Review: Philharmonic of Wits

Philharmonic of Wit. Pic: Comp

Philharmonic of Wit. Pic: Comp

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ANITA and Martin are opera singers whose beautiful voices provide moments of actual ecstasy in what is an otherwise painful hour of tripe delivered by the Philharmonic of Wit (or Filharmonia Dowcipu as they’re known in their native Poland).

* * *

EICC, MORRISON STREET

What a shame that this troupe of accomplished, versatile musicians should be shackled to feeble jokes dating back to the Stone Age, and reflecting that era’s benighted views about women.

You can tell something’s wrong from the moment they enter – all the men in dinner jackets like proper musicians, and all the women decked out like the staff of the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. We are repeatedly invited to ogle them, and the amount of hair tossing they’re forced to do while executing tricky musical phrases is criminal. We are also asked to laugh at the sight of portly older men capering on stage. Really?

The musical fare itself is mixed, clearly a case of appealing to the least common denominator. It features a dated combination of classical works mixed with popular tunes. So Beethoven and Bach interleaved with Hava Nagila and Highway to Hell – admirably belted out by one of the violinists, who also gives us her My Heart Will Go On, a song that should be banned for the remainder of this millennium, as a humanitarian act.

Things really only come to life during a sprightly rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In that finds the orchestra taking to the aisles, but by then it’s too late.

There’s too much cringe and not enough crescendo. The fact that this receives any stars at all is an homage to the group’s musical proficiency and the absolutely sublime delight (ten minutes out of the hour) provided by the operatic arias.

Until Sunday