Saturday, November 27, 2010

Glorious Gloriana

Last night's performance by Gloriana of Bach's Mass in B minor was one of the high points of my performing life. The orchestral rehearsals on Monday and Wednesday had suggested to me that Friday's performance would be exciting, and this was ensured by the presence of nearly 500 audience members in St Mary's Star of the Sea, West Melbourne, which definitely boosted the adrenaline levels.

A fabulous baroque band, superb soloists Siobhán Stagg, Sally-Anne Russell, Timothy Reynolds and Nick Dinopoulis and the Gloriana choir, all under the direction of our director Andrew Raiskums produced an evening of extraordinary music. From the opening of the Kyrie I felt that this was going to be a night to remember. Aside from the forces involved performing there was also the attentive and supportive audience - at times you could almost have heard a pin drop.

I am very grateful to have been a part of such a performance, and think I acquitted myself well in what is very  difficult music to sing.

For me the Bach doesn't end with last night as today I had a rehearsal for tomorrow's (early) performance of the cantata Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe with all of last night's soloists but Nick. What a treat.

If anyone is interested, the service starts at 9am at St Johns, Southgate. Admission is free.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Historical trams

I found this clip on Twitter (thanks to @henriettacook via @danielbowen) - it follows a tram going through St Kilda along Gray and Barkly Streets and through Elwood, terminating eventually in Brighton. I had no idea there used to be trams on this route. The cars are also interesting to see.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's been a bit wet lately

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Food, history and music

Well, things have been fairly busy of the past couple of weeks. I've started volunteering at 3MBS, the local volunteer-run "fine music" station. So far I'm working on the reception desk answering phones and doing some data entry and it's proving to be very interesting and the people most friendly. At the moment Friday afternoon is my time there but I'm quite flexible with my time and have made it clear that I'm available at other times as well.

Saturday was a market day at the Children's Farm - it had rained most of the night so the ground was rather soggy and the attendance was fewer than usual. I picked up a tasty goat's cheese tart which we (P&B and I) had on Saturday night. After the market we headed to Smith Street for lunch - we had an extraordinarily good meal at Huxtable, one of the numerous new eateries in this burgeoning part of town. The opposite side of the road has at least a dozen places to eat between Peel and Gertrude Streets, with more to come. I see this as a challenge.

After lunch we walked up to the Johnston Street bridge where we joined a walking tour arranged by the Collingwood Historical Society. Despite a slight change of route and almost constant rain we all enjoyed a very interesting talk given by Gary Presland covering the geology, aboriginal history and the earliest European exploration of the area. 

Yesterday I joined P&B again for a visit to Melbourne University on its Cultural Treasures Day. We went on a guided walk around campus learning about the history of the university - we finished the tour in the underground carpark under the south lawn, an extraordinary space which has appeared in many films and TV shows. After the walk we made our way to the Conservatorium for a concert by the Consort of Melbourne of music of Percy Grainger. As I had missed the two previous chances to hear this concert I was thrilled to be able to enjoy what was a very impressive concert - the highlight was possibly the two-piano version of Blithe Bells, though the Tribute to Stephen Foster was pretty amazing too.

Listening to: Joyce DiDonato, Colbran, the Muse, music of Rossini.

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