Christmas for the NBCA isn’t Christmas without the annual Christmas Concert at Hamer Hall. Delivered by the NBCA training choirs, the opening segment was presented as a mini-opera, complete with glittery star costumes worn by selected soloists. Works chosen were just as glittering, such as Stars I Shall Find, The Tiniest Christmas Star, Too Small To Shine and Let It Shine/Joy to the World medley.
The repertoire for 2017 was presented with a musical twist for the featured work. The Misa Criolla (or Creole Mass) was written by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez, who specialised in the folklore of his native country. Colourful creole rhythms were complemented by indigenous instruments of guitar, charango, quena flute and bombo along with harpsichord, percussion and string bass. This performance was the centrepiece of the first half before Christmas favourites were accompanied by full orchestra after interval. Performances by tenor David Rogers-Smith and NBCA Men’s Choir helped capture the night’s spirited Christmas festivities, flowing from the Choir’s dynamic first half. As Classic Melbourne’s review of the performance attested: “The stand-out was the choir’s performance of Argentinian Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla (Creole Mass). I’m not aware that this work is often performed in Australia but it lends itself to this sort of group.”