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Marcelo Bratke in relaxed mood.

Marcelo Bratke in relaxed mood.

From Rio carnival to Hastings

The next guest in Opus Theatre’s World Series, on Saturday 8 September, is Brazilian pianist Marcelo Bratke. Like others of the international stars in the series, his was no easy path to fame, as the theatre explains.

Concert pianist Marcelo Bratke, 57, has had an astonishing personal and musical journey. In his native Brazil he became a leading soloist in an unprecedentedly short time: within 10 months of his first piano lesson at the age of 14 he was making his concert debut with the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra.

He was hiding a secret, however, having battled with the loss of his sight in early childhood to the point where he could not read music. He had developed an ability to learn complex classical pieces entirely by ear, and also developed an outstanding auditory memory.

The New York Times has described Marcelo’s playing as having “hints of wildness yet with elegant construction, subtle rhythmic dislocations and shining piano colors”. He has won awards in a number of different countries, including the Classical Discoveries Award in the UK. His CD Le Group des Six was listed by Gramophone magazine as one of the greatest classical recordings of all time.

In 2004, after two high-risk operations in Boston, he gained full vision in his left eye and was finally able to read musical scores for the first time. Hurrying to a friend’s house in the city he grabbed hold of the score of a Prokofiev concerto, at last able to read the notes on the page. He described feeling like a child who is suddenly able to explore an infinite number of possibilities.

At Opus Theatre, as part of our World Series, he will be playing the Carnaval Trilogy on the magnificent Phoenix Opus piano. This piece is the outcome of collaboration between three composers, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Ernesto Nazareth from Brazil and Darius Milhaud from France, each composing one section. Created in the wake of the Rio carnival in 1917, the pieces draw on the samba schools and carnival celebrations of the city with complex rhythms, explosive melody and plenty of Brazilian soul.

noHoKP_AMarcelo Bratke has performed, sometimes with other artists and multimedia projects, anywhere from prisons to leading concert halls, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Salzburg Festival and London’s South Bank. We are delighted that he has agreed to perform here in Hastings in what will be an exciting and memorable event.

The World Series was launched in June to bring world-class musicians to Hastings audiences at accessible prices. Next in the series, on Saturday 27 October, will be Iranian tenor Ramtin Ghazavi, accompanied on the piano by the theatre’s artist in residence, Oliver Poole.


Marcelo Bratke in Concert Opus Theatre, 24–25 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DS (opposite ESK). Saturday 8 September, 7.30pm. Tickets £15 from Hastings Information Centre, online at the Opus Theatre website or on the door.



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Posted 12:08 Monday, Sep 3, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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