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Concert review

"Tango Tonight!"

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with vocalist Estefania, Quartango quartet and Argentinean Tango Dancers.

Friday night in Kleinhans Music Hall. Concert repeats at 8 tonight.

Just in time for winter's end, a sultry heat wave enveloped the Kleinhans Music Hall stage Friday in the form of a sizzling quartet specializing in the seductive rhythms of the tango.

Accompanied by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a precocious 18-year-old vocalist and an agile pair of tango dancers, Quartango is internationally renowned for taking this late 19th century Latin musical form in surprising new directions. With elegantly flawless arrangements full of sensuality and wry humor, this group of classically trained musicians infuses the tango with a fascinating mixture of pathos and heat.

And just as engaging was the body language and silent interplay between the four Canadians: Richard Hunt on piano; Denis Plante on the bandoneon, an accordionlike instrument; Rene Gosselin on double bass; and lovely Noemi Racine-Gaudreault on violin. The story these four musicians tell on Astor Piazzolla's "Adio Nonino" is breathtaking. The violin and bandoneon are like plaintive lovers, with the piano narrating the scene as the double bass wickedly plays the devil's advocate. I swear it's palpable.

Dancers Roxana and Fabian Belmonte practically burn a hole in the stage with Argentina's version of dirty dancing. He, in formal tux, and she, in sequined outfits slit up to there, are a blur of swiveling hips and steps so nimble they seem to be dancing with legs completely entwined. There's rapid-fire spinning that ends with Roxana briefly frozen in taut, leggy poses or, impossibly, perpendicular to the ground with her heels on his shoulders.

And it's hard to believe Argentine vocalist Estefania is only 18, as she wrapped her mature vocals around a lovely number by Marino Mores called "Uno."

Lest one think the show is too hot, be aware that the tango is mostly about seduction but, it always keeps some heat in reserve. Classy.

The show repeats tonight at 8.


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