Reviews



Performance Reviews

“Heleen is one of those talents who compares to the exquisite artistic excellence of British-born cellist Jacqueline du Pré”.

“She played with a level of musical sophistication, weaving rich sonorities and dynamic contrasts into a tapestry of exquisitely balanced and blended sounds that only a virtuoso could create”

“Her playing had a level of concentration that held the capacity audience in rapt attention, constantly challenging her instrument to produce the tiniest whispers of sound with contrasting dazzling cadenzas”

”…gorgeous, quietly breathtaking. Bravo!”

Quirky Master Pieces, Mike Nettmann, Bay Chronicle, 2012.
Solo Recital, Aroha Music Society, Turner Centre, KeriKeri, with Terence Dennis, March 2012. Works by Beethoven, Debussy and Britten.

“The recital set a high standard of performance for the very large audience of students and classical music devotees.

“…leisurely passages drew the listener to the beauty of resonance of the one instrument and the variety of accompanying textures and melodic agility of the other”.

“Balance could be difficult, but not with these two performers, who appear to have developed an exceptional understanding of each other’s interpretation and desired levels of nuance.”

“Sonata for Cello & Piano in C major op.65 by Benjamin Britten …stunningly interpreted,”

“very professional performance recital.”

Lunchtime concerts open in style, Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times, 2012.
Solo Recital, Marama Hall Lunchtime Concerts with Terence Dennis. March 2012.

“The Southern Sinfonia, under the direction of Hamish McKeich and with guest pianist Deidre Irons, produced a highly successful concert in the Regent Theatre on Saturday.

“Special praise is due to cellist Heleen Du Plessis, whose interplay with Irons contributed significantly to the work (Brahms Piano Concerto no 2 slow movement with cello solo for whole movement),which won exuberant cheers and stamping from the audience. “

Excitement and energy on stage, Otago Daily Times, 2012.
Romantic Grandeur, Regent Theater, Dunedin. As principal Cellist of Southern Sinfonia and soloist in Brahms concerto for piano with Deidre Irons, piano and Hamish McKeich, conductor, March 2012.

“Sonata for Cello and Piano (2010) by one of South Africa’s leading composers, Peter Klatzow, received its New Zealand premiere last week, by du Plessis and Dennis, at the Nelson Winter Music Festival.

“…a kaleidoscope of thoughts from home, infusing passionate interpretation, opened in bright vivid mood. Passages of profound beauty, some with deep shady resonance were particularly memorable. This sonata is a modern work I would like to hear again.”

Big house treated to “Cello Matinee”, Otago Daily Times, Elizabeth Bowman, 2012.
A Cello Matinée, Marama Hall Lunchtime Concerts, Peter Klatzow Sonata for Cello and piano with Terence Dennis, Michael Haber (USA) and Cellists of Otago. Marama Hall, Dunedin. July 2012.

“An extraordinary talent…exquisite artistic excellence”
“She played with a level of musical sophistication,weaving rich sonorities and dynamic contrasts into a tapestry of exquisitely balanced and blended sounds that only a virtuoso could create”
“Capacity audience held in rapt attention”
“Heleen captured all the subtlety and nuances of the cello and made her instrument sing”
“Here was a demonstration in the musical balance of brain and heart-gorgeous, quietly breathtaking”

About the Arts with Mike Nettman, Bay Chronicle, March 22, 2012, Recital Keri-Keri, NZ. Sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy and Britten with Terence Dennis.

“A high standard of performance for very large audience”
“leisurely passages drew the listener to the beauty of resonance of the one instrument and the variety of accompanying textures and melodic agility of the other”
” freshness and clarity was retained to the end.”
“exceptional understanding of each other’s interpretation and desired levels of nuance.”
“suitably agitated … a delightful “catch me if you can” mood… stunningly interpreted… snappy…”
“very professional performance recital”.

Lunchtime concerts open in style, Otago Daily Times, 14 March 2012,  Marama Hall, Dunedin ,NZ
Sonatas by Beethoven and Britten, with Terence Dennis piano,
Read the full review>>

“Special praise is due to cellist Heleen Du Plessis, whose interplay with Diedre Irons contributed significantly to the work, which won exuberant cheers and stamping from the audience”.

Excitement and energy on stage,Otago Daily Times, 26 Mar 2012, Brahms Piano concerto no. 2 with Deirdre Irons, piano, Hamish McKeich and Southern Sinfonia, Regent Theatre, NZ

“In the Sonata for Cello by Debussy plaintive melodies were stunningly delivered…both performers interpreted the composer’s uncertainties and despair in troubles times with flair and passion.The soul of the cello in particular was at one with the inner spirit of the performer. Melody and extremes of lyricism prevailed, as in the luxuriant statement of the cello….A captivating recital”

“Music for allowing soul to catch up with body” Otago Daily Times 27 May 2011. TriOtago with Terence Dennis piano, Tessa Petersen, violin, Heleen Du Plessis, cello, Marama Hall, Dunedin

“Three outstanding musicians in their individual fields of performance in this country …performed with sincere contemplation and passion”…”a delightful, forward driving, polished performance”The trio delivered the Weber trio with fine balance,nuance and excellent contrasts”
“an excellent recital which truly demonstrated the technical expertise of three professional musicians”

“Recital accentuates talents of musicians” Otago Daily Times 13 April 2011 Flute trio with Luca Manghi (flute), Heleen Du Plessis (cello), Terence Dennis (piano) Marama Hall Dunedin

“Both soloists are excellent performers… conveying a conversation between apparent equals, singing in unison and finishing each other’s sentences with various rejoinders from the orchestra…bravo!”

“Near-Capacity crowd treated to triple virtuosity” Otago Daily Times 2 April 2011. Brahms Double concerto with Southern Sinfonia, Dunedin Town Hall

“The performance was brilliant….a very polished and powerful performance of Beethoven at his best. Sumptous romantic texture poured forth – cascades, nay torrents of notes streamed from the piano and rich string lyricism created a depth of passion….”

Otago Daily Times. November 2010. TriOtago with Terence Dennis, paino, Tessa Petersen, violin and Heleen Du Plessis, cello

“Du Plessis possesses a relaxed, unpretentious delivery with an engaging stage presence, compelling her audience to become immersed in her music-making, and the pathways of constant instrumental dialogue were concise and intuitive.”

Marama Hall, Dunedin. Otago Daily Times. September 2010

“Rachmaninov’s Andante from Sonata in G minor is a beautiful work, having a rich, long, soaring melody, performed here with breathtaking lyricism.  An encore …was given to an audience that was not ready to leave such a beautiful performance.”

St Paul’s Cathedral, Otago Festival of the Arts, Dunedin. Otago Daily Times. October 2010.

“Du Plessis’ incredibly accurate technical control emphasized the fact that attention to fine detail on the one hand and the explosive eruptions on the other hand are necessary elements in fully enlightening the contents of the work.”  “The cellist produced magical sound contrasts and meaningful phrasing.  The performance was marked by many dramatic impulses and a powerful interaction between the performers.”

Musaion Hall, University of Pretoria. Beeld. December 2009.

“Intensity, desolation and a variety of other emotions were expressed, demonstrating the Russian composer’s ability to create a strangely other-worldly sound. As a whole the performance was filled with detail, sound colour and dynamic extremes.”  Musaion-Trio -  Zanta Hofmeyer (Violin) Heleen Du Plessis (Cello) and Malcolm Nay (piano) as well as guest violinist Jacques Fourie and violist Elmarie van der Vyver.

Arts Festival in Potchefstroom, Aardklop, Conservatorium of the North West University, Potchefstroom. Beeld. August 2009.

“In the Cello Sonata no.2 in F Op.99, the mutual influence between Du Plessis and Nay was extraordinary constructive and inspiring. Heleen’s performance penetrated deep into the work in an idiomatic way and was illuminated with ample sound production.” “The Musaion Trio with Zanta Hofmeyr (violin), Heleen Du Plessis (cello), and Malcolm Nay (piano) proofed how profound balance, vigorous power and colour can be used to achieve harmonic and melodic expression.” “In the Brahms Trio nr. 3 in C the best characteristics of each player forged together: buoyancy and melancholy blended with humor, fierceness, charm, depth and tenderness. An almost ideal coherence of all elements was reached.” Musiaon Trio with Zanta Hofmeyr violin, Heleen Du Plessis, cello and Malcolm Nay, piano.

Atrium Hall at the University of the Witwatersrand. Beeld. 2004.

“A large audience was charmed by the beautiful performance by the cellist Heleen Du Plessis and the pianist Malcolm Nay.  The listeners almost ceased to breathe, while the music expand in broad flowing legato phrases.” “The velvety quality of tone of the cellist remains sonorous throughout. Even the soft passages were euphoric. She plays with absorption and passion, but remains mindful of the piano playing with her.”

Endler Hall, Conservatory of Stellenbosch, Cape. Die Burger. 2004.

“With melody lines given mainly to the cello, Du Plessis let the dark melancholy flourish, especially in the dynamic interaction between her and Nay – with clarity of expression and descriptive sensitivity, making it a worthy performance. Skilful and moving.”

Atrium Hall, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg. Beeld. 2004.

“The musicians selflessly unearthed the moody composition, with melancholic and sensitively singing passages, letting it run free with their flowing approach.”

The Enoch Sontonga Conference Hall, Unisa, Sunnyside, Pretoria. Pretoria News. 2003.

Newspaper Articles

Du Plessis’ cello tells stories | Burger, April 2010 | Read the article >>

Cellist bowing to the inevitable | Otago Daily Times, Sept 2010 | Read the article >>

New beginning for trio | Otago Daily Times, Nov. 2010 | Read the article >>

Interview featuring Heleen Du Plessis | Read the interview >>

Cellists of Otago | Read the Article >>