They came, we saw, they conquered!
From the very first notes of “Tico Tico”, a tango classic, the Montreal based quartet known as “Quartango” held a capacity audience at the Frank Venables theatre enthralled Friday night. For two pulsating, exciting hours they swept us up in the magic of their talent and the spirited emotion of Argentina’s musical tradition, the seductive art form of the tango. Shouts of “bravo” punctuated the performance all night long, the audience excitement palpable from beginning to end.
Where does one begin to describe what we heard and saw? Words fail. It was simply a delightful bouquet of music that constantly surprised as it took us in unusual directions. Who would have thought the theme from “Mission Impossible” or a celtic folksong would lend itself to that distinctive South American genre and bring us to our feet? They did. All is this – and more – was possible because four extraordinarily gifted musicians play for and with each other with great comfort, respect and verve. Rene Gosselin who has provided artistic direction to the group for more than 30 years brought unique rhythms to life on his double bass. The mastery of composer, arranger and pianist Stephane Aubin constantly mesmerized us as did Antoine Bareil who coaxed soaring sounds from his violin at all the right moments. Narrator Johnathan Goldman‘s bandoneon, a type of concertina long associated with the tango, often took the music to another level as the quartet fused jazz, ragtime, waltzes and classics to create musical magic.
As of this wasn’t enough, there were dancers! Alluring Roxana and darkly handsome Fabian Belmonte took hold of the throbbing rhythms and showed us sure footed, flamboyant, sinuous and elegantly sensuous precision. Their quick kicks and seemingly effortless lifts enthralled. Melody and movement were, indeed, in perfect harmony that night.
Quartango is the complete package. What a privilege to have had them in Oliver. Bravo!
More musical perfection is planned for December 2nd. The South Okanagan Concert Society is bringing award winning Russian Canadian pianist Sergei Saratovsky to the Venables. Sergei is currently based in Vancouver where he occupies the position of piano faculty at the Vancouver Symphony’s School of Music. An added bonus? We learned Friday night he will be joined by his brother Nicholai and that Christmas music will be part of their promised repertoire. Tickets at an affordable price are available on line at www.venablestheatre.ca , at the box office on Mondays between 11 am and 3 pm or at the door if seats are still available.