Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

The Boys’ Choir brought the best of Vienna to Macau

Posted by Kimberly on October 25, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 25, 2007, page 7 (458 words)

The name alone is enough incentive to make one want to attend a performance. And yesterday’s Vienna Boys’ Choir concert was certainly packed to hilt, with latecomers filtering in at several points during the first half, much to the annoyance of a few patrons. I was too engrossed in their angelic voices to worry about the inconvenience, having always wished for, but never come across, the opportunity to see the choir perform.
Their repertoire last night was quite extensive, ranging from Austrian folk songs, to Chinese ones and the more modern ‘Fever’ while still retaining a sense of the classic with Mozart, Haydn and Schubert.
What let the performance down somewhat, was the venue, more specifically, Teatro Brito Clementina Leitao Ho. It seemed to resound with more of a gymnasium feel than a concert by the most famous boys’ choir. A sense of intimacy, which would have added to the overall experience, was lost in the vastness of the space. But then, one would suspect the audience size to have placed restrictions on the performance’s location.
Nevertheless, the choir got off to a classical start with a Gregorian chant, Veni Creator Spiritus before charging in with an A capella version of Carmina Burana’s O Fortuna, complete with clashing cymbals and stamping feet. The chant is immediately recognisable to many, having most recently been in the movie 300.
Even with a small group of 21 boys, their voices soared and made for a convincing rendition.
Other bright spots in the performance included Mozart’s Veni Sancte Spiritus, with the interplay between soloists and choir a delight to witness.  The voices soared in perfect symphony, the music a quick-paced medley of voices and piano.
As well, Gabriel-Urbain Faure’s Angus Dei was hauntingly beautiful, the music simple and the voices in perfect harmony to highlight the composition’s deceptive simplicity.
The inclusion of two Chinese folk songs Guadifeng and Kou-lueull Tsiang were selected, as they will also be used in a Silk Road documentary being created by the Choir. Both were sung quite convincingly although those of Chinese descent may have had a different view.
Finally, two more ‘modern’ songs, Fever and Lollipop provided a sense of fun to the end of the performance. The former was most recently re-created by Madonna while the latter, delivered by The Chordettes, is the sort of tune one can’t help but clap along to, and which the choir seemed to enjoy heartily.
For those that had never attended a performance of the Vienna Choir Boys, the experience last night would have made the wait worthwhile, while others who may be knowledgeable about the choir would have enjoyed enough moments of concert to walk away satisfied. Personally, they’ve got one more fan in their sailor cap.


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