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Polo Piatti Photo Martina Mars

Polo Piatti Photo Martina Mars

Opus: Classical music for everyone

Local musician, composer and creative innovator, Polo Piatti has a goal: to make classical music accessible to all, not only an elite, high earning percentage of the population. With this in mind, he and his team at The Opus Theatre put together affordable musical programmes for the people of this area with renowned musicians more used to performing at venues hosting thousands of people in the audience. How lucky we are to have such a generous, sincere organisation in our town. HOT’s Zelly Restorick writes.

The Opus Theatre is a beautiful building for staging such performances – and on Saturday (18 May), globally acclaimed musicians, Nina Kotova (cello) and Opus Theatre resident musician, Oliver Poole (piano) gave an amazing concert to a very appreciative and deeply engrossed audience. I’m one of those people who hasn’t been to many classical concerts – and was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend.

Twas clear that Nina and Oliver had worked together before; they appeared to have an almost wordless understanding of each other and their independent yet inter-connected playing.

Oliver Poole Photo Tengo Dolidze

Oliver Poole Photo Tengo Dolidze

Watching Oliver disappear into the music, almost entering a trance-like state was fascinating. At times, he dropped so near to the piano’s keys his head almost touched them – and at other times, he was bent so far back, I wondered how he managed to maintain his balance. Clearly, music, man and piano were intimately, flowingly aligned. And Oliver is such a charming, humble man; his fame and renown in the music sphere haven’t made him arrogant or hugely egotistical.

Oliver was playing the Phoenix Opus Grand Concert Piano, a very special, bespoke instrument, one of the most technologically advanced piano’s in the world.

Nina Kotova Photo Bode Helm

Nina Kotova Photo Bode Helm

And watching Nina Kotova’s fingers move so confidently on her 17th century cello’s strings, producing such deeply resonant notes then sliding down to produce exquisite higher notes was awe-inspiring. She too appeared to be at one with her instrument and had an incredible stage presence.

Both musicians have been playing since their childhoods – and perform all over the world to huge acclaim.

Spielgel in Spiegel by Arvo Part was my favourite of the chosen pieces, although for most of the second half when I had the luck to move into the front row, I had tears rolling down my cheeks, simply from being so close to such amazingly talented performers. Polo Piatti’s piece Lullaby For A Clown, catalysed by the death of a friend who was a clown, was also deeply moving.

Even watching the page turner working with Oliver was intriguing: such a responsibility – to know exactly when to turn the page, to not turn two pages at once or through nerves, send the sheets of music crashing onto the piano keys. And Oliver is known for his ‘sensational interactive improvisations’, which was verified by the page turner, who said he had to maintain absolute full attention, as Oliver ‘ad-libbed’ at times, doing his own thing. How remarkable… to feel so at ease.

Thanks to Polo Piatti and the team at Opus Theatre, thousands of East Sussex residents like myself and friends – now have a home that offers the very best variety in world class musical entertainment and education; at prices that are affordable and a venue to rival any in the West End of London or elsewhere. 

R.C. Hastings

Polo Piatti is such a genuinely caring, humble and generous man; I remember him offering free tickets to under 18s for a series of concerts last year, encouraging young people to get more involved in the classical music sphere – and more recently, free tickets to the Hastings Creatives group. And the performers are also generous spirited, performing for far less than they could earn at a larger venue.

As I said, how lucky we are in Hastings and St Leonards to have such opportunities made available to us.

Thank you to Polo, to musician in residence, Oliver Poole, to Nina – and to everyone involved in this heart-filled venture. You’re all good souls.

Link to The Opus Theatre website.

“Thanks to Polo Piatti and the team at Opus Theatre, thousands of East Sussex residents like myself and friends – now have a home that offers the very best variety in world class musical entertainment and education; at prices that are affordable and a venue to rival any in the West End of London or elsewhere.”

​Bernard Burrell

Posted 09:35 Wednesday, May 22, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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