Twin pianists deliver impeccable style in ‘Perfect Pairs’ concert

12.01.18
Ward Stare
Sarasota Herald Tribune

With guest conductor Ward Stare and the rarity of two piano soloists, identical twin sisters Christine and Michelle Naughton, the Sarasota Orchestra delivered one of its most standout performances in memory.

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The shadow of Mozart was on stage with touches of Ravel as Poulenc admittedly drew from their palettes. Even Mozart's nose-tweaking taunts were sprinkled about which made the music all the more engaging. The Naughtons held our rapt attention through their concluding chords which were delivered like a mic drop.

Stare provided enthusiastic direction on the podium and in his commentary to the audience. I bet he's a natural story teller and it shows through his conducting. He was clearly having a good time leading the larger orchestra through Ravel's Valse Nobles et Sentimentales. The notable ingredient of technical mastery is well in the hands of these musicians.

The big event of the evening in my mind was the masterful performance of Richard Strauss's "Rosenkavalier" Suite. The massive operatic score, even in this distilled suite, makes tremendous demands on each musician that were clearly delivered with a unified sense of purpose and passion. The meter and the spirit of fin de siècle Viennese waltz runs through the music and Stare skillfully managed the deep swells and troughs of this operatic behemoth along with the delicate nuances. What an experience and an unexpected gift for the holidays!  

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