Culture A variety of performances and felicitations of stalwarts marked the annual festival of music and dance. Velcheti Subrahmanyam

The Visakha Music Academy’s 43rd six-day annual festival of music and dance treated Vizag to a rich fare at Kalabharati. With seasoned artistes dishing out varied delights of classical music and dance, it was truly an extravaganza in classicism.

The event commenced with a Carnatic-Hindustani jugalbandi by redoubtable Sriram Parasuram and Anooradha Sriram. It was an aural feast of exceptional relish ladling out the charms of both the styles. The duo began it with Eranapai a Todi varnam. The gamaka-laden raga essay for raga Nata by Anooradha and for Jog by Prasuram moved the audience to raptures. Their scrumptiously effervescent presentation of Harmeer Kalyani and Kedar or raga Jayanthisri for Marugelara O Raghava of Thyagaraja, the mainstay of the session, kept the audience in thrall. Kolanka Saikumar on violin, Sanatan Goswami on harmonium, P. Satish Kumar on mridangam, and Amit Bhushan on tabla lent commendable support. Earlier, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy presented the academy’s M.S. Subbulakshmi Puraskar to the duo and felicitated them on a warm note.

On the second day city-based violin maestro MSN Murthy, who was honoured with the academy’s Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu award on this occasion, harnessed the melodic prowess of the instrument to the hilt bringing out the quintessential raga bhava of the chosen raga in abundance. His music was rich in content and emotional in appeal. With his wife Pantula Rama on supporting violin, he was at his evocative best all through. Redolent with sparkling classicism and a pure one at that, his RTP in raga Mohana testified his cascading manodharma. V.V. Ramanamurthy on mridangam and M Haribabu on ghatam lent good support.

Chennai-based Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s vocal concert on the third day was vibrant all through. Her full-throated singing was pleasant experience for the audience. With an accent on melody, the way she embroidered gamaka casements over the contours of chosen raga particularly for raga Kharaharapriya was reflective of her enviable command over Carnatic classical idiom. Be it nifty swarakalpana or fluent neraval, her dexterity came to fore in all its brilliance. She began it with Jagadananda Karaka in Nata and what followed was an excellent exposition of an array of kritis. Mysore Srikanthan on violin, Manojsiva on mridangam and KV Gopalakrishnan on kanjeera were at their best.

On the fourth day Neyveli Santhana Gopalan was honoured with the academy’s Nedunuri Krishnamurthy Puraskar. Later ably accompanied by MSN Murthy on violin, G Ganapathyraman on mridangam and Chandrasekhara Sarma on ghatam, Santhana Gopalan sang with gusto so that his presentation of chosen items stood out for its aesthetic appeal. His masterly exposition of raga Kalayani in particular scaled its peak.

Maestro Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna presented the Akademy’s prestigious Natya Kala Sagara award to Bharatanatyam exponent Saraswathi of Chennai.and felicitated her on a warm note. He also honoured octogenarian Sangeetha Vidwan IVL Sastry with the award named after Kanakadandi Venkata Ratnam and Satyanarayana Murthy. The maestro presented the academy’s artiste of distinction award to young vocalist Kasturi Kamala Deepthi and he also honoured Kesapragada Venkata Rama Murthy for his yeoman service to the cause of music in the city. Later, Chennai-based Aswani Viswanath and Narendra Kumar presented a scintillating Bharatanatyam performance taking up the compositions of MBK for the theme.

On the sixth day, a liveley ‘Layaalayam’ by VV Ramanamurthy and his team capped the event.