Evelyn Hart and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Friday, February 5, 1999 - 2:00 p.m.
The Orpheum Theatre
I couldn't think of a better way to spend the afternoon than with the award winning Evelyn Hart and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The best way to describe the overall performance would be - Pure Radiant Energy (and not the kind you find with essential oils in it)!
I was fortunate to have a conductor who, charmingly and wittingly, told the history behind every piece performed, making my job as a reviewer a lot simpler. This allowed me to simply sit back and truly soak up all this energy that was taking place around me.
The afternoon started off with Herold Zampa's Overture, played with much vibrancy and freshness, which certainly set the mood for the rest of the performance. With a note-time ratio being extremely high for most of the music performed, the conductor, Timothy Vernon, was as much of an inspiration to watch as it was to hear the music being performed by the Symphony. His articulate yet animated style enticed the musicians to play as though they "danced on the top of their notes". Quite a complement to Evelyn, especially during her grand entrance to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake: White Swan Pas de Deux partnered by dancer Zhang Wei-Qiang.
As dancing partners, they blended well, especially in Massenet's Thais: Meditation, which resembled that of a timeless meeting of two lovers. With a hue of orange light in the background melded together with the rich orange velvet and sheer of Evelyn's dress, this passionate piece had a particularly Middle Eastern flavor that kept the audience captivated and allured at every moment.
The last piece, which was performed solo by Evelyn, accentuated her incredible talent like no other. The audience waited in great anticipation as the lead cello player brought his chair out to "serenade" this gracious ballerina to Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals: The Swan. I don't think any of us knew who was serenading whom! Through her exquisite fragility and by the simplest movements of her arms and wrists, emulating the wings of a swan, Evelyn simply seduced the audience. She inspired the music by the most delicate of gestures, leaving everyone absolutely breathless.
It was evident by the audience's standing ovation that Evelyn Hart has a truly magnificent gift! The energy created from this performance revitalized me for the rest of that day (and I'm sure everyone else present that afternoon). As the conductor Timothy Vernon put it, "The audience and the performers have the most beautiful relationship of all, a symbiosis which creates pure radiant energy."