IF like me, you’re not a connoisseur of classical music but an irregular concert goer who can whistle the highlights of  some famous classical pieces, you’ll love Dmitry Sinkovsky (pictured above). With his tight pony tail, piercing blue eyes and trimmed goatee, he is a consummate performer. In fact, Sinkovsky is a bundle of performers rolled into one: a counter tenor, a violinist and a gyrator. And, incredibly, he managed to turn the Sydney Recital Hall in Angel place, into something of a theatre. Or maybe a circus. It was entertainment of the kind I don’t recall ever seeing in what is a rather drab hall, with superb acoustics. Touring with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the program featured works by Vivaldi for the violin. As soon as he takes to the stage one fact becomes clear: Sinkovsky is to violin what a duck is to water.

The fact that he performed on a 1675 Francesco Ruggeri violin was somewhat lost on me because I would not be able to tell the difference between a violin of this vintage or provenance and one bought on eBay for $100.  But I did get his sense of humour and loved his choice of music which, admittedly, is not surprising: Vivaldi is a crowd pleaser and his music is all too familiar. In fact, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Russian composer Fyodorovich Stravinsky, famously quipped that Vivaldi didn’t write 400 concertos; rather, he wrote one concerto 400 times.

While adhering to the customary three movements, Vivaldi’s Concerto in C major RV 177 was nonetheless dramatic and daring, with sudden contrasts of mood, character and expression. And who better to embody all this than Sinkovsky whose performance is equally unconventional.

In the second half of the concert, Sinkovsky-the-virtuoso reappeared with a hair-do change as well as a costume change. He transformed into a wild, passionate and phenomenal counter tenor singing Vivaldi’s cantata RV 684.  Suddenly, without warning, he picked up his violin for a short solo of one verse. Oh the joys of multi-tasking.

The concert was about mood and atmospherics and, in a gesture of sensitivity and goodwill, Sinkovsky dedicated the aria Cara sposa, from Handel’s Rinaldo, to the victims of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17. It was a beautiful gesture and a poignant offering to a country in grief. The audience was smitten.

Trite though it may sound, I loved, loved, loved his interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Winter. Yes, I know, we’ve all heard this warhorse a million times – in concerts, supermarkets, lifts and while waiting for a Telstra advisor to pick up the phone. But the fun, frivolity and fervour of the entire Brandenburg orchestra playing on their period instruments, with artistic director Paul Dyer at the harpsichord, and the climactic build-up to the crescendo, was electrifying. After that, I was ready to levitate out of Angel Place.

Details: http://brandenburg.com.au/


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