Review: The Magic of Mantovani Orchestra @ Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth
By: Jeremy Miles
More than 30 years after his death, king of the romantic strings Anunzio Mantovani,1950s hearthrob and light classical pioneer, may be all but forgotten by the modern world but in Bournemouth he remains a musical hero. Not only did he spend his retirement living in the town but for the past five years Mantovani-mad percussionist Paul Barrett has staged packed-out concerts in Bournemouth and Poole celebrating his idol.
Last night saw his astonishing, handpicked 48 piece Magic of Mantovani Orchestra triumph as a near-capacity crowd enjoyed their take on the Italian born bandleader’s lush treatment of a raft of sixties hits. There was also a rapturously received appearance by award-winning Indonesian vocalist Joy Tobing.
With some new arrangements by the show’s co-producer, Poole-based violinist Franck Leprince, the orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland and led by Matthew Scrivener, a last minute replacement or indisposed John Bradbury, wove some real Mantovani magic, playing everything from Hello Dolly to Yesterday, Strangers in the Night to I Left My Heart in San Francisco. There were big screen memories too with visits to Maigret and Peyton Place, images of sixties icons like Batman and the Pink Panther, Burton and Taylor and of course The Beatles.
Paul Barrett, as always, played percussion throughout delighting the crowd with his novelty hats and fielding banter from regular compere the former BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Ed “Stewpot’ Stewart, another Poole resident.
There were big new Franck Leprince arrangements of the Bond and Avengers themes and he also provided 2004 Indonesian Idol winner Tobing with a stunning new version of the Dusty Springfield hit You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, the first song she had ever performed on European soil.
Tobing, who was accompanied by her musical director Matheson Bayley, also performed her signature hit Love’s Promised Land to an audience that included the song’s authors Kevin Porée and Charlotte Gordon Cummings, the Indonesian ambassador and members of the Mantovani family.
The evening ended with Mantovani’s multi-million selling signature hit Charmaine featuring the shimmering cascading strings that set hearts aflutter back in the 1950s and brought the bandleader 700 proposals of marriage in a single year.