12.09.08 Sting in Singapore... ''Sting from two perspectives'' says the New Straits Times...


Rock star Sting did classical in concert. How did he fare? A classical critic and a pop fan give their verdicts.

Much like the album that interesting mishmash of classical and 'pop' production values.

Despite relying on electronic amplification - considered a sacrilege in classical settings - there was the intimacy of a chamber concert. Sting sang with an immediate, straightforward approach that placed emphasis on the text. I was impressed with his singing of 'In Darkness Let Me Dwell', a slow 'ballad' where he imbued his grainy voice with a dark melancholic texture, bringing out the sadness of the music.

There was much dulcet sweetness in the voice as he held the long sustained notes of the song. While he kept things subtle with minimal gestures and a black outfit, I was amused by Karamazov's flamboyant look - the very antithesis of the classical performer. He wore a velvet coat over a yellow T-shirt and tossed his shoulder-length hair in between virtuosic plucking.

This classical music ignoramus wanted to shout 'Roxanne!' during the encore just to see how many heads would turn in disapproval. But the stunt proved unnecessary, for Sting himself eventually acknowledged what 99 per cent of the well-heeled audience (approximately 1,000-strong) at the Esplanade were probably there for: the Police frontman, not so much John Dowland, the 16th-century English composer whose songs Sting covered with Bosnian lutenist Edin Karamazov.

Towards the end of his 75-minute set (including two encores), Sting segued into non-Dowland songs, saying he believes, but cannot prove, that there is a strain of music influenced by Dowland that has carried on through the ages. There was a song from 1898 (Where The Corals Live) and another from 1912 (Linden Lea).

Then came 'a song from the '60s'. The opening notes of the Beatles' 'In My Life' immediately brought the crowd to life. Compared to the tentative appreciation shown during the Dowland songs, the applause practically demonstrated roaring approval, tinged with relief.

© New Straits Times
Sting brought life and charm to historic, brooding lute tunes from the Elizabethan era during his classical concert in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. Pop music legend Sting regaled scores of fans with a flawless show at the Plenary Hall, KL Convention Centre on Sunday night. Those who feel you missed out on a evening of hits like 'Every Breath You Take', 'Roxanne', 'Englishman in New York', 'Brand New Day' and the like need not fear... you missed out on something else altogether!
After a year long break for a little thing called The Police reunion world tour, Sting's attention has returned to his celebration of the life and work of Elizabethan composer and songwriter John Dowland (1563-1626)... The 57 year old Englishman has a natural connection with the material. His instantly recognisable voice has never adopted an American accent so his singing was at once familiar and appropriate. Similarly his rather serious demeanour matches Dowland's songs which are drenched in melancholy...
If the Elizabethan singer-songwriter John Dowland were alive, he would be gratified that Sting is such a champion of his brooding love songs set to lute accompaniment...
The Luciano Pavarotti tribute concert staged recently in the world heritage site of Petra, Jordan, in front of only 500 people, now will be available to a much wider audience. A 90-minute filmed version of the October 12 show will screen in 24 U.K. cinemas on December 2 in high definition, followed by the December 8 DVD release "The Pavarotti Tribute: One Amazing Weekend in Petra" (Decca).The October 12 show at the Amareen Camp featured Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, who performed with Pavarotti as the Three Tenors for more than 17 years. Among other performers were Sting, Angela Gheorghiu and Andrea Bocelli...
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