Heads up: When you watch the recording, you will need to fast forward about 6 minutes, past the promo bumph. Do not worry. Fast-forward and the concert will start. It is a beautiful concert – with the music–impeccably arranged by Stefan. Lynelle’s voice is glorious, as always; perhaps even more so as she brings the yearning and struggles of the pandemic to an intensely emotional rendering of each song.

And there is that full throttled laugh of Lynelle Kenned. Whatever she is having, can I please have it? There is mirth in that laugh and also an ache- an inhale and exhale of breath and life. It reminds me of yoga. In a sense, Stefan Lombard and Lynelle Kenned in concert, are for me like a musical yoga; a balm for the soul. Breathe in the music. Watch and you will see what I mean – the Lynelle laugh, piano and chat by Lombard; the love that they bring to the music and being in concert together.

Lynelle noted in a recent Instagram post, that every ticket sold – in person and online – is a “love letter” of “appreciation”. Buy a ticket and sit back and enjoy this fabulous programme with these virtuosi. I loved it all. The advantages of a recording is that you can re-wind (before the stream ends). I watched Moon River over and over again. One cannot re-wind, when watching a live show. Yes, nothing beats live but a quality recording ensures that the live performance may be captured on film and may be accessed by those who could not attend the show.  May I end off with a moment of Zen whimsicality: How about a staging of Breakfast at Tiffany’s – the musical- starring Lynelle Kenned and with Stefan Lombard on a Fazioli Grand piano?

Screenshot – Lynelle Kenned in concert with Stefan Lombard at the Norval Foundation, October 9, 2021.

 Lynelle Kenned and Stefan Lombard in Concert at Norval Foundation, October 9, 2021- programme  

1.  Piano Overture: JS Bach piano transcription of the Marcello Oboe Concerto 2nd movement  
2.  Lascia chio Pianga – Handel (from the opera, Rinaldo)   
3.  Voi che sapete  – Mozart (from the opera, Marriage of Figaro)   
4.  Non so piu – Mozart  (from the opera,  Marriage of Figaro)   
5. O mio Babbino Caro – Puccini (from the opera, Gianna Schichi)  
6. Jewel Song – Gounod (from the opera, Faust)  
7.  I have confidence – Rogers and Hammerstein (from the musical, The Sound of Music)  
8.  In his Eyes – Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse (from the musical, Jekyll and Hyde)   
9. Aandblom – Pieter de Villiers from Sewe Boerneefliedjies  
10.Reis –  Vincent Oliphant , music by JP Steyn  
11. Ek herhaal jou –  Ingrid Jonker, music by JP  Steyn  
12. Mali die slaaf se lied – S.le Roux Marais   
13. Something Wonderful –  Richard Rogers (from The King and I )   
14. Bill –  Hammerstein (from the musical, Showboat)  
15. Somewhere – from the musical, West Side Story (Bernstein)  
16. Wishing you were somehow here again –  Andrew Lloyd Webber (from Phantom of the Opera)  
17. Think of Me – Andrew Lloyd Webber (from Phantom of the Opera)

Encore: Moon River – by Henry Mancini