Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

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

Archive for the ‘Macau International Music Festival’ Category

Plucking at the heart-strings of Asian audiences

Posted by Kimberly on November 17, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
November 17, 2007 (853 words)

Stefan Tarara was only three years old when his father, a fellow violinist, encouraged him to pick up the instrument.

“This was only unfolding my violin and putting it back after playing a little bit,” he said, adding that it was at the age of four, that he performed in his first concert.

“It was only strings without using my fingertips,” he said, explaining that his father was his first teacher and eventually came to study with Professor Zakhar Bron, one of Russia’s most famous violin teachers.

“I am his only student in Mannheim [Germany],” said Stefan, who travels to Kern or Zurich for lessons with the maestro yet studying his other university subjects at Mannheim.

The 21-year-old admitted that “the violin at the beginning is very hard,” he said, because of not knowing where to place one’s fingers.

“I don’t say end because there is no end,” he said, referring to his lessons of the instrument.

His mother, a singer, had originally wanted Stefan to become a singer like herself, but agreed that he should play the violin first, as opposed to something like the piano, as she believed it was best to start with “the hardest instrument.

“I also play the piano because I have to for university but it’s very low level,” he said, having also done five years of percussion with three concerts as a percussion soloist, suggesting that he would choose the clarinet as an alternative instrument to his violin. Read the rest of this entry »


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Macau International Music Festival saw a 92 percent success rate

Posted by Kimberly on November 15, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
November 15, 2007 (479 words)

With the Macau International Music Festival a successful part of recent history, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) chose to comment to the Macau Daily Times on the festival’s successes, failures and future, stating that the budget was this year’s festival had been 17.5 million patacas.

“I think we achieved what we had expected with this year’s festival,” said Mr Charles Lam, Chief of Special Projects Division, adding that perhaps one or two performances had not worked as well as expected, although he neglected to mention which ones.

Of the ones the ICM felt had been successful, the opera Rigoletto and the musical Grease were the two at the top.

Of the former, he said, “I think the production was quite new for the Macau audience and people liked it,” while for the latter, “we had the most participation from the audience.”

 He added that for the rest, “o f course we’ll make some revision and take lessons and try to learn more from the responses from the audience.”

The other part of success came via the outdoor performances at Mount Fortress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six decades of hitting the right notes

Posted by Kimberly on October 31, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 31, 2007, page 2 (973 words)

Born in Lisbon, Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires played her first public concert at the age of four. And now, 59 years later, she’s about ready to play her last.
“I’m just wanting to stop,” she said during a press conference at the Macao Cultural Centre yesterday.
“It was never a real choice. Not in terms of playing music. Of course it was a choice and I loved it, all my life. But it was not a choice to play concerts and to be a concert pianist, to play in public.
“Because it was not a choice, it was somehow always something where I had to force myself,” she said, adding that her passion lies with education and social projects that involve children.
“That’s what I really love to do,” and she has certainly made inroads in that direction, having founded a centre in Portugal called Belgais Centre for Study of the Arts ten years ago, after some study into education.
“The main idea was to create a centre where you would look for many different ways of putting arts into the daily lives of people,” she said, directing this more towards schools that were disadvantaged, “with children that had real problems, such as delinquency.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Grease: musical performed like a finely tuned machine

Posted by Kimberly on October 29, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 29, 2007, page 5 (434 words)


Those that intend to watch Grease-The Musical tonight at the Cultural Centre should be warned that if you’re expecting a copy of the popular movie, then think again.
The production follows the original ideas of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey who wrote the musical in 1970.
The matinee performance yesterday was packed and the audience immediately got into the show, clapping along to the popular radio tunes.
A few brave people took to the stage with compere Vince Fontaine, who tried his best to warm up the audience and to a large extent, managed to succeed.
The audience was definitely more receptive early on, something that isn’t usually the case in Macau.
There were some scenes that seemed misplaced when all there is to compare it to is the movie, such as The song ‘Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee’ which as sung much later in the show. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lightning strikes Macau for Grease musical

Posted by Kimberly on October 27, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 27, 2007, page 16 (970 words)

Just the word brings up images of pink ladies, a 1948 Ford and blue eyes. The blue eyes belong to Danny Zuko, of course. Who could forget that moment in the movie, when John Travolta turns at the sound of his name and those eyes stare right into your soul before the cheeky grin follows.
Yet, while many no doubt believe that the world-famous, box-office smash starring Olivia Newton-John along with Travolta was the original, this was far from the case.
Grease began as a musical, back in 1971. The current musical gracing Macau’s Cultural Auditorium over the next three nights is an updated version of that, not the movie itself, as explained Director Ray DeMattis.
“The original musical was more like a play. There weren’t musical numbers. There were two people that sang or Danny sang his ballad but there weren’t big dance numbers in the show.
“That’s something that changed from what was first produced in the early 70s to what we’ve been working on in 2000.
He added that the current versions include more dance, with the school dance “it’s own explosive number, even the opening into Summer Nights has a lot more choreography,” not to mention that famous song ‘Beauty School Dropout’ being sung gospel style. Read the rest of this entry »

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