REVIEWS OF PEGASUS OPERA PRODUCTION
(April 12-14, 2007)
(click on image for larger
Here is a link to hear the portion of the April 5 BBC Radio 4
program with Mark Lawson which discussed Delius' KOANGA:
Delius out of Africa
By Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard 13.04.07
Koanga: slave to the rhythm
Opera has always loved exotic locations but when Yorkshire-born
Frederick Delius set Koanga on an 18th-century Louisiana plantation, it
wasn't as fanciful as it might seem. In the 1880s, he managed an orange
plantation in Florida; entranced by the music of the black workers, he
allowed their harmonies to permeate his opera about black slaves and
their struggle for love and dignity.
Inevitably Koanga, premiered in 1904, romanticizes the slaves as noble
savages, yet the music is nourished by genuine empathy. Delius's
European romanticism gains extra life from the transfusion of "alien"
musical blood, and even the inclusion of a couple of banjos is made to
fit, if imperfectly. To mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the
slave trade, Pegasus Opera Company (motto: "Harmony in Diversity") is
giving London its first sight of Koanga for 35 years, and while it
doesn't emerge as a masterpiece, it is more than a mere curiosity.
The production is blessed with central performances of real presence.
In the role of Palmyra, the mixed-race slave who provides love
interest, Alison Buchanan displays a rich, occasionally vibrato-heavy
timbre. Sadler's Wells is not an easy theatre for a voice to fill, but
when Palmyra prepares for death, as operatic heroines usually must,
Buchanan rivets the attention. Here, Delius is at his most Wagnerian
and not shamed by the comparison. As Koanga, the new arrival from
Africa whose voodoo practices threaten the plantation's Christian
veneer, Leonard Rowe is more commanding still, and manages to make the
Although the rest of the singers struggle to get the words across, they
are not always helped by the cumbersome libretto and Delius's dense
harmonic textures, which in turn are not well served by the
rough-and-ready playing of the Aurelian Ensemble under Martin
Nor does Helena Kaut-Howson's staging get beyond operatic convention.
Movement is stilted, everything is delivered face-out to the
auditorium, and the decision to include a quartet of cavorting
supernumeraries provides more clutter than clarity. Delius
Slaves to the rhythm
OPERA: Some fine soloists - and a couple of
banjos - do their utmost to enliven a rare staging of Delius opera
Koanga: Koanga Sadlers Wells, London EC1
From The Observer - 22/04/2007
Observer Review Arts Pages
APOLOGY OR NO, the debate prompted by this year's bicentenary of
the abolition of the British empire's slave trade must surely suggest
that it is now beyond tactless, if not yet illegal, to sing 'Britons
never, never, never shall be slaves'. Given that it is also, you might
venture, quite some time since Britannia could even vaguely be said to
have ruled the waves, William Wilberforce can now be called in aid by
those who have long wished the Last Night of the Proms to be a due
celebration of the world's greatest annual music festival rather than a
flag-waving outpouring of jingoistic nostalgia for the mixed blessings
of this country's imperial past.
Sermon over - or would be, were it not for another musical moment
prompted by this year's anniversary: a rare revival of the slave opera
Koanga , staged by a company forged by a 1992 production of Porgy and
Bess to improve the opportunities offered to young singers in this
country from all ethnic backgrounds. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the
founder of Pegasus Opera, Lloyd Newton, reports that 'there is still
undoubtedly some way to go'.
For now, he can but offer thanks for the improbable youth of a
Bradford lad born in 1862 with the unusual Yorkshire name of Theodor
Albert Frederick Delius, known to his parents as 'Fritz'. Finding
himself 'unsuited' to life in the family textile business, Frederick
secured his father's reluctant blessing in 1884 to head off to Florida
to grow oranges. There, he took lessons in counterpoint and
composition, as orange-growers do, before decamping to New York,
Germany and, finally, France.
But the songs of the Negro workers in Florida stuck in Delius's
mind. Their distinctive melodies and improvised harmonies inspired his
1887 Florida Suite (written in Leipzig) and Koanga , written in Norway
and France in 1895-7, premiered in Germany in 1904 and last seen in
London 35 years ago. Drawn from a story by George Washington Cable, it
offers a vivid portrait of the struggle of late-18th-century slaves in
America to win even a shred of human dignity.
The arrival of an enslaved African prince on a Louisiana plantation
precipitates a saga of love and betrayal that proceeds via escape and
voodoo rituals to the seemingly inevitable deaths of both. The original
stilted libretto by CF Keary has been much revised, most recently by
playwright Olwen Wymark, in an attempt to help it resonate for our
times. But the cruel acoustic of Sadler's Wells, whose large pit
presents a formidable challenge to singers, meant that few words could
be deciphered beyond the solo lines of the two principals, Leonard Rowe
and Alison Buchanan as Koanga and his beloved Palmyra.
These towering central performances were ably supported by Aris
Nadirian as the dastardly plantation owner Don Jose Martinez and Adrian
Dwyer as his henchman Perez. But Helena Kaut-Howson's staging did
little to breathe theatrical life into a largely static piece,
enlivened only by the occasional eruptions of a troupe of manic
dancers. The neglect into which the piece has fallen has less to do
with its unusual casting requirements than with Delius's miscasting as
a composer of operas.
His want of theatrical instinct sees the work progress at a
stately, often monotonous pace enlivened only by a few set-pieces. That
he had recently fallen under the spell of Wagner is evident throughout,
apart from the charming introduction of a pair of banjos to remind us
we are in the Deep South. Given no more than an adequate performance by
the Aurelian Ensemble under Martin Andre, this work seems destined to
return indefinitely to the operatic wings, where, musically, if not
philosophically, it probably belongs.
Dark tale from Delius
From The Express on Sunday - 22/04/2007
By Clare Colvin
Pegasus Opera Company Sadler's Wells, London (run ended)
OPERA is racially all-embracing when it comes to divas such as the
black American soprano Grace Bumbry, whose roles ranged from Nordic
goddess Fricka in The Ring Cycle to Verdi's Lady Macbeth.
But operas written specifically for black singers are few - only
Gershwin's popular Porgy & Bess springs readily to mind.
Delius's rarely performed black opera Koanga was chosen by Pegasus
Opera to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade
because of its subject - it is set in the deep south of America during
the days of slavery. Delius had a special affection for his first
opera, in which he captured the atmosphere of the Deep South where he
had worked on a Florida orange plantation in the 1880s.
The songs of the workers remained in his mind and inspired his music.
In this highly-charged tale of romance and revenge, the African
prince Koanga is brought to a southern plantation ruled by Don Jose
Martinez and his henchman Perez. They can't break his spirit, so they
marry him off to the slave Palmyra, who is Martinez's illegitimate
Koanga rebels against the owner's tyranny, casts a voodoo spell on
the plantation and kills Perez, but he himself is killed at the end.
The score is an eclectic mix of Wagnerian influences with a touch of
negro spirituals when the whole cast erupts into hand-clapping. There's
even occasional strumming of banjos beside the stage. The libretto,
partly Delius's own, has been revised numerous times since the 1904
premiere. It was adapted for this revival, the first in London for 35
years, by the playwright Olwen Wymark.
As Koanga, Canadian baritone Leonard Rowe, a former Porgy at New
York City Opera, is commanding both in physique and voice. Alison
Buchanan as Palmyra has a rich full tone, and her death scene,
evocative of Wagner's Brunhilde, grips the attention. Njabulo Madlala
also impressed as Voodoo priest Rangwan.
Enslaved to swamp fever
From The Sunday Telegraph - 22/04/2007
By Peter Reed
Delius's Koanga certainly fulfils Pegasus Opera Company's brief as
far as 'empowering those who feel pushed towards the periphery of the
opera world' (to quote Pegasus's founder Lloyd Newton) is concerned,
but however honourably their new production strives for cultural and
ethnic inclusion - this new production at Sadler's Wells, the first in
London for 35 years, is one of the events marking the 200th anniversary
of the abolition of slavery - there's no disguising this early (1897)
As a young man, Delius ran an orange plantation in Florida, and the
heady music of the black workers was the major source of inspiration
for this romantic tale of conflicted love and religion set among the
slaves on an estate in 18th-century Louisiana. There is also another
powerful source of enslavement at work here - namely Delius's to
Wagner. The debt is there for all to hear, imperfectly assimilated but
with enough of Delius's own voice making its presence felt. It's an
uneasy mix; a lot of the music is like a long, slow, soft landing, and
for all its abundance of melodic line there's not much in the way of
memorable melody. The slaves' choruses often seem on the brink of
turning into a sort of Ol' Man River generic, and there is a sadly
homogenised tribute to Tristan und Isolde that kicks off the heroine
Palmyra's lament over the dying Koanga. Things hot up in the Act III
voodoo sacrifice and there is a gaudy climax of hope and optimism, but
the work as a whole doesn't really flow.
The director Helena Kaut-Howson, keen to assert Koanga's slavery
agenda, has made some changes in a work already much tinkered with over
the years. The prologue and epilogue are given contemporary relevance
with a gaggle of really annoying schoolgirls doing their slavery module
in a museum of slavery - it made sense in this context despite the fact
that hardly a word of the specially adapted libretto could be heard.
Another more lurid bit of directorial hijacking - a quartet of dancers
emoting their socks off in an everyone-getting-a-go, empowering sort of
way - was plain ghastly.
The two leads were strongly cast and did an impressive job in
bringing Koanga to life. Alison Buchanan gave depth and involvement to
the role of Palmyra, the mixed-race slave girl who falls in love with
Koanga. As the voodoo prince from a far-off land, Leonard Rose had
presence and authority to spare, and managed the role's terrifyingly
high baritone range without too much strain. In the smaller roles, Aris
Nadirian and Adrian Dwyer were suitably whip-cracking and sadistic as
the estate owner and his overseer. The chorus of rather robust-looking
slaves made a powerful and haunting contribution, although some of
their choreographed movement veered alarmingly close to Black and White
Minstrels. With so many people to move around the stage, it was hardly
surprising that the staging was functional and rather static, and
Delius's music needs a fatter, lusher sound than the Aurelian Ensemble
could provide, but under their conductor Martin André, it got
general feel of the score's steamy romance.
Rapturous lyricism in the plantation
From The Daily Telegraph - 20/04/2007
Features: The Arts:
By Rupert Christiansen
PEGASUS OPERA, SADLER'S WELLS
ALTHOUGH only the most fanatic of Delius's admirers would make
great claims for any of his six operas - all of them suffer from turgid
librettos and a lack of basic theatrical backbone - their alluring
late-Romantic musical charm means that they won't quite lie down and
At Sadler's Wells, Koanga has been revived by Pegasus Opera 35
years after its last performance there. Composed in 1895-7, a decade
after Delius's stint managing a Floridan orange grove, it tells a
creakingly melodramatic tale in which the titular African prince, sold
into slavery and transported to a Southern plantation, turns to voodoo
in order to revenge himself on his masters after his wife is abducted.
Pious claims of relevance to the bicentenary of the slave-trade
abolition aside, it really is a load of old hooey, full of dire racial
stereotypes and lacking in any real humanity. Helena Kaut-Howson's
production, unsuggestively set within the tight frame of a white box,
does it few favours. The approach is stiff and cautious, and the opera
remains an inert picturesque pageant rather than animated drama.
But once past its dragging first act, Koanga does offer some
irresistibly rapturous lyricism. The idiom is French Wagnerian, richly
coloured, harmonically dense and emotionally melancholy (the heroine
Palmyra kills herself with an unmistakable nod to Isolde's
"Liebestod''), but sprinkled and leavened with the supple rhythms and
melodic grace of authentic plantation songs and dances. If only the
voices weren't so frequently drowned out - a compositional shortcoming
exacerbated by Sadler's Wells' ungrateful acoustic and the absence of
Pegasus Opera is a company that operates a policy of positive
discrimination in favour of black singers. As Koanga himself, Canadian
baritone Leonard Rowe sang with dignity and poise, at his best in his
impassioned outpouring at the climax of the second act and the voodoo
incantations of the third. Alison Buchanan was over-stretched by the
vocal demands presented by Palmyra - a role that Leontyne Price would
have graced - but she is an attractive performer and a sensitive
musician. Adrian Dwyer and Aris Nadirian gamely played the villains,
and the amateur chorus was well drilled and vivacious.
But it's in the pit rather than on stage that Koanga springs to
life. Sympathetically conducted by Martin André, the orchestra
Delius's sumptuous scoring and painted some lushly evocative mood
Feature on Delius' KOANGA as it relates to black
(The Voice, April 13, 2007)
It sounds like a cliched debate, but it seems that it's still
today. The question is: Why don't black people like opera?
This week, as Pegasus Opera Company gears up to present their latest
work, Koanga at Sadler's Wells, the company's founder and Artistic
Director, Lloyd Newton, is urging black audiences to claim this opera
as theirs. Founded in 1992, Pegasus is a well-respected touring
company, which aims to demystify opera by making it accessible to as
wide an audience as possible.
Still, Newton feels that black people just aren't taking enough
interest and they should “ particularly in Koanga, which he tells us
more about. Koanga is about an African prince who's caught up in
slave trade. He's taken to England to work on the plantation, but he
refuses to work because he's a prince. But he's tempted into work by
being offered the plantation owner's daughter to marry.
He agrees to work, but it all takes a nasty turn. So as well as being
about slavery, it's also about love, betrayal, treachery and much more.
But of course, the play's subject matter commemorates the 200th
anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, which is important.
And it's great that it will be running at Sadler's Wells, which is a
very prestigious venue. The music in it is wonderful and the cast is
95% black, which is something you don't see very often!
Newton reflects on the growth and development of Pegasus over the
company's 15-year history.
We started out doing educational work and we've gone on to do national
We've been from the Bloomsbury Theatre to Hackney Empire to the
Barbican and now we're at Sadler's Wells. So we really have grown and I
think black people need to claim this production in particular.
Evidently, Newton doesn't feel that black people are claiming opera.
He feels that this is because black people don't often know when such
works are showing.
I went to Sadler's Wells earlier this year to see Matthew Bourne's
Swan Lake and I couldn't see one black person in the audience.
I do believe that many black people enjoy opera. I've got many black
friends who enjoy it. But I don't think it's marketed enough to us.
That's why I'm so keen to stress that black people need to claim this
particular opera because it's theirs. It's not Mozart or Puccini or
Verdi “ it's not an opera that deals with European history. It's about
black people“ our history. And it's a major production with a great
orchestra and some fantastic singers.
But as I say, I think the major problem is with marketing. If black
people know about these productions, I believe they will go.
Well, you've read it here! But apparently, not all media institutions
are as keen to promote opera.
I've tried to approach radio stations like Choice FM or Kiss, in a bid
to get them to promote us, and been told it doesn't fit their remit
because it's not R'n'B-driven.
As far as I'm concerned, if there's something going on that's about us
and our history, it should be marketed to us in the places or on the
stations that we listen to.
But perhaps this is the problem. Though it's without a doubt wrong to
suggest that black people only listen to hip-hop, R'n'B or reggae,
perhaps there is an issue with our familiarity “ or lack of “ with
opera. Perhaps the majority of young black children aren't growing up
listening to the symphonies of Beethoven or other classical composers.
Or maybe the old fashioned notion of opera being an 'elitist' thing
isn't far off the mark. Perhaps it is only upper and middle class
people that are interested. Newton has heard it all before, but he
disputes all of the excuses.
I think some black people find the musical element of opera
inaccessible because they think it's not theirs and that's nonsense.
Music is music “ it's universal. I was in New York last year at an
opera by a company called Opera Noire (led by African American singers)
and the amount of black people coming to see it was incredible. There
were all these black people looking sharp and looking good and it was a
And as for the elitist idea, Opera Noire's production wasn't
high-brow. Black people from all walks of life come out to enjoy their
You only have to look at our history and all that we've had to do to
survive. Black people can take on any art for and excel “ any one. This
is not the white man's problem. This is our problem and we need to take
the initiative to claim these productions and not tell ourselves opera
isn't for us. It's a wonderful art form everybody can enjoy.
Koanga is at Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1
from April 12 to 14.
Published: 13 April 2007
Wells, London: 12,13,14 April 2007
(credit: Alastair Muir)
opera company Pegasus marks the
bicentenary of the abolition of slavery with Delius' criminally
neglected opera Koanga, set in the plantations and swamps of
Its absence from this, or any other British stage, for
35 years make
this a timely as well as topical revival and nothing short of a
Sadly, the four performance run at Sadlers Wells is all too short.
Delius was the most cosmopolitan of Englishmen,
Yorkshire and living variously in Florida, Germany, Norway and France.
Along the way, he picked up many influences, including the song of
black plantation workers in the southern states of America, the
harmonies of Edvard Grieg and the verismo style of contemporaries such
as Mascagni and Puccini. The most obvious early influence was the God
of Bayreuth and Koanga has some very Wagnerian-sounding chords,
almost breaking into The Ride of the Valkyries towards the
end of Act Two.
Koanga's dramatic structure lurches and
romanticised tale of plantation owners and rebellious slaves, of the
human spirit transcending inhuman conditions. To many, the only
familiar part is the exuberant dance sequence La Calinda, the
culmination of the wedding between the eponymous Prince/Voodoo Priest
and the lovely Palmyra, which stands alone as a concert piece although
itself too seldom programmed.
Martin Andre's small orchestra can't produce
full a sound
as Delius' rich lush score deserves although it grows stronger as the
evening progresses, with some lovely brass playing in the final act.
The Act One quintet gels, with some fine work from the principals and
strong choral backing, but overall the singing is variable, with a
mature vibrato-laden Palmyra from Alison Buchanan and stiff
Koanga from Leonard Rowe.
If the singing leaves something to be desired, the
acting is worse.
There's some amateurish chorus work, a less than menacing overseer (Adrian
Dwyer) and two slaveowner's henchmen straight out of the pirate
scenes in Peter Pan. Director Helena Kaut-Howson
makes the mistake of not trusting the composer's musical interludes.
They may be slightly long (certainly for the simple staging here) but
they are not helped by the over-active quartet of dancers preventing
any sense of reflection, and the sound of the dry ice machine pumping
out clouds of unnecessary stage mist mars the final orchestral sweep.
The transposition of the brief Prologue and
plantation verandah to a museum with a group of present-day schoolgirls
eager to learn about their heritage, is a nice touch but a piece of
inspiration that is all too rare in Kaut-Howson's staging.
Whatever the weaknesses of the production, we have
great deal to
be grateful to Pegasus for, in allowing us to hear Delius' glorious
score in its proper context. It would be nice to think that this
production will bring about a renaissance for this son of Bradford and
the major companies will take up the lead. Last year, English National
Opera produced Vaughan Williams' Sir John in Love and it's time
they did the same for this more deserving work.
- Simon Thomas
From The Guardian - 14/04/2007
Guardian Review Pages
Hearing the voices of African-American workers singing on a Florida
orange plantation in the 1880s proved to be one of the crucial
experiences of Delius's life, giving him a feeling for lush harmony and
freed-up rhythm that would shape the best of his own music. The history
of the workers' forebears as slaves also inspired his opera Koanga,
though Delius's lack of practical experience in the genre - and
arguably his limited aptitude for it - have always mitigated against
The libretto - partly Delius's own, but revised by numerous hands since
the 1904 premiere, and adapted further by the playwright Olwen Wymark
for this revival by Pegasus Opera - tells of an African prince brought
as a slave to a Louisiana plantation ruled with a rod of iron by
Martinez and his brutal henchman Perez. But even they cannot break
Koanga's spirit, so they marry him off to the slave Palmyra, herself
Martinez's mixed-race daughter. Koanga eventually kills Perez, but is
himself killed for his act of rebellion.
A composer with a surer understanding of the stage could have made more
of this than Delius does. There is a fatal lack of pace, with far too
much slow music, much of it sounding like badly remembered Wagner. But
under Martin Andre's baton, the chorus boasts some of the best writing
in the piece, while the two leads - Alison Buchanan's dignified Palmyra
and Leonard Rowe's regal Koanga - impress in roles that ideally require
Wagnerian voices. As Martinez and Perez, Aris Nadirian's trenchant bass
and Adrian Dwyer's nasal tenor fit the bill nicely.
Helena Kaut-Howson's production is at its most persuasive when sticking
to basics; the regular interventions of a quartet of dancers seem
surplus to requirements. But the show's chief problems aren't Pegasus's
fault so much as Delius's.
Delius: Koanga April 12 2007, First night impressions
Koanga in a production by the Pegasus Opera Company at
Wells Theatre in London [for the uninitiated, such as overseas readers,
formerly the home of Sadler's Wells opera, which became the English
National Opera after its move to the Coliseum] is a wonderful piece of
enterprise from a very brave company. The first night audience
was large, but there were a few empty seats. It was also unusual
and pleasing to see so many black people attending a ˜classical' music
event in London.
One odd thing, however, was that the broadcast publicity had the
production as being ˜all black'. This seemed a bit odd if some of
the characters were white, but then the message in the programme from
Lloyd Newton, founder and artistic director of the company, included
the words: ˜Pegasus seeks to break down stereotypical racial casting,
to allow singers of all ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to play roles
for which they not normally be cast.' That explains it then,
except that in this production black people were played by black
singers and white people by white singers, although perhaps Aris
Naridian, an Iranian born of Armenian parents, might be a borderline
It looked lovely. Helena Kaut-Howson's production with quite
simple but effective sets by Kenny Miller, who also designed the
costumes, frequently had the appearance of a work-of-art you might want
to keep. As an overall experience, however, the first half (there
was one interval, after Act 2) came across as rather dreary, with a
considerable lack of the dramatic cut-and-thrust that can make opera
such an exciting all round experience. The third act, however,
was a different matter. Everything seemed to move up a few notches and
some of the music was fabulously beautiful, very much helped by the
Aurelian Ensemble under Martin Andre' in the pit, and how nice to find
that very fine violinist, Keith Gurry, recently retired from the BBC
Symphony Orchestra, leading the second violins.
The programme made something of the inadequacies of the libretto, and
this was a revised version by Douglas Craig and Andrew Page.
Unfortunately, however this mattered little, as diction, on the whole,
was so poor that it was not possible to hear the words. There
were notable exceptions in Leonard Rowe (Koanga) and, interestingly,
the chorus, despite one offstage wobble. Ironically, people
following the signed version at the Saturday matinee would probably
understand the most.
One problem with the work is that trained singers are not necessarily
good dancers, and the dancing ranged from the quite imaginative and
impressive to the untidy. The ˜frantic' dance of Act 3 Scene 1,
which the synopsis promised, was a real let down.
On this evidence, was it worth doing, and is the opera unjustly
neglected, deserving a place in the standard repertory? The answer to
the first question is a definite yes, even if only as a curiosity, but
as an overall operatic experience it lacks something. It was not
long enough to be boring, but, on the other hand, it did not feel like
a full-blown satisfying experience at the end.
First night impressions by Terry
Sanderson (April 12)
The production is very interesting and
spirited, with a
local black community choir singing the chorus parts (very well).
The only change from the original is that the prologue and epilogue are
now set in modern times in a museum, where students are looking at an
exhibition about slavery. There they meet the curator who replaces
Uncle Joe. At the end, instead of flowery words about the bright May
morning, there is a hope that such things will never happen again.
The soloists are very good, but the orchestral reduction is a bit
telling “ some of the lushness of the music is lost, and the orchestra
itself is not top notch, unfortunately.
All the same, I found it a very moving experience. It is obviously a
project that the black community has taken to its heart, and I have
never seen so many black people at an opera before.
Second night impressions by Terry Sanderson (April 13)
I went again to the second performance of Koanga at
Sadler's Wells and was astonished at the improvement. It was like
watching a completely different production.
The orchestra seems to have found its stride and was playing far better
on the second night (perhaps the conductor had given the players a
roasting, which they would have deserved).
The technical side was better (on the second night there were
projections of images on to a screen to cover the musical interludes,
whereas on the first night we had been confronted with a blank screen,
unexplained. The smoke machine had also been very intrusive with loud
hissing noises over the magical final orchestral interlude).
Everyone seemed more confident and relaxed and it all seemed to hang
together better. Perhaps it was my position in the auditorium “ I was
further forward on the second night and in sight of the orchestra.
What a shame it was the first night that the critics saw.
Second night impressions by John Skuse
Newspaper reviews, I think you may have read, made some good
points about the
production which seemed to revolve around the idea that
needed apart from the music and the singing. The four dancers
around the stage at every available opportunity worked
hard but to
no apparent purpose. As for dry ice poring forth. Why? Why?
is such a hackneyed idea that producers using such a device
pensioned off! (imho)
I thought the orchestra played very well at the second
deserved their applause at the conclusion. The soloists
the parts of
Koanga and Palmyra coped well given all the distractions
surrounding them. I
could continue with comments about the supporting artists but
repeating what you have already read.
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