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Oliver Poole, left, Polo Piatti and Carla Paoli present the new World Series of concerts.

Oliver Poole, left, Polo Piatti and Carly Paoli present the new World Series of concerts in Opus Theatre.

World artists to the fore in Opus concert series

Opus Theatre is launching an exciting series of concerts featuring artists from all over the world, with British soprano, Carly Paoli first up. Nick Terdre reports. Photos by Jonathan Bruce.

The Opus World Series opens on Saturday 9 June with British soprano, Carly Paoli accompanied by pianist, Oliver Poole, the theatre’s artist in residence. Later concerts will feature Portuguese pianist, Pedro Gomes, Balkan band, Blato Zlato, Brazilian pianist, Marcelo Bratke, Iranian tenor, Ramtin Ghazavi and Russian-American cellist, Nina Kotova.

“Together with the theatre’s fantastic director, composer and impresario Polo Piatti, I am truly thrilled and honoured to welcome six inspirational and internationally renowned acts this year,” said Poole.

“The messsage of the series is simple: to unite the world through music. We all believe in one core principle: the power of music and its ability as a universal language to enlighten and bring change to our world.”

The World Series embodies the Opus ethic of providing art which is accessible to all, said Piatti. This is reflected in the price of the tickets – £15 – and the accessibility of the music and the artists. “We will bring down the barriers between the performers and the audience,” he  said.

Opus Theatre is based in His Place church in the town centre, a medium size venue with excellent acoustics and the world’s most technologically advanced grand piano – the Phoenix Opus, designed and built by Phoenix Pianos of Kent with a carbon fibre soundboard which gives it a unique sound.

Intimate space

“The venue is not consecrated ground,” Piatti said, “but it is an intimate space with an incredible spiritual feeling when you perform.” One well-known artist invited to take part in the World Series had at first refused when told it would take place in a religious space – but after visiting it, he changed his mind and has now been included in next year’s programme.

Carla Paoli in action.

Carly Paoli in action.

Classical music has something of a reputation for being remote, but that is the kind of barrier that breaks down when you hear and see it performed in the Opus Theatre, Piatti said. “Even if you’ve never experienced it before, you’ll walk away from here feeling you’ve experienced something quite new.”

Carly Paoli is a leading British soprano who has performed alongside well-known names such as Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Elaine Paige and Steven Tyler. “I’m really looking forward to the concert,” she said. “This looks like a really magical performance space.”

Shortlisted for the inaugural Sound of Classical award, Paoli will be performing works from her debut album, Singing My Dreams, and  her upcoming album, including famous opera arias, her own film score adaptions and songs from musicals.

With Poole on the piano, she gave a brief foretaste of the upcoming concert, her powerful voice filling the Opus  auditorium and rendering the need for amplification redundant.

Incredible life stories

All the artists in the series have incredible life stories, according to Poole. Marcelo Bratke, for example, grew up severely visually impaired, and taught himself to play the piano by ear, without being able to read music. It was only when he had made a name for himself as a leading concert pianist that a surgeon gave him sight.

He now devotes much of his time to the Camerata Brasil Orchestra, which he founded to give musical opportunities to shanty town kids. The orchestra tours extensively with him.

Ramtin Ghazavi, who will also be accompanied by Oliver Poole, is unique as Iran’s only tenor: western classical music is not taught in Iran, and his singing career was only made possible by the opportunity to study opera in Italy.

The only non classical music offering in the inaugural World Series will come from the Bulgarian band, Blato Zlato who fuse the melodies and rhythms of eastern European folk music with the flare of New Orleans, where they are based, to produce their own brand of swamp music.
Opus World Series: Carly Paoli, soprano, accompanied on the piano by Oliver Poole Saturday 9 June, 7.30pm. Opus Theatre, entrance at 24–25 Cambridge Street, Hastings TN34 1DS (opposite ESK).Tickets £15 plus booking fee from Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Muriel Matters House, 2 Breeds Place, Hastings TN34 3AA or through the Opus website.

Further concerts in the World Series
Saturday 16 June: Pedro Gomes
Saturday 30 June: Blato Zlato
Saturday 8 September: Marcelo Bratke
Saturday 27 October: Ramtin Ghazavi and Oliver Poole
Date to be announced: Nina Kotova and Oliver Poole

Posted 11:35 Saturday, Jun 2, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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