Cecilia in Concert with the Blondes

Wine, Woman and song… 

What does Andrew Lloyd Webber, two blonds, one brunet and a bottle of wine have in common…? If you’ve guessed it, you’re good. If you don’t have a clue, don’t worry, I can’t wait to tell you: the next Cecilia concert!

In the beginning of this endeavour I said I would like to launch each vintage with a music concert. I just thought it would be nice, but I had absolutely no idea who the musicians for later concerts would be. Subsequently I’ve also realized that it’s not that simple organizing a concert without knowing when you will be ready with the next vintage. To call the wine industry volatile is an understatement. Not many new wine businesses can afford to fix capital in vast numbers of bottles lying somewhere in a cellar, until the time is right to release it. With the large quantities of wine available at cut throat prices it is difficult to have the return on the investment necessary to keep these bottles under ideal conditions, regardless of how it might benefit the wine. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, I am just a realistic newcomer to the world of new wine businesses. My focus the past couple of months has very much been to figure out the “what’ where and when” of the wine side of things, with very little time left to worry about the next concerts.

You can therefore imagine my sheer happiness when Zorada Temmingh, one of the two blonds mentioned above, suggested collaborating with me for the next Cecilia launch! Temmingh and Elna van der Merwe are two pianists from Stellenbosch, who arranged themes from the Beatles for two pianos during their student days for fun.  Today, 25 years later, they are using it as a concept to mesmerize audiences with their brilliant and vibrant improvisations of music from different composers.

Their repertoire grew from the Beatles to include Mozart, Abba and Bach. The latest addition was premiered during the last weekend of September 2009 at the annual Cultivaria festival in Paarl. The composers in the spotlight were Verdi and Andrew L Webber.

In October last year I spent two days in Paris concluding a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Bordeaux. The highlight of the weekend was going to the Opera de Bastille for a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto. It was a magical experience. The only small problem was that the subtitles were in French and not in English as I am used to in South Africa! It did not matter much though, the music – voices and orchestra – were brilliant.

Last week, as I sat in the audience listening to the familiar themes from Rigoletto  played by The Blondes, I was reminded of the universal language of music. It speaks with or without words… (I realize an interesting coincidence as I am writing: There I was in Paris listening to the music of Rigoletto in the opera house where, according to legend, Webber’s phantom roamed, and here, one year later I was hearing the music of the same two composers being performed together in my home town!)

The music for the next concert being taken care of, I still have another problem: I am a brunet, and Zorada and Elna are both blonds…! Watch this space if you want to find out how we solve the problem…

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