Jun 27 2023.views 178
Soprano opera singer Kishani Jayasinghe drew a full house on a Monday night at her concert, ‘Kishani Sings for LRH’, a charity show in aid of the leading pediatric hospital in Sri Lanka, the Lady Ridgeway Hospital. She was accompanied on stage by composer and concertmaster Lakshman Joseph de Saram and several principals of the Chamber Music Society of Colombo on violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. The show, which took place at the Lionel Wendt Theatre, was hosted by the ever-witty Arun Dias Bandaranaike.
The evening opened with Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, a set of three orchestral suites, in which Kishani performed Siciliana from Suite No. 3. She paid tribute to the Italian masters of opera and her all-time favourite composers by singing two arias from Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’ and Giuseppe Verdi’s aria ‘Caro Nome,’ adding that this composition from Verdi was one of the first arias she ever learned. “This is one of the first arias I ever sang when I was 14 years old, and it is a song that holds many fond memories for me.”
Having promised her audience a variety of genres, Kishani changed up the pace with a medley of traditional songs from the British Isles and the Mediterranean, accompanied only on piano by Johann Peiris. After a brief intermission, Kishani returned to the stage to perform a song from Georges Bizet’s world-famous opera Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers). The opera, which takes place in ancient Ceylon, featured Kishani in the lead role of Leila in 2015. This was the first time ever for a Sri Lankan to take on this role in history.
Following the performance were Verdi’s La Traviata and Lauretta’s aria from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. The final song for the evening was from French composer Charles Gounod’s timeless classic ‘Faust’ which was dedicated to all the jewels in her life, particularly to her parents and her family. As the audience chanted for an encore, Kishani returned to the stage with the Chamber Music Society for one final performance.
Upon the conclusion of the show, Kishani was met with thunderous applause and a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience, who were captivated by her powerful and emotive voice. Clutching the flower bouquets she received from well-wishers, she said “I’m so thankful to all of you. I always say that performing at home is performing for my toughest audience, but it is also the most rewarding. I’m thankful to the Chamber Music Society, Lakshman, and everyone else who made this possible.”
Overall, Kishani Sings for LRH was a huge success. The principles of the Chamber Music Society were a fantastic addition to the show, elevating the operatic music and heightening the experience for the audience. Kishani’s ability to effortlessly transition between different styles of music showcased her versatility as a performer and left a lasting impression on all those in attendance.
“It was fantastic. Kishani is obviously the best at what she does; she’s got a mesmerizing voice, and it’s lovely to just listen to her. I absolutely loved the medley she performed and the arias.”
“I’ve been a fan of Kishani for a very long time, and I’ve been to nearly all of her shows held here. She was absolutely brilliant tonight.”
Pix by Manoj Ratnayake