Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany
14th December 2011
Aida Night of the Proms with Nile Rodgers & Chic, Stanfour, Seal, Alison Moyet, Div4s and John Miles
Classic meets Pop! That’s the motto of the Night of the Proms (NOTP) since 1994, when the first event of that kind was taking place, also in Dortmund. The 75 head grasping classic orchestra Il Novecento plays the classics and accompanies, together with the Electric Band, the Pop stars. And those stars were extraordinary also for this year’s edition with SEAL or ALISON MOYET among others. Orchestra, band, choir, backing singers and stars together with an extraordinary light show delivered once more an extraordinary concert evening where popular music from 300 years of musical history were presented. http://www.notp.com/deutschland
The second Dortmund show was something special for anyone. First, there was a standing area in front of stage, usually the whole hall is provided with seats. Additionally, the show was filmed by several cameras for TV and a DVD… and, AIDA was the sponsor for the NOTP for the first time after Nokia was presenting the event for many years. This year’s edition was more modern and proved once more that classical concerts are not boring but really entertaining. Usual classic concerts have no real show effects, the NOTP is different with an extraordinary light show and big LED elements and screens in the back. Anything is exactly adjusted to the three hours show supporting the mood of the particular piece of music. Also the sound is very important, especially when you are using so many classical elements. Over the years, technicians improved the sound more and more and so, you could now experience a high-class concert sound.
The show started sharp on 20:00 with the classic overture from the operetta ‘Leichte Kavalerie’ by Franz von Suppé where the Il Novecento orchestra already proved its qualities. The orchestra was founded 1991 by Robert Groslot. The Belgian conductor still leads the orchestra and grow to a NOTP star over the years himself. The orchestra included modern influences into the classical play and also is able to play Pop and Rock songs, but also an Italian female soprano quartet, the DIV4S (speak: Divas). The presented a classic medley and proved their singing qualities for the first time on that evening. Besides that, they are really attractive and an eye catcher. Denise, Isabella, Vittoria and Sofia are classical trained singers who interpret the best-known opera hits in a new way. The quartet debuted 2008 with Andrea Bocelli in Rome and are now during the NOTP tour in Germany for the first time. The divas soon made room for John Miles interpreting ‘Valerie’, a song by Amy Winehouse, together with the backing singers. Miles made his first musical steps already in the age of five when he learned playing the piano. His hit ‘Music (was my first love)’ is known by anyone.
Backing Singers John Miles
When Miles left the stage, he made room for a young German band, STANFOUR, who shaped the radio program of the last year. By brothers Alex and Konstantin Rethwisch first only planned as studio project, the band soon developed to one of the hottest German newcomers of the last years. Three songs from their debut album ‘Wild Life’ hit the charts, ‘In your Arms’ even made it to rank 14. The band already toured as support with big bands such as A-HA or BACKSTREET BOYS. Also the second album ‘Rise & Fall’ as well as the single ‘Wishing you well’ made it into the top 10. Originally from island Föhr, the band moved to Hamburg to live their dream: make a living as full-time musicians. To live this dream, Konstantin even left school. For their appearance at NOTP, they brought three songs, ‘For all Lovers’, already mentioned ‘Wishing you well’ and ‘Life without you’. Especially the younger audience was really excited by the performance where the rock songs were perfectly complemented by classical elements. The choir FINE FLEUR added an extra pinch of salt to the songs.
After so much modern music it was time for more classical stuff. Together with FINE FLEUR, the orchestra presented the overture from the opera ‘Ruslan and Ludmilla’ by Michail Iwanowitsch Glinka as well as a short part of the ‘Carmina Burana’, an anthology of medieval lyrics from 11th and 12th century by various writers, set into music by Carl Orff. Then it was time for a premiere at NOTP: a battle between DJ Replay and the Il Novecento orchestra. The DJ played and mixed songs by artists like MICHAEL JACKSON’s, FAITHLESS, QUEEN or DAVID BOWIE, being answered by classical pieces from Chopin, Beethoven or Tschaikowski, among others. Supported by the choir and a lot of movement on stage, the experiment became a real success and people were screaming loudly. The battle proved that every era had music with its own power, but still everything was Pop(ular) music.
DJ Battle: Il Novecento with Robert Groslot DJ Replay & Fine Fleur
On we go with more traditional classic music. It was time for the ladies from Italy again. DIV4S presented ‘The Prayer’, originally sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. This was a fantastic experience underlined with wonderful blue lights and live backing projections. Following the four ladies was a solo performance of the FINE FLEUR choir. The choir was founded in the course of NOTP 1995 established by the initiative of Jef Smits based on following premises: a vocal mixture of vocalists with profound vocal training plus people just loving good singing. The choir does not have a constant amount of members. It changes according to production and circumstances. For the NOTP, 20 male and female vocalists are taking part in the performance. While they are a real choir for the classical compositions, they deliver backing vocals for the pop songs and fire up the mood. Now, they presented a mix of the more modern ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and the classic ‘Agnus Dei’, a part of the Mass.
For the following three songs, the stage turned into a 70s/ early 80s disco where CHIC and Nile Rogers spread a lot of disco fever with ‘I want your Love’ and ‘Le Freak’. Nile Rogers is truly a song writing legend. He wrote hits for many international stars and also for his band CHIC. He started his career in 1970 as studio musician and played in the band of legendary Apollo Theatre in New York. Soon, he played as support for the JACKSON 5. But already back then he planned to found a rock band. Finally in 1976, Rogers and band colleague Edwards started melding Funkjazz with Disco and Rock elements. The result was called CHIC. The band became famous by hit like ‘Le Freak’, ‘Dance, Dance, Dance, Everybody Dance’, ‘My Forbidden Lover’ and ‘Good Times’. Latter one was played as last song before the break. And this one had something special. A lot of fans were bet to stage where they all were dancing wit the stars. The disco fever soon reached the whole hall where you could see many people dancing.
Nile Rodgers & Chic
After the break, Il Novecento, FINE FLEUR and one of the backing singers welcomed the audience back with ‘Circle of Life’ being a part of the presented ‘Lion King Suite’. Scenes of the movie were underlined with live music, either sung or dramatically played by the orchestra. John Miles impressed once more with ‘Can you feel the Love tonight’. One great voice was replaced by another one, Alison Moyet, one of the stars I was eagerly awaiting. Alison is a real multi-talent, moving between different musical genres like Punk Rock, Pop, Chanson or Blues. First playing in various unknown bands during the early eighties, she soon was looking for musical partners to found her own musical project. She found ex DEPECHE MODE member Vince Clark and both founded YAZOO becoming famous already with the first single ‘Only You’. After two albums, both split up in 1983 and Moyet started a solo career. The first album ‘Alf’ occupied British charts for a full year. For her second album ‘Raindancing’ she received her third Brit-Award. After several solo albums, Vince Clark and Moyet were on tour as YAZOO in 2007 after 25 years since their split. In Dortmund, the Powervoice impressed with ‘That ole Devil called Love’, ‘All cried out’ and the YAZOO hit ‘Don’t go’. A little different classic performance followed afterwards with Patrick De Smet playing ‘The Typewriter’ on a typewriter, supported by the orchestra, the moderator hitting a little bell and “volunteer” Daniela making noises with a rattle.
Alison Moyet "Volunteer" Daniela
Then, the moderator got support by musical and opera singer Anna-Maria Kaufmann, being well-known i.e. for her role in ‘Phantom of the Opera’. She told some background info to the three movies being presented now, or better part of the soundtrack using classic songs. First one was the movie ‘Mozart’ underlined with Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, followed by ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ presenting also a piece of Mozart, ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. Last one was ‘The King’s Speech’ presenting parts of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. But not only famous songs are used for movies, some movies also make song famous. So it happened with SEAL’s ‘Kiss from a Rose’ from the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack. SEAL was surely the highlight of the show. He is one of the most successful solo artists of the nineties with his remarkable voice moving somewhere between Soul, R&B and Rock. His career started in the mid-eighties as member if British Funk band PUSH. Soon, he met producer ADAMSKI and recorded the single ‘Killer’ with him climbing the top of British Charts with it. The solo album ‘Seal’ with the hit ‘Crazy’ was also very successful, but the final international breakthrough was made with the mentioned ‘Kiss from a Rose’ which was nominated for three Grammies. His current album ‘Soul 2’ was out just before the NOTP concert tour.
SEAL’s song, the last appearance of DIV4S followed, presenting the Andrea Bocelli hit ‘Con te Partiro’, which Bocelli sang at his appearance at NOTP. If John Miles is present, of course one of his greatest hits, ‘Music (was my first Love)’ could not be missed. Since one song for SEAL is definitely not enough, he was back for more, first exploding to ‘Papa was a Rolling Stone / Killer’ and pretty quickly jumping off stage and walking, no, better running, into the audience, climbing over fences, holding hands with his fans. He repeated this for ‘Amazing’ before he was back on stage for the calmer ‘Crazy’. Finally, under big applause, all artists came together again on stage to present the final song, ‘We are Family’, original written by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards.
That the Night of the Proms is not a usual concert is also visible in the setlist. Performances of the big pop artists are mixed up with classical tunes. Always, the stars are supported by the big orchestra what surely gives a special note to all the well-known songs.
01. Il Novecento - Overture “Leichte Kavalerie” (Overture from the operetta ‘Leichte Kavalerie’
by Franz von Suppé)
02. Div4s - Div4s Medley
03. John Miles - Valerie (Amy Winehouse cover)
04. Stanfour - For all Lovers
05. Stanfour - Wishing you well
06. Stanfour - Life without you
07. Il Novecento & Fine Fleur - Overture “Ruslan and Ludmilla” (Overture from opera ‘Ruslan and
Ludmilla’ by Michail Iwanowitsch Glinka) & Carmina Burana
08. Il Novecento & DJ Replay - DJ Battle (with several Pop and Classic songs)
09. Div4s - The Prayer
10. Fine Fleur - Rolling Agnus (Mix of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele and ‘Agnus Dei’)
11. Chic feat. Nile Rogers - I want your Love
12. Chic feat. Nile Rogers - Le Freak
13. Chic feat. Nile Rogers - Good Times
- break -
14. Il Novecento, Fine Fleur, Backing Singers, John Miles - Lion King Suite (with several songs and
movie themes, i.e. ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘Can you feel the love tonight’
15. Alison Moyet - That ole Devil called Love
16. Alison Moyet - All cried out
17. Alison Moyet - Don’t go (Yazoo song)
18. Il Novecento & Patrick De Smet - The Typewriter
19. Il Novecento & moderation by Anna-Maria Kaufmann - 3 Movies (with movie scores for ‘Mozart’,
‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The King’s Speech’)
20. Seal - Kiss from a Rose
21. Div4s - Con te Partiro
22. John Miles - Music 2005
23. Seal - Papa was a Rolling Stone / Killer
24. Seal - Amazing
25. Seal - Crazy
26. All artists - We are Family (Song by Sister Sledge, composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers)
The mix of classic and Pop is surely not easy, but the concept of NOTP succeeded once more. Pre-Sales for next year’s edition will start already short before Christmas. And even though you might now be into classic or into this kind of Pop music presented there, the event is highly recommended.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)