Once again, Bill Hawkey MBE, OAM, and I conspired to collaborate on a new concert to wow the residents of the South Coast. This time, I chose the theme, ‘Tell Me the Truth About Love’, inspired by the song of the same name from Benjamin Britten and WH Auden’s Cabaret Songs.
Both concerts, in Bega and Narooma, were a huge success. Here’s what Michael Kavanagh, President of the Sapphire Coast Music Society, wrote:
The concert was in three acts: Act 1 ‘What is this thing called love?’ was about the nature of love, especially when the first stirrings of love come upon us – what is it about, why are we afraid to give into it, what does it look like? We started with Dido’s lament from Dido and Aeneas, where she is terrified of giving in to her feelings for Aeneas, then moved to Carmen’s Habanera (’cause she knows what it’s all about – it’s a rebellious gypsy, an untameable bird!), contrasted with ‘Tell me truth about love’ which archly asks us to personify love and the ways it will approach us. e.g. “Does it look like a pair of pyjamas, or the ham in a temperance hotel? Does its odour remind one of llamas, or has it a comforting smell? O tell me the truth about love!” Then Dorabella from Cosi Fan Tutte stepped in to tell us it’s a thief, a little serpent who worms his way into your heart. But we finished with Cole Porter, telling us that worrying about it isn’t important, and encouraging us: “Let’s do it, let’s fall in love!”
After an interlude of jazz numbers from Bill, Act 2, ‘Love Hurts’ explored what happens when love is unrequited, betrayed, or extinguished. We started with ‘Johnny’ and ‘Funeral blues’ both from Cabaret Songs, then moved to ‘Dido’s Farewell’ – where her trepidations about falling in love are realised, as she is betrayed by Aeneas, and must die. But to finish this section off, we went back to the great philosopher Cole Porter, who reminds us that sometimes we just have to accept that, ‘It was just one of those things.’
The third act, ‘Love conquers all’ found us in the city of love, with two beautiful songs made famous by Edith Piaf – ‘Sous le ciel de Paris’ and ‘La vie en rose’. And the encore? To sum it all up, ‘Crazy’ by Willie Nelson, of course!
The exciting thing was that I realised this is a show – a concert format I can take elsewhere. The combination of songs, the story and the format fit so well together, it’s something I’d like to repeat around the country… so watch this space!