Music enthusiasts had a magical evening at the highly anticipated Romance Concert in Auckland. The concert featured a lineup of exceptionally talented amateur artists alongside brilliant professionals. Our talented ensemble of both seasoned stars and promising starlets captivated the audience with their renditions of beloved romances, timeless songs, and enthralling arias from renowned operas. Their performances were elevated by the expertise of our remarkable accompanists, who flawlessly supported them throughout. A few of our performers showcased their versatility by accompanying themselves with an array of instruments, including a grand piano, a violin, and an accordion, adding an authentic and enchanting touch to the overall experience. 

While I don’t want to delve into an extensive analysis of each performance, I want to convey my immense joy in listening to our talented artists. I took the opportunity to personally approach almost every one of them, expressing my sincere appreciation and admiration for their remarkable abilities.

Nevertheless, I feel compelled to highlight the exceptional efforts of Marina Bloom, the mastermind behind this concert. Her remarkable organisational skills and infectious energy deserve recognition. Gathering a diverse group of creative individuals, even for a temporary collaboration, is a formidable challenge. With different ambitions, expectations, and often certain wariness towards the talents of others, it takes a skilled individual to unite them. Yet, Marina has accomplished just that! In this local artistic community, it seems as though there was little to no competition felt, at least during the concert. 

The concert programme itself was delicately and thoughtfully structured, allowing each performer to showcase their unique talents. The fact that Marina, as the hostess of the evening, chose to perform last demonstrates the careful consideration given to the programme. Adding to the intimate ambiance of the concert was the host, Olga Andropova, who skillfully delivered warm and fitting words for each participant. Her heartfelt remarks contributed to the chamber-like atmosphere of the event and elicited a warm and enthusiastic response from the audience.

Lastly, let me provide a comprehensive list of all the participants who graced the stage and whose exceptional talents contributed to the resounding success of the concert: Nelya Bagryantseva (piano, vocal), Marina Bloom (vocal), Nina Byzova (balalaika, vocal), Sergey Gulyaev (violin, vocal), Jamma Kogon (piano), Olga Panasenko (vocal), Alexander Radchenko (accordion, vocal), Lyaysan Safina (vocal), Olga Tarasenko (vocal), Oleg Tokaev (piano, vocal), Alisa Haeuten (vocal), Olga Shanina (vocal), Veronika Shilova (piano).

I must also acknowledge the outstanding contribution of sound producer Evgeniy Klubnichkin and the artistic talents of Aleksandra Levina, whose beautifully crafted mandalas and paintings adorned the hall in a festive manner, adding an extra touch of visual splendour. 

In my opinion, events like these, where our talented individuals come together to showcase their creativity, have the potential to establish and evolve into cherished traditions.

We express our heartfelt appreciation to these extraordinary talents!

Photo by Nadezhda Muravleva.

                                 Rimma Shkrabina, Auckland

                               (translated by Lena Naumova)