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Perfect pairing of performers and Peninsula produce
The fifth performance on the Peninsula Summer Music Festival (PSMF) programme, a night of food, wine and music, was a signature PSMF combination. The imposing architecture and breathtaking views from the dining room of Port Phillip Estate set the mood for the hundred or so punters, who started their evening with a two-course meal made from locally-sourced ingredients, paired with Port Phillip Estate wines.
The recital took place at the cellar door overlooking the vineyard and beyond the bay to Phillip Island. Italian guest guitarist, Massimo Scattolin, teamed up with soprano, Hannah Dahlenburg, to present a range of pieces loosely tied together with the theme of love in four parts: sweetness, fire, destruction and delusion.
Dahlenburg's engaging personality established an immediate rapport with the audience. Her introductions to the pieces were charming but brief. This added to the informality of the intimate atmosphere but made accuracy of reviewing very difficult, given that no programme notes were provided.
The works of composers, including Vivaldi, Handel, Donizetti, Giuliani and Villa-Lobos, were (in some cases) adapted for voice and guitar with varying degrees of success. Popular favourite Lucia di Lammermoor, one of the most emotionally charged arias around, was an unexpected but well-received choice for such an intimate setting.
Altogether, it was an atmospheric performance by masters of their art. Scattolin's virtuosity shone through most brightly during the solo guitar performances when he afforded Dahlenburg's voice a 'little rest - to be a gentleman is important.' Dahlenburg's exceptional range and ability to control the volume of a very high note was exemplified in Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.
Last night's performance had the feel of a charming musical soiree held on a private estate. Its combination of informality, beautiful settings and top-notch performances, is unique to this under-the-radar festival now in its tenth year and gaining recognition with every passing year.