Conducted by Umberto Clerici, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) performed Don Quixote: A Musical Quest on 12 and 13 May at QPAC. Performance soloists included Piers Lane on the piano, Hyung Suk Bae on the cello, Imants Larsens on the viola, and Eugene Gilfedder as the actor.

The program started with Concerto No.4 in C Minor by Mozart. In this particular piece, the piano and orchestra perform a musical conversation with each other, with undertones of both melancholy and playfulness. A lively, engaging piece – one can’t help but be entranced throughout the performance. Lane was the star of this particular musical act, with his effortless playing leaving the audience in awe. He also gave a special additional performance at the end of Concerto No.4 – a solo piece about the story of a boy and a girl rowing a boat together down the river. Though they love each other, they never tell each other that they do; a story masterfully conveyed through the romantic yet wistful tones, with wavering intensities throughout the piece.

The second half of the program is Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote. The famed novel about a well-intentioned but clumsy hero, Don Quixote, is a journey to remember – especially through music. Bae is particularly outstanding in this performance. The entire piece is incredible, with the fourth and fifth acts (Variation IV and V) being personal favourites. The musical conversation between Bae’s cello and Larsens’ viola was a delight to watch and listen to, and the harps in the fifth act were wonderful.  Don Quixote has truly cemented itself as a timeless tale, especially in the orchestral world. QSO has mastered the portrayal of this hero’s journey; managing to captivate audiences with a story from centuries ago.

Overall, this orchestral performance was not one to miss – a true blend of the theatric and music, the QSO once again proves that it is a must visit every time they perform.

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