Review: The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra community spectacular gala (two concerts), filmed October 2020; streamed online January 2021

What: CPO community spectacular gala (two concerts), filmed October 2020 When: Available as video-on-demand, until 7pm, January 14, 2021 Viewing platform: Quicket Tickets: R80 each and R130, to watch both concerts Direct booking link:   

“I don’t know where you are sitting. I don’t know where you are. We miss you…”, reflects Marc Lottering in the opening of CPO Spectacular Pops 2020. He says: “We are living in a time when we can’t do hand hakes and hugs but we can still make music and an orchestra is part of a city’s soul…”  Music can lift our souls. I started watching CPO Spectacular Pops 2020, in the lead up to our president’s update on lockdown tonight, January 11. I paused the concert briefly to find out about the state of Rona and continued. Anxious times. We are all very afraid and agitated. We need music and the CPO is the tonic of the moment. The CPO Spectacular Pops 2020 calmed me down considerably with a varied programme headed up by The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra–masked up – except for the wind players. There is a mix of classical and contemporary music, dance and comedy with MC Marc Lottering. See programme, in box below.  CPO Spectacular Pops 2020 is a poignant and uplifting concert which showcases our city’s orchestra and pairs the CPO with soloists like Nombulelo Yende and Lynelle Kenned; Tarryn Lamb and Kyle Seconna.  Jazzart Dance Theatre does Jerusalema. It is spectacular.

CPO Spectacular Pops 2020 is bundled with the CPO Community Classics 2020 concert. The two concerts are available on Quicket: R80 each or R130, to watch both. In ‘normal’ times, the CPO puts on an annual gala community concert which usually takes place at Artscape, in June. Of course, that could not happen last year – 2020. When lockdown was eased and it became possible to film, a plan was made. The concerts were filmed at Artscape in October 2020. It was very much working against the clock, says Stefan Lombard. He is musical director, concert arranger and plays the piano. He says that they were limited with number of cameras and had to work fast– within curfew and other regulations. I was impressed with the camera work (Justus Villiers of 339 South) and the shifting views of the artists. Lighting designer Faheem Bardien has created magic – as he always does – and that comes across beautifully on screen.

The CPO Spectacular Pops 2020 evokes a sense of ‘live’; being at a concert. At the moment, it is not ‘safe’ to commune in a confined space and watching on the digital screen is a potent way to keep music alive and support our city orchestra. The streams are available until Thursday – January 14, 2021- through Quicket, so this is a quickie review. Do not miss out. I will watch the CPO Community Classics 2020 and update this review. I loved watching these extraordinary artists who have kept going – practicing, working at their craft – and ultimately delivering music to lift us out of our anxiety and fear. We need that. A shout-out to producer, Louis Heynemann for making these concerts a reality and for steering the CPO through the time of Corona.

SPECTACULAR POPS –filmed at Artscape, Cape Town, October 2020  

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra  
Conductor: Brandon Phillips

Creative team includes:

Producer: Louis Heynemann
Director: Aviva Pelham
Music director: Stefan Lombard -co-ordinated arrangements and is pianist in the concerts
Lighting designer: Faheem Bardien
Sound: Liam Cookson

Programme: CPO Kaleidoscope   Jazzart Dance Theatre: Variation Caro Hill (violin) with Oleksii and Michele: Meditation from Thais   Craig Lucas: What about the People   Elena Monvoisin: Gabriel’s Oboe   Asili Vocal Ensemble with Phumi Mthombeni: Something inside so Strong   Early B: Leka Djy   Cathy Specific: Diamonds are Forever   Brendan van Rhyn: I am what I am   Nombulelo Yende and Ten Cello Ensemble: Bachianas Brasilieras   Jazzart Dance Theatre: Tritch Tratch Polka   Charne Hugo: One Moment in Time   Sipho Fubesi: Caruso   Auntie Merle It’s a Girl Cast and Marc Lottering: Why Can’t the World Stop Turning   Tarryn Lamb:  Mag ek dan by jou   Kyle Seconna: Anthem   Asili Vocal Ensemble and  Lula Nqadini: Baba Yethu   Tarryn Lamb, Kyle Seconna.  August van der Westhuizen (sax): Don’t let the sun go down on me   Jazzart Dance Theatre: Jerusalema   Just Finale: Somewhere  

Director of photography: Editor Justus Villiers of 339 South

Images: Supplied.