Sat, 12 Feb 2000

Celebrate your love with Bel Canto

JAKARTA (JP): For those who like to delight in romantic love, there is one option that is culturally more enriching than just exchanging Valentine gifts or having a romantic dinner in a posh restaurant.

What about going to a love-themed concert at the Dharmawangsa Hotel this Saturday evening to listen to the widely acclaimed, international prize-winning Parahyangan Catholic University choir and its conductor Avip Priatna?

Late September at the same venue, the choir gave an exceptional performance of sacred works by Bach and Handel, which I lauded in this newspaper as one that truly understood the Baroque style.

This time, they are going to trace the 400-year history of English music on romantic love. The program is quite varied, catered no doubt to please everyone who would love to entertain their loved ones with love music.

Pieces from earlier times include some compositions by the best English composers of vocal music: Morley, Weelkes, Purcell (featuring tenor Christopher Abimanyu), Elgar and Vaughan Williams. A lighter treat of arrangements of folk songs and pop songs follows the intermission. All the pop pieces (accompanied by the Parahyangan Trio) are by the Beatles and include the classic Michelle and Yesterday.

The concert itself is the fourth of the Bel Canto series which has so far received favorable comments from the press. According to Dorothy Poon Louvet, the organizer of this series, Avip has promised that the choir will deliver "their best performance ever". And to ensure that everything is perfect, he has arranged a special English session for the choir with Leona Greenlaw, the music director for the upcoming eighth Bel Canto concert.

For me, it will be very exciting to learn about the diverse musical styles and about how the choir meets the 400-year challenge that encompasses the "classical" and "pop" genres. For those who are looking for a romantic Valentine interlude, you can just forget dinner and come to the concert, because, as usual, the Dharmawangsa will put on a lavish dinner before the performance with dessert during the intermission. For more information contact 725-8181.