Review: Pianist Denis Matsuev's performance was passionate and immersive

Denis Matsuev returned to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, October 20 for a performance of incredible quality. It was, without a doubt, one of the most breathtaking piano concerts that I have ever seen. The talented winner of the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition — in a very humble grey tailcoat — marched on the stage without a single glance to the audience, seated himself, had a quick look towards the heavens and then started working his magic.

In front of a captivated audience, Matsuev immersed himself within his own passionate world. Deeply introspective — his fingertips delicately caressing the keys — his performance at times put the audience into an intense hypnosis. More than once, with his back bent and his feet furiously stamping on the pedals, the musician seemed to be lifted off his seat with energy, rage and ardour. It seemed as though each note sent floating towards his spellbound audience was the most precious gift to the heavens, towards which the artist would often turn his head, eyes closed and a mysterious smile on his lips. The performance was one to be watched on the edge of your seat, never knowing if it should be savoured with closed eyes or closely watched in order to take in every fascinating detail of the storyteller and his movements.

The performance ended with a unanimous standing ovation. If you ever wondered how many bouquets a person can hold in their arms at a time, Matsuev definitely got around 10 that night along with booming calls of “Bravissimo! from the audience.

If Matsuev should return to the Chan Centre for a third time, pick up your tickets as quickly as you can. It will be a unique, transporting experience.

And please — please! — turn off your phone before the artist starts playing. That's generally a basic concept anyone should be able to grasp, though some evidently could not.