Puccini Plus
MacKillop Senior College Hall
Saturday, 26th May 2007

Puccini Plus was a celebration of sublime classical music for solo voice and chorus, conducted by Robyn Ryan OAM. Talented accompanist Lydia Wills supported the fine soloists and chorus as they performed some of Puccini’s best loved vocal works PLUS the work of a couple of other great composers .

Giacomo Puccini is synonymous with the world of opera. Born 1858 at Lucca, Italy from a long line of gifted musicians he was 5 years old when his father died. Composition came naturally to him and even before studying Music Composition he composed whilst still residing at Lucca. Eventually he commenced his studies in the Milan Conservatory where his amazing gifts were nurtured. The rest is history.

This amazing musician is renowned for many beautifully crafted operas including Manon Lescaut, Madam Butterfly, La Boheme, Tosca and Turandot. However his greatest gift to the world of music remains his exquisite melody writing. He once wrote that “without melody, fresh and poignant, there can be no music”. Famous Puccini arias often performed as standard solo items come from his pen – One Fine Day, Your Tiny Hand is Frozen, Nessun Dorma and a plethora of others. He is arguably the most famous composer of Italian music.

Soloists John Thompson (tenor) & Ian Castle (baritone) featured alongside Cantorus SATB choir in the Messa di Gloria. This is one of Puccini’s non-operatic works, and the glorious melodies make it a wonderfully stirring piece of music.  Puccini’s name for this Mass was Messa a quarto voci con orchestra (Mass for four voice parts with orchestra) but somehow it has become known latterly (and incorrectly) as Messa di Gloria.

John Thompson is well known to Hastings music lovers with his rich voice and charismatic stage presence. John’s Che Gelida Manina & Nessun Dorma delighted the audience.

He was joined by baritone Ian Castle, who has returned to Port Macquarie after training in voice at the Queensland Conservatorium. Ian starred as the Pirate King in the recent production of Pirates of Penzance and has a great pedigree of performances behind him, including working with Opera Queensland. He is now teaching voice at St Columba Anglican School and The Academy of Music.

Ian Castle

Nina Mestric
The lovely voice of Nina Mestric was also heard in this concert as she performed O Mio Babbino Caro and Ave Maria which are two concert favourites, as well as the less well known Caro Mia Ben. Nina majored in voice at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean and has had great success in major eisteddfodau. She has also performed solo at the Sydney Opera House. She is a member of the Cantabile ensemble as well as Cantorus and is now a regular soloist with both groups.

Puccini program2

Hastings Choristers welcomes all those who wish to sing at a performance level whether experienced or accomplished.

As a mixed voice SATB choir (Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Bass) there is a place for all voices in CANTORUS. All singers, especially men, are warmly and enthusiastically welcomed to pursue their love of singing at our weekly rehearsals held at MacKillop Senior College Hall, Ocean Drive, Port Macquarie.