The 54th Swakopmunder Musikwoche lived up to expectations this past weekend when it delivered memorable performances at the Namib High School Hall in Swakopmund.
Themed 'Let's go to the Opera,' the Namib High School Hall was packed to the brim with an audience enthralled with captivating stories of love, hate, jealousy, war, slavery, and victory all told through music. In her opening remarks, the Swakopmunder Musikwoche's main organiser, Christiane Berker, said: “The fact that we are here tonight is because of our main sponsor, Bank Windhoek, who has given unconditional support to us over the years."
The Youth Orchestra kicked off the concert with six pieces under the direction of Hendi Krog.
The Youth Orchestra performed well-loved pieces, including 'The Magic Flute' by Mozart 'Tales of Hoffman' by Offenbach, 'Aida' by Giuseppe Verdi. The third last piece Orchestra was 'Hänsel and Gretel.'
Also part of the repertoire was the famous 'Ode to Joy,' a tune about peace which represents the triumph of universal brotherhood against war and desperation, adopted from Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. This was followed by another piece from van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, 'Finale,' which had the audience on its feet at the end.
Grand Orchestra and Choir
The Swakopmunder Musikwoche also allowed young promising Namibian composers, Osmond !Owoseb and Eslon Hindundu, whose five pieces received standing ovations.
!Owoseb was the first conductor to take up the baton as he led the Grand Orchestra and took the audience through an adventure as he conducted his pieces, '#Nau-mare' and 'Dune Dance,' which told stories of Namibia's beauty from all corners of the country.
Hindundu presented his Namibian Opera, an epic drama about love, hate, and nations fighting, only to be united by a man and a woman in the end. 'The Forgotten Sun Rays,' 'Oumbu Ohama,' 'Do not give up' in English, and a classical rendition of the famous Namibian folk song, 'Dumela Kaufela', were Hindundu's offerings.
The concert's principal director, Cornelia Von Kerssenbrock, a well-known musical director from Germany, assisted by Hindundu and !Owoseb conducted the Grand Orchestra and Choir in the grand finale, which started with the overture, 'Die Fledermaus,' by German composer Johann Strauss.
This was followed by 'King Arthur,' a semi-opera in five acts with music by Henry Purcell and 'La Forza Del Destino', Italian for 'The Power of Fate' by Verdi.
Other pieces included: 'Meditation,' a musical interval from the opera Thaïs by French composer Jules Massenet; Nabucco, an Italian opera in four acts composed in 1841 by Verdi. Also in the line-up were Cavalleria Rusticana, an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni; 'My Fair Lady,' a timeless tale of the transformative power of love by Frederick Loewe; 'On the Town,' a musical by Leonard Bernstein and 'Gloria all' Egitto' from Aida by Verdi.
After the performances, which received resounding applause, Von Kerssenbrock, conducted two more pieces as the encore: 'The People's Song' from Les Miserables and 'Dry Your Tears Africa' from the film, Amistad by John Williams.
"I am proud of all my musicians and their lecturers, who, after meeting for the first time, managed to work in unity to produce this wonderful performance. Bank Windhoek should continue supporting the Swakopmunder Musikwoche because the Bank is making a positive change in all of these individuals gathered here thank you very much," said Von Kerssenbrock. She added that, although it is her last year as a conductor after being part of the event for the past three years, the Swakopmunder Musikwoche will always be a part of her. “I have so much trust in the event and its amazing musicians from diverse backgrounds," she said.
Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Affairs, Hayley Allen, said: “Bank Windhoek is delighted to have been part of yet another offering from the Swakopmunder Musikwoche. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in putting this masterpiece together."