CSO Prom promises a musical picnic on the lawns at Yarralumla

Ian Bushnell 27 November 2018

The lawns of Government House will host the 36th CSO Prom Concert on Saturday. Photos: Supplied.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra returns to the lawns of Government House at Yarralumla this Saturday evening for its traditional end-of-year Prom concert.

Under the baton of guest conductor Guy Noble, this iconic, family-friendly picnic concert on the first day of summer promises an enjoyable and accessible mix of classical favourites, with everything from Mendelssohn to Puccini, and Bernstein to Tchaikovsky.

Accompanying him for this, the 36th annual Prom, will be 2016 IFAC Australian Singing Competition prizewinner soprano, Morgan Balfour, who has appeared with organisations such as American Bach Soloists, Sydney Philharmonia, Brisbane Baroque Festival, Manhattan Concert Productions, Coriole Music Festival, and the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.

Guy Noble has worked with a wide variety of international performers with orchestras across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Western Australian, Tasmanian, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and Ben Folds, The Beach Boys, Dianne Reeves, Glenn Frey, Randy Newman, Clive James, Conchita, and The Two Cellos.

Balfour, “blessed with a name, a voice and a stage presence destined to go far”, is building a reputation in the US as well as at home, with recent engagements including Handel’s Messiah, Solomon and Saul, Mozart’s Requiem, Hasse’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus.

In 2017 she appeared with Pinchgut Opera as Cephise in their production of Rameau’s Pigmalion, in 2016 as Honour in Purcell’s King Arthur with Brisbane Baroque Festival and Zerlina in scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

During her time at the San Francisco Conservatory, Balfour performed as Younger Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, Rodelinda in Handel’s Rodelinda, Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Meleagro in Handel’s Atalanta. Other roles include Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Hawaii Performing Arts Festival), Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen (Opera New England) and Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (QCGU).

Soprano Morgan Balfour is excited about her Prom date on Saturday.

CSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Nicholas Milton said the Prom was a wonderful way to enjoy the atmosphere of an orchestral concert in a unique setting as the shadows lengthen and sun sets over Yarralumla.

“This is a Canberra tradition. Thirty-six years of wonderful concerts, music-making, celebration, and picnics,” he said.

“It’s music, melodies, tunes that they’ve heard before, they might not know where the music comes from, but one thing I can guarantee is all of the music is just joyful. It’s music that inspires people, that uplifts them, that engages them, that opens their hearts, and enriches their souls.”

Food and drink will be available at the event but packing your own picnic to enjoy with a bottle of wine on the lawns in the spectacular setting of Government House is a Prom tradition.

You can bring your own alcohol but Lerida Estate Wines and Capital Brewing Co will be in the grounds, along with other caterers including Shot Clock Coffee, Hector Asado and SES Barbeque.

You can bring glassware and cutlery but no knives over 8cm in length, and plastic cups and glasses would be the safest option. Make yourself comfortable with your own chair and picnic blanket.

Icon Water will provide water refill stations around the venue.

Remember, smoking is not permitted within the grounds of Government House.

Booking tickets before the event is cheaper than at the gate, and it is advised to get to the event with plenty of time to spare as bags need to be checked by security.

As usual, the event is in the lap of the weather gods but the forecast is for a very warm, sunny day with a maximum of 29 degrees.

Any decision to cancel the event will be made on the advice of the Bureau of Meteorology and Government House. Follow the CSO on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date announcements.

CSO Shell Prom, Summer and Song: Lawns of Government House. Gates open at 4.45 pm, with the concert starting at 6 pm. For more information and tickets visit cso.org.au or call CSO Direct on 6262 6772.

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