Maestro Bramwell Tovey conducting the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Bramwell ToveyVancouver Symphony Orchestra: Peter and the Wolf

Date and Venue 7 October 2012 @ 2pm | Orpheum Theatre

Conductor Bramwell Tovey

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Who would have thought that the serious maestro had a ticklebone up his ribs? Not only that, he likes to clown around children, and that's exactly what "Inspector Tovey" did as he enters onto the stage in a Peter Falk kind of a costume and creates great rapport with the kids. Even my 5-year old granddaughter commented: "That conductor is funny.".

He starts off educating the kids, telling them the names of the different instruments, and then goes into conducting excerpts from Star Wars using Dark Vader's laser sword as his baton, which he says can be bought at Walmart. Then tells the kids what strings are all about as he conducts Fiddle Faddle, and then jokes with them saying that the adults will be scared with the noise from Gate of Kiev which by the way he says was never constructed. Then he plays the piano in a complicated manner and lets the orchestra imitate him resulting in cacophony of instruments, generating laughter from young and old. There were screens on both sides of the stage giving close-ups of Tovey and the musicians which enhanced the concert..

In the second half, he narrates the classic tale, Peter and the Wolf, conducting and narrating Prokofiev’s popular and fascinating work that sees all the characters played by different instruments in the orchestra. Old and young alike enjoyed the 1.5 hour show, and for me, this was a revelation of how clownish and human the maestro is.

© 2012 Ed Farolan