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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

CSO gets ready for Prom

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Shell Prom is set to be a magical evening of musical theatre classics brought to life by the CSO, with the help of some of Australia’s finest performers.

Conductor Geoffrey Castles tells Canberra Weekly that hearing the orchestrations of some of his favourite pieces performed in full flight will be very exciting.

“I’ve tried to select a program that won’t only appeal to the audience but be fun to play.

“With my career, orchestras tend to be on the smaller side, so to have the Canberra Symphony is really delightful and exiting for everybody.

“With all the Broadway hits, it should be a really lovely, crowd-pleasing evening … Bring the family, bring a picnic blanket,” he says.

Having had a successful career in musical theatre that’s seen him work as musical director on a number of large-scale touring productions, Castles says he put the program, which features numbers like Carousel Waltz, Meet Me in St. Louis The Trolley Song, Les Misérables’ Bring Him Home, and more, together himself with the help of soloists Genevieve Kingsford and Simon Gleeson.

“The whole idea is that we want to present something for all ages, all walks of life, and all interests. It’s finding a program that encompasses all of that using mainly the Broadway catalogue.

“We’ll feature material written across the entire 20th Century, including shows that have been turned into movies, with the earliest written song a Cole Porter work from the 1930s.

“On the other hand, we have material that’s opened on Broadway in the last few years,” he says.

While this is Castles’ first time working with the CSO, he says having worked with the two soloists before he’s confident it’ll be a magnificent show.

“I recently worked with Genevieve on an Australian production of Sweeney Todd … she played the role of Joanna and was absolutely beautiful in the role, I had wanted to work with her for a long time.

“Simon and I actually toured together in Les Mis; he played Jean Valjean.

“We toured together for nearly two years and, as tends to happen, we haven’t crossed paths since, so it’s really lovely to reconnect with him on this,” Castles says. The CSO’s Shell Prom will be held at the Lawns of Government House, Yarralumla, Saturday 30 November 6pm; cso.org.au

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