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A Night at the Opera in Bali

Pictorial Coverage of Bali Discovery Event’s 'Concert of Peace.'

(12/8/2008) A near capacity crowd was treated to an evening of vocal artistry seldom heard in Bali at the Concert of Peace held at the Mercure Sanur Resort on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Bina Vokalia Bali - a local choir numbering more than 20 voices and 5 local soloists were joined by Sydney-based opera star Sarah Sweeting – combing forces in an evening of stellar performances.

The program opened with two well known compositions from the religious repertoire, featuring tenor Hartanto Widagdo singing "Panis Angelicus" (Franck) and Soprano Ni Putu Laksmi Dewi rendition of "Ave Maria" (Schubert). Both songs took on a cathedral-like gravitas produced by the rich vocal backing of the Bina Vokalia Bali choir.

Award-winning Bali soprano Yani Manuaba then mesmerized listeners with a poignant rendition of Puccini's "O Mio Babino Caro" from the opera "Gianni Schicchi".

Visiting guest artist Sarah Sweeting made her debut for the evening with a come-hither presentation of Bizet's "Habernera" from "Carmen." Dressed in well-cut red dress, Sweeting brought to bear the considerable dramatic and vocal prowess that have earned her critical acclaim for the role of Carmen on opera stages in Europe and Australia.

Yani Manuaba then joined Sweeting on stage for the stirring "Flower Duet" from Delibe's "Lakme." Recognizable to many as the musical theme used in British Airways commercials, Manuaba and Sweeting brought many members of the audience to their feet, demonstrating approval for a near flawless performance of the challenging duet.

Having already acquainted the audience with her flirtatious characterization of the morally unrestrained ”Carmen," Sweeting then returned to sing "Segudilla" - the provocative second aria from the first act of Bizet's opera of unrequited love.

Sweeting and Manuaba returned to the stage and demonstrated their remarkably vocal compatibility singing the roles of Nicklausse and Guilietta from Hoffman's "Tale of Hoffman." That opera's baracollean salute to love - "Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour" also evoked strong approval from the voraciously opera-hungry local audience in Bali.

More musical delights awaited as the Indonesian soloists and the Bina Vokalia Bali brought many listeners to the verge of tears with a creative arrangement of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Climb Every Mountain." The choir's tight harmonies and exceptional vocal control that have won them honors at international signing competitions were very much in evidence in this musical nugget from "The Sound of Music."

With an audience spellbound and eager for more, the entire company remained on stage for the next two numbers: the seasonally appropriate "O Holy Night" by Adolphe Adam and the rousing Indonesian patriotic standard "Bumiku Indonesia".

All the soloists including Sweeting and backed by the choir then performed Verdi's rousing drinking song "Brindisi" from "La Traviata."Creating a brief moment of operatic magic, the chorus broke ranks continuing to sing as they circulated the stage, reminiscent of the opera's soiree at the home of Violetta Valery depicted in the opening moments of Act I. Persuaded that we have artists who can both sing and act, we wonder how long we must wait to see a local performance of an entire opera?

The final number of the program was the earthy "Can't Help Lovin' that Man" from Kern and Hammerstein's "Showboat" sung by Sweeting, proving every bit as seductive in English as she was singing "Carmen in French.










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An Evening Dedicated to Amelia Manuaba

The ”Concert of Peace” was dedicated to Amelia Manuaba, the founder of Bina Vokalia Bali who, after nearly 50 years, has trained more than 6,000 singers in Bali and brought trophy cases of singing honors to the island. Fittingly, Bali's Grande Dame of song, was led to the stage to join the company in a heartfelt encore of "Climb Every Mountain" sang before an admiring audience of more than 450 guests standing in appreciative ovation.

Shown on balidiscovery.com are pictures taken during the Concert of Peace.

The Concert was presented to the community by Bali Discovery Events with the generous support of ● BIMC Hospital ● Mercure Resort Sanur ● The Canggu Club ● Mark Taylor and Komang Alit ● Bali Advertiser ● The Bali Times ● Bali & Beyond Magazine ● Pro Motion Events.