Since its inaugural concert last year, the Sydney Concert Orchestra has gone from strength to strength under Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Omid Moheb Zadeh.

Currently completing his Masters in Opera Conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Zadeh is proving his mettle as a fine interpreter of the Slavic repertoire. Following his masterful reading of Dvořák’s From the New World last December, he now takes on two of the most popular and frequently performed Russian classics.

Omid Moheb Zadeh conducts the Sydney Concert Orchestra. Photo © Nathan Isaacs

The result is a rapturous program in which Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade bookend the world premiere of Ben (Wenhao) Fan’s From the Stars.

Zadeh is a natural entertainer who eschews conventional stuffiness. Arriving at the podium, he dives into the Russlan and Ludmilla Overture without waiting for the welcoming applause to die down.

The tempo is exhilarating, the orchestra tight, and Zadeh reassuringly pushes the musicians to their limits. They respond enthusiastically to Zadeh’s challenge, and he in turn raises the stakes even higher.

By the end of the overture, the Verbrugghen Hall is filled with a sense of euphoria one...