Tag: Kate Amos

REVIEW: Victorian Opera Presents THE BIG SING

With voices raised

By Narelle Wood

For one night only Victorian Opera, community choirs from around regional and metropolitan Victoria, VOYCE (Victorian Opera Youth Chorus Ensemble), students from the Master of Music Opera Performance program and Orchestra Victoria came together for the very aptly named The Big Sing.

In the magnificent surrounds of Hamer Hall we were treated to performances of Verdi, Mozart, Bizet, as well as Gilbert and Sullivan and Maestro Mills’ own arrangements of Australian folk songs “Click go the Shears” and “Waltzing Matilda”. The program provided a great variety of musical moods, from the joyful drinking song “Brindisi” from La Traviata to Purcell’s haunting “When I am Laid in Earth” from Dido and Aeneas.

The Big Sing

It was, however, the ethereal performance of “With Drooping Wings” also from Dido and Aeneas and sung by VOYCE that was a highlight, demonstrating the depth of talent that Victorian Opera has to work with.

Michael Petruccelli and Matthew Tng were very entertaining (they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves) and I could have listened to Kate Amos and Cristina Russo sing all night. But for anyone unsure whether opera is for them, nights such as these are a perfect introduction. Selection of music aside, Maestro Mills provides a history and context to the pieces in a passionate, sometimes brutally honest, but always entertaining style.

While in an opera performance the opera singers will always be the stars, listening to, and on this very fortunate occasion watching, Orchestra Victoria is an incredible experience. This time we were treated to some introductions to the various instruments, and personalities, of the orchestra, which added a relaxed and very personable feel to the evening.

I did find the request to join in the singing of “Waltzing Matilda” a little confronting and was a little too self-conscious to join voices with likes of Elizabeth Lewis and Nathan Lay. Hopefully The Big Sing will be back next year as I certainly thought it was a big hit, and who knows – maybe next year I’ll be game enough to sing along.

Victorian Opera’s The Big Sing took place at Hamer Hall on 13th Oct 2014.

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REVIEW: Victorian Opera and Monash University Presents GAMES OF LOVE AND CHANCE

Enamored  with opera anew

By Narelle Wood

Games of Love and Chance was a smorgasbord of operatic music ranging from classical operas such as Carmen and The Magic Flute to the more recent operas of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Blitzstein’s Regina. The pieces selected offered a vast array of emotional journeys, from love lost to love regained, as well as love’s fortune foretold.

Games of Love and Chance

The almost eighty-piece orchestra, consisting of students from the Monash Academy Orchestra and several guest musicians, showcased the immense wealth of upcoming musical talent, performing Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg Prelude to Act Three from Tristan and Isolde with seemingly professional ease.

If it was difficult to believe the age of the musicians in the orchestra, it was even harder to believe that many of the young operatic artists had never performed with an orchestra before. Of this group of up-and-coming opera stars, it was Matthew Tng and Kate Amos that provided some of the stand-out performances; it was not just the clarity of their voices and their range but the embodiment of their characters, especially with the lack of context normally provided by costumes, sets and props.

Normally I’m captivated by watching the performers or the mesmerising rhythm of the violin bows, but during this performance I was just as fascinated by the conducting style and instant rapport with the audience of Richard Mills, the Maestro and Artistic Director at Victorian Opera. His passion for music, developing new talent and preserving our cultural heritage was clearly evident not only in the way he spoke during the introduction of each piece, but also in every flourish of his baton.

A highlight of the evening was the outstanding vocal soloists, many of whom are icons of the Australian operatic scene; among my favourites were Douglas McNicol, Jeremy Kleeman and the phenomenal performance of Lisa Gasteen.

While opera may not be everybody’s cup of tea, the collaboration between Monash Academy Orchestra and Victoria Opera provides a perfect opportunity to experience this great art form for both the opera novice and aficionada alike.

This performance took place at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton on March 29, 2014. Visit artsonline.monash.edu.au/mapa/events for upcoming events.