Yet another concert is on offer this weekend delving into musical links and influences on the music of Richard Wagner.
The Wagner Society in NSW has developed a particularly exciting program for 2013, the Bicentennial year of Wagner’s birth.
The Wagner Society’s first concert of the year will feature Australian premieres of arias and ensembles from two operas – Wagner’s DIE FEEN (THE FAIRIES), Wagner’s first opera and one which he never saw produced. It has never been performed in Australia, nor has DER VAMPYR (THE VAMPIRE) by his colleague, Heinrich Marschner. Wagner rewrote one of the Vampire arias for his brother, Albert, who was performing in it at Würzburg in a production where Richard Wagner was the chorus master. There will also be some arias from Carl Maria von Weber’s OBERON.
Full details of the concert are on the Wagner Society flyer below:
Here is a little information on the artists for this program:
Sarah Ann Walker
Sarah Ann Walker began her singing studies with Janice Webb in Auckland for two years in 2001 before relocating back to her home city, Christchurch, to study with Dame Malvina Major at the University of Canterbury. During her time at the University, Sarah Ann performed for the Dame Malvina Major Foundation regularly and was given small roles such as the Alms Sister in SUOR ANGELICA with Canterbury Opera.
In 2006, Sarah Ann was selected as an Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera and understudied the roles of Liu in Puccini’s TURANDOT and Marguerite in Gounod’s FAUST. During her time as an Emerging Artist, Sarah Ann performed several times with The Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. Sarah Ann also performed with the Dunedin Sinfonia and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra on several occasions including her Professional Debut singing the Soprano Solo in Mozart’s famous REQUIEM.
In mid 2007 following her engagement with NBR NZ Opera, Sarah Ann moved to Sydney and began studying with the illustrious Tenor, Glenn Winslade, with whom she still studies. She was a finalist in the 2010 McDonald’s Operatic Aria, Soloist with UNSW in their production of Handel’s SOLOMON in 2011, Winner of the 2011 National Operatic Awards in Canberra. In 2012 Finalist in the National Opera Studio Auditions in London, debuted the role of Giorgetta in Puccini’s IL TABARRO with Sydney Independent Opera and featured as the Soprano Soloist in Verdi’s REQUIEM with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra amongst recitals and concerts throughout New Zealand and Australia. In 2013, Sarah Ann is excited to debut the FOUR LAST SONGS by Richard Strauss with the North Sydney Symphony and perform for The Wagner Society of NSW.
Sarah Ann is fortunate to have worked with some of the most exciting names in the Industry including masterclasses with Elizabeth Connell, Siegfried Jerusalem, Grace Bumbry, Chuck Hudson, Elric Hooper, and has worked with Conductors such as John Fisher, Peter Robinson, Giovanni Reggioli, Marc Taddei, Tom Woods, Brian Castles-Onion, Emanuel Joel-Hornak, Imre Pallo, and Nicholas Braithwaite.
Studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the National Opera Studio in London, and the Music Academy of the West in California. He is a recipient of the ‘Dame Joan Sutherland Award’ of the Australian Opera Auditions Committee, has received grants from both the Nance Atkinson Trust and Tait Memorial Trust, and was a finalist in the Australian Singing Competition.
He has performed the roles of the 3rd Jew in SALOME, Love Policeman in ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD and St Brioche in THE MERRY WIDOW for Opera Australia. Overseas his roles include Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE and Belmonte in DIE ENTFUHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL for Oper Köln; Don Alonse in L’AMANT JALOUX for the Opéra Comique, Paris; Gunther in Wagner’s DIE FEEN for Théâtre du Châtelet; Davey in Jonathan Dove’s SIREN SONG and Aubry in Marschner’s DER VAMPYR for Grachtenfestival, Amsterdam; Conte Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA for Opera Holland Park; Emilio, Tutti in Maschera for Wexford Festival; Seneca Friend 1, in the CORONATION OF POPPEA for the English National Opera; Clem in SNOW WHITE and Gastone in LA TRAVIATA for Nationale Reisopera, Netherlands.
Brad’s recordings include Davey in Jonathan Dove’s SIREN SONG for Chandos Classics. Don Alonse in L’AMANT JALOUX for Opéra Comique DVD.
Bradley Gilchrist is a talented Indigenous pianist, making waves in the Australian music industry.
Graduating from the WA and Sydney Conservatoria, Bradley went on to undertake postgraduate study at the Escuela Superior de Musica El Escorial in Madrid.
Bradley’s music career has seen him perform across the country and on the international stage, performing with the likes of the Slovakia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fukni Symphony Ocrchestra in Japan and the Southbank Sinfonia in London. Locally, Bradley has been a recitalist for the ABC Young Australia programme, has performed at the National Gallery of Victoria and has also performed extensively throughout Western Australia as a freelance recitalist and chamber musician.
This is an exciting concert with exciting young artists – DON’T MISS IT !
Recital in the Music Workshop of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Sunday, 25th November 2012
Claire Primrose – Dramatic Soprano
Associate Artist – Diana Weston, Piano
Henri Duparc (1848 – 1933)
Le Manoir de Rosamonde
Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)
Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981)
William Bolcom (1938 – )
Black Max (as told by the Kooning Boys)
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
Fünf Gedichte fur eine Frauenstimme
Stehe Still !
During a brief return to Australia to catch up with family and friends in Sydney, this concert was originally intended to be a family affair for her extended family and Australian friends. With the help of Inara Molinari and Ondine Productions, the recital went to the next level, by being transferred to the Music Workshop of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and inviting members of the Public. Thank Heavens it did. To miss the artistry and magnificent voice of Ms Primrose during her stay in Sydney would have been criminal !
The inspired program took us on a journey through all the many facets of love and loss – the loss of a lover, the death of family and humorous cabaret style songs about the ‘loss’ of a one-night stand ! Starting with an exquisite and stylish performance of a selection of chansons of Duparc, the program took it up a notch with some Richard Strauss lieder. With a subtle adjustment of her voice she performed this bracket with a characteristic Straussian tone. Three cabaret style songs of Barber and Bolcom followed which required an altogether change in style which was accomplished brilliantly with great acting, a totally accurate cabaret style and a great sense of humour with the material. Ms Primrose years living in New York really paid off in these three songs.
After a brief off-stage ‘tune-up’ of the voice in another studio, the audience was treated to Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. These were truly magnificent, both vocally and in their interpretation. Here is a true Wagnerian dramatic soprano at the peak of her powers. The voice is huge with a glorious ringing top which she can extend down into her middle voice, and also her extend her considerable chest voice into her middle as well – all seamlessly with no break, and to thrilling effect ! No wobble, strain or woolliness heard here. This voice is liquid gold. No wonder a a critic compared her to the late Birgit Nilsson following her recent concert in Manilla.
As if the magnificent voice and musical style was not enough, Ms Primrose also has the extraordinary ability to perform her music with incredible emotion, drama and acting ability. The mind boggles at the thought of her performing roles such as Elektra and Brunhilde.
Sympathetic accompaniment of very difficult music was provided by Diana Weston.
This recital was one of my great musical treats of the last few years, and I have no doubt was also for the many members of the large audience that attended it.
As an aside, yet again there was no one from Opera Australia there to witness this extraordinary Australian singer’s World class talents.
Sydney Chamber Opera will be presenting a new staging of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 opera THE LIGHTHOUSE, a modern classic.
Based on a true story, this haunting tale of three youthful lighthouse keepers’ isolated descent into madness and their mysterious disappearance has all the psychological intensity and suspense to rival Britten’s THE TURN OF THE SCREW or Kubrick’s film THE SHINING.
With a charismatic all-male cast and virtuosic 12-piece chamber orchestra featuring honky-tonk and banjo, SCO tackles chilling music of “abundant atmosphere and menacing momentum” (The Guardian). In 75 electrifying minutes, the composer pushes the instruments and voices to their extremes, ratcheting up the tension in a terrifying climax.
Directed by young theatre sensation Kip Williams (Sydney Theatre Company’s Under Milk Wood and the 2013 Romeo & Juliet), SCO’s atmospheric production focuses on psychological drama and the uneasy relationship between the three men, with a choreographed movement ensemble of interlocked bodies evoking the turmoil of the sea.
The cast consists of Daniel Macey, Mitchell Riley, Alexander Knight and a movement ensemble.
Performances are at The Carriageworks Bay 20, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh – a short walk from Redfern Railway Station. Performance dates and times are as follows:
8pm Saturday, 24th November 2012
7pm Monday, 26th November 2012
6pm Wednesday, 28th November 2012
Tickets are $60 and $30 concession and are available here:
Photo: Phillip Glass’ EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH
Apart from the bicentenaries of both Wagner and Verdi during 2013 which has resulted in the production of Wagner’s RING in Melbourne and the staging of no less than 5 Verdi operas next year by Opera Australia, 2013 is also shaping up to be memorable in Melbourne for the staging of 2 great modern operas by serial music composers.
Victorian Opera has already announced a new production of John Adams’ NIXON IN CHINA for 4 performances in May at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, and now, Phillip Glass’ monumental and epic opera – EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH.
This landmark 4½-hour opera in four parts will be performed at the Victorian Arts Centre from July 31 to August 3, 2013, for an exclusive Australian season in the State Theatre.
Rarely staged due to its epic scale, the new production of EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH premiered at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music in September of this year. It has been restaged by the original production team of director and designer Robert Wilson, composer Philip Glass and choreographer Lucinda Childs. Rolling Stone Magazine reported it as a ‘powerful revival’.
The 2012 production of EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH was commissioned by BAM, the Barbican London, Cal Performances University of California – Berkeley, Toronto Festival of the Arts and Creativity, De Nederlandse Opera/The Amsterdam Music Theatre, Opera et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Rousillon, and the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan. The Melbourne performances are part of a World tour of this new production.
The opera has been previously staged in Australia in 1992 as part of the Melbourne International Festival.
For more information on this production see:
Twelve elite singers have reached the finals of the 2012 ACCLAIM ITALIAN OPERA FELLOWSHIPS.
The Board and Judging Panel of the Acclaim Awards are proud to announce the finalists for the 2012 Acclaim Italian Opera Fellowships to be held on the 8th December at the Iwaki Auditorium at 7.30 pm. The competition drew an enormous response from the elite ranks of Australia’s next generation of opera artists.
The twelve singers include nine sopranos: Lee Abrahmsen, Christina Aloneftis, Kate Amos, Emily Burke, Anna-Louise Cole, Teresa Duddy, Holly Joseph, Stephanie Gooch Christina Russo; mezzo soprano Rhiannon Stevens, Baritone, Nathan Lay and Tenor Robert Barbaro.
‘The finalists have set an impressive benchmark. Each singer comes to the competition with considerable stage experience and competition accolades.
This is a true reflection of the significance and prestige of the Acclaim Italian Opera Fellowships,’ said Ian Slater, AM, Chair, Acclaim Board.
The judging panel includes Italian opera singer Valeria Esposito (Italy), and Italian Artistic Director Gianni Tangucci.
Here are the 12 fine singers who have reached the finals of the competition:
Lee graduated from The University of Melbourne with honours in Music Performance. She has been awarded scholarships to study and perform in Holland and Italy.In October 2010, Lee was the winner of the 86th Annual Herald Sun Aria. In 2012 she was nominated for a Green Room Award for her performance as Valencienne in Lehar’s Merry Widow.
Lee has performed in over 16 principal roles in Australia and abroad including; Violetta inLa Traviata, Marguerite in Faust, Mimi inLa Bohème, CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, Micaëla in Carmen, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adele in Die Fledermaus. She has appeared as Concert Soloist with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Consort of Melbourne.
In 2012 Lee was the recipient of the Opera Awards Royal Overseas League Music Bursary (Australian singing competition) and the Melbourne Welsh Choir Singer of the Year Competition.
Greek-Australian soprano Christiana Aloneftis is currently studying her third year of her BMus (Specialisation: Perf. Study – Classical Voice) and Dip Language (Advanced Italian) at the Faculty of Music and VCA at the University of Melbourne.
She has studied Bel-Canto (under the tutelage of renowned counter-tenor, Nicola Marchesini and Dr. Monica Benvenuti) and Italian Language abroad in Italy where she was awarded the Lin Martin Global Mobility Scholarship for programme excellence.
Christiana is part of the Opera Scholars of Australia Programme (Aus. Music Events) and performed as a soloist in the Opera Scholar of the year selections in October 2012. She has appeared in Victorian Youth Opera’s production of The Play of Daniel (April 2012) and will appear in Lyric Opera’s production of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride later this year.
In early October 2012, Christiana performed the debut role of Lucia Bertazzon for Melbourne Fringe Festival’s new music production of: ‘1938 – An Opera’.
Kate completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a Diploma in Languages (Italian), and is currently completing Honours in Voice.
Kate’s performing credits include productions with Victorian Opera in Noye’s Fludde and The Snowqueen, with Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Victoria in The Pirates of Penzance and The Yeomen of the Guard, Johanna in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd for Melbourne University and most recently Catherine in Offenbach’s The Red Apple for Lyric Opera of Melbourne.
Kate was chosen as the joint 2011-2012 Opera Scholar of the Year, singing solos at Opera in the Alps and Opera in the Market.
Kate is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mabel Kent Scholarship, EC Wellisch Bequest Scholarship and Athenaeum Competition from Melbourne University. She also won the Eisteddfod By the Bay Aria competition in 2011.
Robert obtained bachelor degrees in Arts and Law at Monash University in 2010. During this time, Robert commenced studying classical voice.
He has performed Schumann’sDichterliebeand the roles of Ewart in Willson’s The Music Man; Uldino in Verdi’s Attila; Raoul de St Brioche in Lehar’s The Merry Widow; Percinet in Hart’s The Fantasticks; Mario Lanza in the national tour of Mario Lanza – The Loveliest Night of the Year; and Marco in Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. He has also performed in the chorus for various opera companies in Victoria and is now a casual chorus member of Opera Australia.
He has recorded original songs for More Than Opera and performs throughout Australia in festivals, concerts and events.
He has won various sections for singing competitions throughout Australia including the Diamond Valley Aria and South Eastern Arts Festival Aria; been a finalist in the Warrnambool Aria (2011/2012), Liederfest (2010); and Semi Finalist in the German Australia Opera Grant (2010) and the SunAria (2011/2012).
Emily studied Music at the Victorian College of the Arts before travelling to Italy to study Italian language. Mirella Freni personally selected Emily to study with her at her school in Vignola, Italy.
In 2006 she performed the role of Gilda in Rigoletto for Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House. Emily was a member of Opera Queensland’s Young Artist Program in 2008 and 2009. Her engagements with the company included performing the role of Dame Nellie Melba in Waltzing Our Matilda.
As the winner of the Puccini Foundation Award, Emily travelled to Italy in 2009 to perform. In 2010 she performed the roles of Giannetta in The Elixir of Love and Anna inNabucco (in Tokyo). In 2011 she performed the role of Despina in Così fan tutte and toured regional Victoria in the Victorian Opera’s Opera Gala.
For the 2012/13 seasons, Emily’s engagements include The Lady in Waiting in Macbeth, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Frasquita in Carmen, Clorinda in Cinderella and understudying Desdemona in Othello, all for Opera Queensland.
Anna-Louise holds a BMus with Honours in Music Performance (Voice) and a BA with Honours in German from the University of Melbourne.
Anna-Louise made her debut with Melbourne Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in 2006, and has subsequently appeared as a chorus member and soloist with companies including Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Opera, Melbourne Lyric Opera, the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria and the Kronos Quartet in the 2011 Melbourne Festival.
She has won prizes and been a finalist in a number of national and international singing competitions. The winner of the American Institute of Musical Studies Award and the Sundell Study Award from Opera Foundation Australia, Anna-Louise has also sung as a finalist in the Audi German Opera Scholarship, the Herald Sun Aria Competition, the Australian Youth Aria Competition and the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. Anna-Louise has also been supported by the Opus 50 Foundation.
Teresa completed her Masters in Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, USA, in 2011, and her Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne in 2009.
Her performances include Barbara in The Conspirators (2009): Lolette in La Rondine (2012): L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortileges (2010): Rita in Rita (2011): Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (2011) with the Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar (Germany), and Clorinda in La Cenerentola (2011) with Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Following her return to Australia in 2012, Teresa has performed: Cindy and Wendy inContact! as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; Kate Pinkerton in the Academy of Ancient Idols’ Madama Butterfly; Rose (understudy) inWhat Next? with Victorian Opera; and Cathy in Little Deaths also with Victorian Opera.
Teresa was the 2012 winner of the Warrnambool Eisteddfod Aria Competition, and a grant recipient from the Tait Memorial Trust, Opus 50, and the Opera and Arts Support Group.
Stephanie graduated from the University of Western Australia, completing a double bachelor in English and Music, and a Diploma of Education in English and Special Education. In 2008 she graduated from the Australian Opera Studio with Honours. Since then, Stephanie has performed throughout Australia, Germany and Japan.
After winning the More Than Opera German-Australian Opera Grant, Stephanie made her European debut at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, were she was an ensemble member for the 2010/2011 season. This year, Stephanie performed the role of Contessa Almaviva in Weimar and was a participant in the Montserrat Caballé Masterclasses, Zaragoza.
She also performed the roles of Fiordiligi inCosi fan tutte, Nachbarin im Osten in Lolita, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Drusilla inL’Incoronazione di Poppea, Annina in La Traviata and Laura in Luisa Miller.
Holly Joseph completed a Master of Music Performance degree at the (VCA) University of Melbourne in 2011 Holly performing the challenging solo work Knoxville:Summer of 1915 by Samuel Barber for her Masters recital.
In 2009, Holly completed a Bachelor of Music with honours, at the University of Queensland. Holly has placed in many vocal competitions and performs regularly for galas and functions throughout Australia.
She has performed for Brisbane’s Opera Worx (2006), lived in London performing with Opera Integra (2007), and held a choral scholarship at All Saints Anglican Church (2009). Also of note was Holly’s portrayal of Jenny in the 2012 Opera Studio Melbourne production of Ned Rorem’s Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters.
Holly is currently a member of The Opera Studio Melbourne and the director of A Minor Note; a company that provides classically trained singers for functions.
Nathan completed his Bachelor of Music at the Melba Conservatorium of Music in 2008. During his time there, he was awarded the ‘Melba Conservatorium Scholarship’ and twice awarded the ‘Robert Salzer Scholarship’ for showing operatic potential. In 2010, Nathan was named the Australian Music Events ‘Opera Scholar of the Year’ and was the winner of the National Liederfest. He was also a semi-finalist in the 2010 and 2011 Herald Sun Aria. In 2011, Nathan was one of the scholarship recipients of the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust.
This year, Nathan was the winner of the Eisteddfod By the Bay Aria, semi-finalist in the 2012 Sydney McDonald Aria, and was Runner-Up and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria competition.
In 2012, Nathan made his debut with Melbourne Opera playing the role of Schaunard in Puccini’s La Bohème, followed by Guglielmo in their new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
Italo-Australian soprano Cristina Russo completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2011. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Italian and English Literature in 2012 and is fluent in Italian.
Her operatic and concert repertoire include Junon in Charpentier’s Actéon (2008),
Valencienne in Lehár’s The Merry Widow (2008), Gianetta in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (2012), Phyllis in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe (2012) and the soprano solos from Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s St Paul.
She has featured on 3MBS radio and ABC Classic FM, notably performing the works of Australian composers Alan Tregaskis and Percy Grainger.
Winner of the Armstead Singing Award (Musical Society of Victoria) and finalist in the 3MBS Performer of the Year, Cristina has a great love of the bel canto repertoire and hopes to further develop her craft with further study in her second home, Italy.
Rhiannon started her music career at an early age, by learning the Piano, Violin and Viola. She took part in many of the schools choir’s, orchestra’s and school productions, throughout her education until university where she took a break from music, to study Archaeology at LaTrobe University.
After finishing her degree, Rhiannon took up singing and learnt privately for a number of years, successfully achieving a credit on her 8th Grade AMEB certificate. At the same time she joined Savoy Opera Company where she performed minor roles such as Celia in Iolanthe and Fiametta in The Gondoliers.
In 2010 she was accepted into The Opera Studio Melbourne were she has performed roles such as Cupid in Orpheus in the Underworld, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Helen in Rorem’s Three Sisters who are not sisters and The Boy in Philip Glass’ Juniper Tree. She was awarded the Hon. John Harber Phillips Fellowship – Acclaim for a returning singer to the Studio and is currently enjoying her time with the Studio.
Dates and Bookings
Saturday 8 December @ 7.30pm, Iwaki Auditorium ABC Southbank Centre
Adults $25.00 Concession $20
Italian Masterclass Concert
Thursday 13 December @ 7.30pm, Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street
Adults $30 Concession $20
Bookings can be made for by ringing 03 9699 3333 or visit:
For further information on the ACCLAIM AWARDS go to:
RODELINDA, REGINA DE’LONGOBARDI
Opera Seria in 3 Acts by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym
First Production commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and first performed in the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London on the 13th February 1725.
Concert performance by The Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation on Saturday, 20th October 2012 in the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney.
With the Sydney Lyric Orchestra.
Conductor Richard Bonynge
Rodelinda Valda Wilson
Bertarido Fiona Janes
Grimoaldo John Longmuir
Eduige Liane Keegan
Unulfo Lorina Gore
Garibaldo Michael Lewis
Love was certainly in the air for the long anticipated concert performance for this, one of the great masterpieces of Handel, and the welcome return to the concert stage of living National treasure, Richard Bonynge. A packed City Recital Hall graced by the presence of the Governor -General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Prof Marie Bashir, the Premier of NSW, The Honorable Mr Barry O’Farrell, numerous great Australian singers both past and present, and an enthusiastic throng of passionate lovers of great singing bristled with excitement proving that love and passion for bel canto singing is alive and well in Sydney. Indeed, only a kilometre away another great bel canto work – LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR was playing in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.
Richard Bonynge had assembled an extraordinary cast of the greatest possible Australian singers for this performance and it certainly showed in performance. Leading the charge in the title role was Valda Wilson, who looked like a Greek goddess and sang equally divinely. Although not a classical coloratura soprano, you would never have known it with the excellent running of the voice and trilling she displayed. Richard Bonynge was at pains to reign in the voices and allow the beauty of tone to shine through in the superb acoustics of this hall, but when Valda occasionally opened up the voice she displayed a voice of considerable power and equal tonal beauty. This was a truly stunning performance and one that will stay in the mind of audience members for a long time.
Photo: Valda Wilson
Fiona Janes as Bertarido, now one of Australia’s finest dramatic mezzos, showed no loss of facility in her demanding coloratura passages and thrilled both with her dramatic arias and also the most heart-rending ones, leaving many audience members (including myself) profoundly moved. Her loss from the performance stage following her fine performance of Adalgisa in Norma with the late Elizabeth Connell remains unforgivable.
Liane Keegan, last heard in Australia as Erda in the Adelaide Ring is truly a force of nature ! Her true and rare contralto voice made mince meat of the coloratura passages and thrilled with interpolated low F’s which probably made even Lauris Elms (present in the audience) sit up at attention and even the ghost of Dame Clara Butt.
John Longmuir, a tenor in the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artists Studio with Opera Australia sang the role of Grimoaldo (who thinks up these names) with striking beauty of tone, and without the use of a score. He had certainly done his homework and it showed.
Lorina Gore contributed many fine moments of glorious singing and Michael Lewis, fronting up that evening after singing Sharpless in a performance of MADAMA BUTTERFLY that afternoon for Opera Australia showed there is no limits to his talents, singing Handel superbly for the first time in my memory.
What a cast, and what extraordinary singing – all sung with heart-felt emotion. This performance was music making at the highest level, and a masterclass in vocal technique.
Richard Bonynge was in his element and conducted a truly magical performance with some fine playing from the Sydney Lyric Orchestra.
Lets hope this is the first of an annual event for the Sydney opera calendar, and continues to make money for the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation to help sponsor promising young artists for further study and training overseas. It certainly paid off Valda Wilson, a previous grant recipient.
How sad that such bel canto works are rarely heard with the National opera company these days, and some of the great Australian artists in this performance are also not heard with them. The only member of the administrative team of Opera Australia at the performance was Associate Musical Director, Anthony Legge, who left the performance after the interval.
Ondine Productions premiere production of Francesca Caccini’s ALCINA short-listed for the 2012 ArtsHub Awards
The Manila Symphony Orchestra (The Phillippines), in an early celebration of the Wagner Bicentennial, featured Claire Primrose in an all-Wagner concert on the 10th November, 2012 at the Philamlife Theater, United Nations Avenue., Manila.
Opera patron Joseph Uy described Primrose in the Manila media as a “true Wagnerian voice.” Primrose came to his notice for her Elektra at the Taipei International Festival of Arts and said ”Singers who possess a Wagnerian voice are, indeed, very rare. This is true not only in Asia but all over the World. Equally demanding is Richard Strauss’ “Elektra” now gradually being identified with Primrose. There are so few singers who can sing that role. The last unforgettable one I heard was Dame Gwyneth Jones. What I love in Claire Primrose is that she is so musical and yet willing to take risk, seldom you hear someone who really sings the part lyrically, yet conveys the meaning of each word and makes you feel what she is feeling at that time.”
The program consisted of the following excerpts:
Dich teure Halle
Tristan und Isolde Prelude
Die Walküre - “Winterstürme Duet”
Ride of the Valkyries
Die Götterdämmerung - Immolation Scene
“While Primrose sang, each aria gained consistently in atmosphere, credence and momentum, magnetizing the listeners with its fiery intensity…
With her sumptuous, puissant voice — dark and rich —
her firmly sustained top notes rose and floated above the orchestra…
she was arguably inimitable”.
Thanks to the generosity of ARBON PUBLISHING Pty Ltd and the companys’ Managing Director, Fritz Gubler and Business Development Manager, Brad Chong I am thrilled to announce a SPECIAL OFFER to readers of the Opera Insider.
The new Australian book, GREAT, GRAND and FAMOUS OPERA HOUSES, which will normally retail for $79.95 when it is launched in the book stores on the 26th October, will be available at a special pre order price of $59.95 +Gst including delivery within Australia using the code OPERAINSIDER up until the 26th October from the ARBON PUBLISHING website here. Once you have clicked to purchase the book, and you have added the book to the cart, a little pop-up box appears, press checkout and an option to put in a promotional code appears. Then type in the code OPERAINSIDER in capitals.
After the 26th October, you can still use the code but the price would be $64.95 + GST including delivery with Australia.
The Opera Insider has already received a pre-launch copy of the book. I am bowled over by the marvellous artwork, historical information and interesting anecdotes on a huge range of splendid opera houses from every side of the globe. It really is a MUST have book for any opera lover. Apart from luscious photos of the opera houses, articles include details, illustrations and information on backstage facilities, famous productions, famous singers and World premiere productions for most of the opera houses. Additional chapters on opera singers, opera festivals, impresarios, the cult of the conductor, leading lights, opera houses in World War II, acoustics and famous modern stagings are also included.
Here are some examples of the art work from the book illustrating some of the splendid opera houses that are discussed:
The Operahuset, Oslo
The Palau de les Arts, Reina Sofia
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
The Marc Chagall designed ceiling for the Palais Garnier in Paris
Don’t forget to order your copy now at the specially discounted rate !!
Brad Chong, the Business Development Manager for Arbon Publishing recently notified me of this exquisite coffee book which is an essential acquisition for any serious or new opera lover.
The book was developed and published by Fritz Gubler of Arbon Publishing, with chapters compiled and written by Sydney and Melbourne opera aficionados Victoria Watson, Leona Geeves, Deen Hamaker, Paulo Montoya, Michael Magnusson, Annarosa Berman, Harriet Cunningham, Murray Dahm, Melissa Lesnie, Francis Merson, Ian Watt and Chief Consultant – Moffatt Oxenbould, and has a foreword by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Christmas is fast approaching so this is the obvious gift for that special opera lover in your life.
Further details of the book and an extensive preview are available on the Arbon Publishing website here.
The Opera Insider congratulates the authors on their marvellous work, and strongly recommends all readers of the Insider site rush out and get one now !