Queensland Symphony Orchestra billed this concert as Firebird – An Instrumental Spectacular and it’s easy to see why. QSO was firing on all cylinders here, playing a solid program that brought a huge range of colours and sounds to the QPAC Concert Hall. Recorded by the ABC for future broadcast (and apparently also for online showings), this was a top-notch performance.

Umberto Clerici conducts the QSO at its Firebirdconcert. Photograph supplied

That’s all the more impressive given that the original conductor Elena Schwarz was unable to conduct the performance. Earlier in the week QSO had announced that current COVID travel restrictions between Queensland and New Zealand had made that impossible, which is definitely a pity, but at (very) short notice, Umberto Clerici stepped in to conduct the performances instead. Apparently, his initial debut as a conductor with QSO was in fact only a few weeks ago. While I’d known his work as a cellist, I hadn’t seen him conduct before, so I was keen to see how he worked with the orchestra.

The concert opened with Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz...