Menaka singers - ‘September Song’ - Satisfies!

Menaka De Fonseka Sahabandu deserves our sincere congratulations and a big ‘thank you’ for her recent direction of an extremely delightful evening of ‘September Song,’ at the Lionel Wendt.

Signs of levity and enjoyment floated on gossamer wings when the Junior and Senior choirs presented their varied renditions in the first half of the programme. Special mention must be made of Don Dinesh Subasinghe’s ‘The Princess of the Lost Tribe’ performed by the Senior choir sans accompaniment. Originality and creativity were the hallmarks stamped on the awesome work of this young composer’s superb harmonies.

The post interval operatic presentation of highlights from Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’and Adolphe Adam’s ‘Si J’etais Roi’ were a refreshing musical pot pourri for the fortunate audience. Presenting opera with an amateur cast is no easy task, therefore, all praise is due to Menaka for her choice of direction by Gehan Cooray in the ‘Marriage of Figaro,’ and Trudi Herft in ‘Si J’etais Roi’. These two young directors demonstrated true professionalism both in the magnetism of their direction and stage presence.

Special mention must be made of Dhanushi Wijeyakulasuriya’s ‘Susanna’and Tahanee Aluwihare’s operatic presence as ‘The Countess.’ Both ladies displayed a remarkable degree of professionalism in their clarity of voice, charming delivery and most of all their brilliant presentation so visually enjoyable. This is what opera is all about. Laknath Seneviratne captured the essence of Figaro’s character with his clear baritone voice and personality. It was refreshing to see Jaliya Senanayake as ‘Basilio’ and ‘DeCurzio,’ his promising tenor voice showing superb maturity. Gehan Cooray as ‘The Count’ had the difficult task of directing, singing and acting but delivered all three with equal aplomb.

Trudi Herft has to be congratulated on her excellent direction of ‘Si J’etais Roi.’ The Goanese Fishing Village, the costumes and choreography all deserve special applause. Jaliya Senanayake once again excelled in the higher reaches of his fine tenor voice rendering the dual roles of ‘Pifea and Zephoris.’ Joanne Aloysius as ‘Nemea’ displayed a very professional operatic presence in a clear mezzo soprano voice. Dushyanth Aluwihare’s regal presence portrayed ‘Le Roi’ very aptly.

It was amazing to hear Menaka accomplish the near impossible task of solo accompanist of the entire programme with perfect left hand fingering of the magical Mozart music in the ‘Marriage of Figaro.’

This production has amply demonstrated that anything is possible with hard work, dedication and imagination. Everyone who took part in this production should be very proud of their untiring efforts in bringing us the absolute essence of opera, something we thought was unattainable in the past - BRAVO!


Mano Chanmugam

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