National Opera Canberra presented their inaugural production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito at Llewellyn Hall in April 2021, directed by the company's Artistic Director, Peter Coleman-Wright. The production has received outstanding reviews, and Australian conductor Dane Lam, conducting the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and playing continuo for the recitatives, has been praised by critics for his versatility and interpretation:
"Equally responsible with the soloists for National Opera’s opening-night success was Australian-Chinese conductor Dane Lam, also the keyboardist in recitatives. Lam kept a riveting hold on tempos and the instrumental-vocal balance, ever reflecting the fluctuations of the work’s flickering dramatic barometer. His strict control of rhythmic detail and phrasing inspired the strings to deliver a lucid late-Classical corporate tone, and to cushion important woodwind roles, such as the two original basset horn obbligato accompaniments."
Malcolm Gilles, ABR Arts *****
"That musical gold shone from the stage of ANU’s Llewellyn Hall under conductor Dane Lam’s impressive orchestral interpretation. The pressure was on from the start to win the audience over after an unsettling 20-minute delay but all was forgotten when Lam served up a deliciously refined overture, then continued painting Mozart’s score with athleticism, insightfulness and emotional weight. With fortepiano before him, Lam also shifted to conducting from the keyboard while integrating the many recitatives with perceptiveness. At all times, the singing was supported with sensitivity. The Canberra Symphony Orchestra also responded commendably across the night with verve and diligence."
Paul Selar, Limelight Magazine ****
"From the first imposing chords of the overture it was clear that this was going to be a performance to remember with the musicians of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra responding to Dane Lam’s clear, commanding conducting style with playing that was crisp, accurate and supportive. As well as conducting the orchestra, Lam also accompanied the recitative on harpsichord, and impressed with his ability to maintain an excellent balance between the orchestra and singers throughout."
Bill Stephens, Australian Arts Review
"Lam as the conductor was determined, bright and effective. His work was nicely sequenced between his playing on the fortepiano and his direction. At times, with the baton in his left hand, and the right working the keyboard, his combination of tasks held the performance together with aplomb."
Rob Kennedy, City News
"Dane Lam conducted an orchestra made up of instrumentalists from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. There was a delayed start of about 20 minutes but Lam immediately charmed the audience with a spritely and muscular interpretation of the overture; he moved from the podium to the keyboard for the recitatives."
Janet Wilson, Opera Magazine
Find out more about National Opera Canberra's production of La clemenza di Tito here.