The Merry Widow

Longtime Grads soprano and sometime Rockdale Opera Chorus Member, Dawn Plasto, has brought this upcoming event (in which she is appearing) to our attention:

The Rockdale Opera Company is back in production with a stunning production of Franz Lehar’s Merry Widow to be presented in the beautifully refurbished. Rockdale Town Hall on November 8, 9, 15, 16. The production is by Bob Peet and the Musical Director is Sadaharu Muramatsu who was the Musical Director for the company’s very successful production of Lucia di Lammermoor in 2011.

The Merry Widow

The Merry Widow

French Soprano Silvie Humphries will perform ‘Anna’. Now living in Australia, Sylvie completed an advanced diploma of Opera at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2013. Most recently she was a highly recommended finalist in the McDonald’s Operatic Aria competition.

‘Count Danilowitsch’ will be played by the very dashing Michael Johnson, who recently performed that role with Carl Rafferty productions in Canberra’s historic Albert Hall. Michael is well known around the Sydney community theatre scene and has played leading roles in many musicals including ‘Antony’ in Sweeney Todd.

The Rockdale Opera Company was established in 1949 and in that time—very much like the Sydney University Graduate Choir—it has become a stepping stone for many talented artists who have gone on to make a name for themselves in Australia and overseas.

Visit the Rockdale Opera website for details on how to book.


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Ten Years of Grads’ Recordings

This year marks ten years since SUGC began to record its concerts.

As the then President, clearly a very wise person, said in reporting to the 2005 AGM:

These recordings will serve as important documents for the Choir as an institution and for us individually as singers.  So long as they remain affordable, which requires the bulk of our members making the effort to buy them, they should become as normal a part of our concert processes as producing the program.

In general, it can be said that the hope expressed all those years ago has been realized.

In truth, our very first foray into the world of recording was somewhat shaky. This was our concert, entitled ‘Heavenly Harmonies’ of May 2004, in which we performed the Mozart Vesperae Solennes de Confessore (one of his most ravishingly beautiful creations) and Bruckner’s early and little known Requiem in D Minor. The Mozart performance stands up well, but a technical hitch struck the Bruckner recording when the recordist, a volunteer provided by 2MBS FM (now known as Fine Music 102.5), who, somewhat surprisingly, was using tape, ran out of it with a couple of movements to go. No doubt, the afore-mentioned President was left to rue his sententious words after this minor tragedy.

In any event, the situation was improved later in the year, when Greg Ghavalas made his recording debut with us, for our December performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. At that stage, Greg was also a volunteer with 2MBS FM, but has subsequently taken up recording concerts as a post-retirement profession. For many years now, his business-like, quietly cheerful, unflappable personage has become a source of reassurance to us as we go through the nervous process of rehearsing with the orchestra and giving concerts in the Great Hall. Greg has consistently done a high quality job for the choir, including on the bigger, and more technically challenging stage of the Sydney Town Hall with our April 2013 Sydney Sings: Verdi Requiem. The ‘Highlights’ disc of that performance is of an excellent technical quality and a worthy souvenir of that landmark event in the choir’s history. A non-expert listen to the first cut of Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem, recorded in the Town Hall on 10 August, suggests that Greg has pulled off another recording coup.

Sales of the recordings do normally cover costs, and complimentary copies are an excellent way of presenting the choir to VIPs, potential sponsors and potential new audience members. Every member will have his or her favourites. Recorded concerts that stand out in my mind are of works by the somewhat underrated composers, Haydn and Mendelssohn. Particularly noteworthy: Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, from August 2007, when a very talented trio of young soloists—Bernadette Fisher, Stuart Haycock and Andrew Finden—perhaps inspired the Choir to a particularly high standard of performance, and Die Jahreszeiten of August 2009, when Amy Corkery made her unforgettable debut with us. In the same vein, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht from December 2011, and Paulus from May 2012, two unfamiliar masterpieces elicited outstanding performances from the choir and featured outstanding soloists—Celeste Lazarenko, Andrew Goodwin, Morgan Pearse and Alexander Knight. Encouragingly, in view of the musical challenge it represented, our recording of Bach’s Johannes Passion, from August 2013, stands out as a very impressive effort, with excellent soloists—Jenny Duck-Chong, Belinda Montgomery Richard Butler, Henry Choo, Morgan Pearse and Simon Lobelson—and some very decent singing from the Grads.

Recording, of course captures, glitches for posterity as well as triumphs. The most striking of these occurred in our performance of Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem in December 2005. In the dramatic sixth movement, when the Last Trump is sounded, the choir managed to get a beat ahead of the orchestra and, with remarkable precision, to stay there for about thirty seconds, including across a bar’s rest, teetering on the verge of collapse. Thanks largely to Christopher Bowen’s steely professionalism, the apparently inevitable disaster was averted and the vocal and instrumental forces got together again, only to suffer the intrusion of exploding fireworks from nearby Victoria Park during Brahms’s ethereal finale Selig sind die Toten. Fortunately, a later (December 2013) performance of this great choral masterpiece gave us a shot at redemption, which, happily, we took successfully, to the satisfaction, among others, of then Governor Marie Bashir and former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Our Music Director, Christopher Bowen, sets high standards for himself and expects the same of the choir. On only two occasions has he availed himself of his conductor’s prerogative of vetoing release of recorded performances: of the difficult Bruckner Mass in E Minor, of August 2010 and the much more familiar but deceptively tricky Vivaldi Gloria of December 2013.

The Chamber Choir has been recorded on a number of occasions and, it must be said, has generally come up very well, despite regular changes in its personnel. My favourite among its recordings is Purcell’s spine-chilling Funeral Music for Queen Mary, performed as part of the ‘Music for Kings and Queens’ concert from December 2009, in which Steve Machamer’s timpani are given an unusual spotlight.

Mention of Steve serves to remind me of one of the elements that consistently performs at a high standard in our recorded performances—the orchestra. The orchestral musicians provide high quality accompaniment to the choir, as a matter of course. What they are really capable of becomes clear when one listens to recordings of them playing purely instrumental works, such as the Overture to Verdi’s Force of Destiny from May 2010, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture from May 2011, and, most remarkably of all, Debussy’s Prélude a l’Après-Midi d’un Faune from December 2011. These recordings underline the enormous contribution the orchestra makes to the experience of singing with Grads and of attending our concerts, a fact underlined by their outstanding playing once again in An Australian War Requiem.

With that wonderful musical experience behind us, we can look back with satisfaction on a decade of work, the recordings from which confirm that the choir has progressed well and is on an upward trajectory.

John Bowan

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She tickles the ivories…

Our diminutive accompanist Amy Putt does more than tickle the ivories while accompanying the choir each Monday evening.  Amy’s talents became especially obvious when presented for the first time with Christopher Bowen’s complex score for An Australian War Requiem which recently premiered at the Sydney Town Hall. Amy’s talents are diverse so we asked her a few questions about herself and her music.

Where were you born and do you come from a musical family.
I was born on Dangar Island, and grew up there—it’s a small but beautiful place in the Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney. Although my family all enjoy music, I am the only musician.

Amy - grad choir accompanist

Amy – grad choir accompanist

How old were you when you first took piano lessons
I was very young—perhaps four or five years old. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t play the piano.

At the Conservatorium Did you attend the Con. School and with whom did you study
I did go to the Sydney Con—I completed a performance degree there studying with David Miller and Clemens Leske.

Accompanying the choir must sometimes be a little tedious especially when repeating the same passage several times. What do you think of at these times or is there a special trick to keeping your mind on the job.
Everyone can tell if I miss the next cue or I’m not paying attention—so I try not to let my mind wander! I have an easy job though as I am constantly occupied playing and listening and anticipating the next section, so it’s not tedious and the three hours usually goes by quite quickly.

Perhaps you would tell us about the Tango Band in which you are involved
I am part of a tango quintet—Tángalo—if you want to know more about us, come and watch us perform! Have a look at our website to find out more about us and listen to our latest album recording—–

The rest of this year will see us performing in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, before we go together as the recipients of a JUMP mentorship, to study our craft and collaborate with a bandoneon player, Hugo Sattore, in the homeland of tango—Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Apart from music what other activities do you enjoy
I am a keen rock climber—some of the best climbing to be had is very close by in the Blue Mountains. I also like to bushwalk, and I love sailing and spending time on the water.

Do you find time to read and, if so, what do you like to read
Yes, I am an avid reader —I like to read widely. However I am halfway through a law degree at Sydney Uni, so a lot of my spare time recently is spent reading text books and case law.

We understand that you are sharing a house with other musicians. Perhaps you might tell us a little about that. Is there only one piano and who gets it first?
Yes, I share a house with four other musicians—it’s wonderful to live in an environment surrounded by music. We are three opera singers and two pianists. There are three pianos in the house, so there is always enough to go around, and luckily we rarely clash with rehearsals and are considerate of each other with our musical practice. We certainly all value the sound of silence.

Dawn Plasto

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An Australian War Requiem—review

Renowned mezzo-soprano Lauris Elms AM OBE attended the premiere of  ‘An Australian War Requiem’ on 10 August 2014, and has kindly provided the following review of the performance.

In this century we have grown accustomed to war, and celebrating violence seems to happen on a daily basis.
It was with great interest that we went to the Sydney Town Hall last Sunday to hear Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem.

The old Town Hall has seen many wonderful concerts in the 19th and 20th Century, and the performance we were about to hear ranked with the most memorable of those experiences.

When we walked into the building, we saw a large screen set up over the stage, showing scenes from the Great War.

Britten’s War Requiem is justly regarded as a masterpiece, and now we have an Australian War Requiem to stand unashamedly beside it.

Chrisopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem was one of the most moving and profound experiences I have had for many years. The splendid text was based on letters written between Australian mothers and their sons in far away France. The letters were printed in the program for us to read, and Pamela Traynor’s text was beautifully built on real events, as those young men lived – and died – through those terrible times.

The work is divided into three parts; Tableau 1. The Horrors of War. Tableau 2. Sons and Mothers, and Tableau 3. Reflections on Loss.

The concert began with the screen showing a woman, as the narrator read a mother’s letter to her son, we saw the young man, and then heard his letter to her. Each of the Three Tableaux was preceded by five scenes from the war being fought in France.

The music began with the bass (Atatürk), and the large choir singing the Requiem Aeternam very softly. As the children’s choir was joined by the soprano and large choir, the work gradually grew to show the tragedy which was to unfold.

As the splendid baritone soloist sang the words of a dying soldier from the battlefield, and the music built to the climax, I was moved to tears. The final moments, as a piper played the bagpipes, was inspiration.

The concept of the presentation was wonderful, as we were transported into the horror of those days by the music of Bowen and his magnificent orchestration, by Traynor’s masterly libretto, and the images presented on the screen, helping the viewer to identify the journey we were traveling.

The Sydney University Graduate Choir sounded supremely confident, with a rich tone in this large hall. The other choirs, Waitara Voices and Fort Street High School, were very well prepared and gave of their best.

The splendid soloists were Celeste Lazarenko and Ayse Göknur Shanal sopranos, Christopher Richardson baritone and the exceptional Adrian Tamburini, bass-baritone. They were joined, stepping into this new and difficult work at late notice, by the magnificent tenor Henry Choo. (Why do we not hear more of this wonderful operatic tenor?) All the soloists were obviously moved to be part of this beautiful and important new work, and to find the music easily accessible at first listening was for me, a great pleasure.

Christopher Bowen has written some fine work over the years. In An Australian Requiem he has established himself as a great composer for all time. Musically this was a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

Lauris Elms



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Christopher Bowen’s ‘An Australian War Requiem’ Premiered

On Sunday, 10 August in the Sydney Town Hall, the choir gave its second subscription concert of 2014, the premiere performance of Christopher Bowen’s and Pamela Traynor’s An Australian War Requiem, commissioned by the choir to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and the Anzac landing.

This blog post confines itself to a report on the performance. The story of the magnificent organizational efforts of choir members, Evelyne DeClercq and Marilyn Gosling, to achieve official recognition and funding of the project, and the outstandingly professional PR effort of Rosalie O’Neale to achieve advance publicity for the performance can be told elsewhere. President David Herrero was also intensively involved in the detailed logistical planning of the concert. Suffice to say, the measure of Evelyne’s, Marilyn’s and David’s success, as well as those who worked so hard behind—and in front of—the scenes on the day, is that the concert did actually take place with hardly a hitch. Attended by a host of Australian and international VIPs, led by the Governor- General, General the Hon. Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (retd) and Lady Cosgrove present, and, as with our Verdi Requiem of April 2013, the superb space of the Sydney Town Hall was almost completely full. It was a marvelous feeling for us choristers to sit on the risers before the concert began and watch the large audience swarm in; this put to rest one of the major worries we had had in advance.

After rehearsing the work with Amy Putt at the piano for a couple of months from February, the Choir had developed a respect and admiration for An Australian War Requiem. Christopher’s ability and enthusiasm to sing SAT and B had given us an idea of how the soloists’ parts fitted in with the choral part, and this was very useful when we, the guest choir, children’s choir, orchestra and soloists came together at Fort Street High School the day before the performance. At that point, it dawned on many of us that this is a very special work indeed. I had an extra reference point for judging the quality of the music in those members of the Joubert Singers of Hunters Hill, to which I also belong, who had joined the guest choir (which totaled some 70). To a man and woman, they found it a moving and exciting musical experience.

This assessment was confirmed at the full rehearsal on the morning of the performance in the Town Hall and at the concert that afternoon. We had the opportunity once again to recognize the blessing we have in our talented orchestral musicians, who included such tried and trusty players as Stan Kornel, who was once again Concertmaster, Inge Courtney Haentjes (violin), John  Benz (cello), Paul Laszlo (double bass), Duncan Thorpe (oboe), Bronwen Needham (flute), Deborah de Graaff (clarinet), Graham Nichols( French horn) Michael Wyborn (trombone) and Steve Machamer (timpani).  On this occasion, Amy Putt also played in the performance she had done so much to prepare for, by taking the part for celeste.

We enjoyed the youthful dedication and talent of the kids of Waitara Voices (from Waitara Public School), trained by Jenny Bell, and reinforced by about a dozen young singers from Fort Street High School (trained bya member of our Soprano section, Lyndall Haylen). In rehearsal, they struggled with a tricky entry towards the end of Tableau Three, but by the performance had ironed this out successfully. They made an important contribution to the event.

Five outstanding young soloists sang in the concert. Celeste Lazarenko (soprano) represented the mothers of the Diggers away at the war; Ayse Göknur Shanal (soprano), of Turkish ethnicity, sang the Stabat Mater, which Christopher and Pamela had woven into the text as an important element, and sang the moving words of a battlefield nurse towards the end of the work.

There should be a beautiful corner of musical heaven for those artists, who step in to performances at short notice to replace others forced to drop out, thereby enabling the show to go on and so obviating the horror of late cancellation. For example, Paul Morris (tenor) came in late in the piece to our performance of Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten in August 2009, thereby facilitating a memorable concert  On this occasion, Andrew Goodwin (tenor) was unable at the last moment to participate in rehearsals and, thankfully, Henry Choo, who had sung with us in last year’s Johannes Passion, stepped in and made a remarkably good fist of his important role as the Soldier, despite only seeing the score for the first time a week before the concert.

Christopher Richardson (baritone), who, with Ayse, had performed in our December ‘Salzburg Connection’ concert, had the moving words of Kemal Atatürk, father of modern Turkey, to sing. He did so with an elegance appropriate to the persona of the famous statesman. Adrian Tamburini (bass) had some of the most moving parts of the text to deliver, and his strong, deep voice made a heartbreaking delivery of ‘I’m done, boys, I’m done…’ in the final Tableau.

All in all, this was a very strong group of soloists, who did an excellent job for the new work.

Mention should also be made of Adam Malone(trumpet), who played the Last Post from the rear of the hall towards the end of the work, flawlessly without fluffs, and of Zac Webster, a student of The Scots College, who played with assurance a very exposed solo Lament for bagpipes, from the vestibule, accompanied by timpani, to bring An Australian War Requiem to an emotional close.

The enlarged choir, conscious of the new artistic ground they were covering, and well but not obsessively drilled in his requirements by Christopher, gave an enthusiastic and impressive performance.  This is a particular credit to the guest singers, who had less time and opportunity than the rest of us to familiarize themselves with the music but nevertheless integrated themselves effectively into the common cause.

The performance was more than an excellent musical production. Christoph Kaufmann excelled himself with a beautiful and larger than usual program, which included a message from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who wrote:

The premiere of An Australian War Requiem by the Sydney University Graduate Choir, guest choristers and orchestra is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices our forbears made for our prosperity and freedom.

There were also messages from the Ambassador of Kingdom of Belgium and the Consuls-General of Germany, New Zealand and Turkey.  We were grateful for the guidance and support of the Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which gave permission for the use of the highly prized and carefully protected official logo of the Anzac Centenary in the program.

In the half hour prior to the beginning of the concert, a series of images provided by the Australian War Museum, were projected onto a large screen above the stage. And in the two breaks between the tableaux, further images were projected onto the screen, while brief instrumental interludes were performed in the orchestra.

The response from the audience was immediately and overwhelmingly positive. There was a prolonged ovation in the hall. We have subsequently received many enthusiastic written comments —in my own case, three audience members I had invited provided a crescendo of praise, describing the performance, successively, as ‘outstanding’, a ‘triumph’, and a ‘a wonderful experience’.

A review of the concert was provided by Luke Iredale in the online publication, Classikon (reproduced on the website for An Australian War Requiem).  Thanks to him for his contribution, which included perceptive and pleasant comments like the following:

Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem is the end result of a truly staggering effort…..Bowen’s music, was at turns haunting, stark and dramatic, with a flair for clever orchestration and rich choral writing…..The Sydney University Graduate Choir displayed excellent control, diction and uniformity of sound, notably in the exciting 7/8 rush of the ‘Shells Burst’ chorus…..Other highlights included the exceptionally well-trained voices of the Waitara children’s choir…The audience at Sydney’s beautiful Town Hall {was left} feeling as though they’d been part of something truly unique.  On this solemn anniversary what better way to remember and honour the memories of Australia’s fallen soldiers than through the beauty and clarity of the human voice?

So, it is clear that Christopher Bowen’s and Pamela Traynor’s brilliant creative work vindicated in spades the Choir’s decision to commission An Australian War Requiem. Our task now is to try to promote a second performance.

John Bowan

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‘Revealing layers of profound and human emotion’—interview with Christopher Bowen, composer and conductor

On the eve of the premiere of ‘An Australian War Requiem’, composer and conductor Christopher Bowen kindly shares his thoughts on the significance of this work to him.

What was the initial spark for you to undertake this project?
It occurred after the premiere of my Liberdade Requiem in 2000 which was dedicated to the East Timorese who had given their lives in their struggle for independence.

I was astonished to realise that there was the complete absence of a major work dedicated to those who had sacrificed so much for our own nation—so my thoughts turned to writing a work commemorating the centenaries of the World War 1 in 2014 and the Gallipoli campaign in 2015.

Christopher Bowen OAM

Christopher Bowen OAM

What has been the most poignant aspect for you of working on the Requiem?
To be honest, the process has given me a rare and privileged opportunity to get inside the minds and feelings of the soldiers whose words appear in the Requiem and to realise that what appears to be mundane on the surface can reveal many layers of profound and human emotions on closer inspection.

What are you hoping An Australian War Requiem achieves?
I am hoping that people will walk away from the performance with the desire to find an answer as to why our world has to be continually forged and shaped by the brutality and selfish desire of the powerful and ambitious, and to realise that bigotry , prejudice and self-righteousness lead us continually along the path to destruction and misery.

What are you looking forward to most about the premiere on 10 August?
The actual experience of performing the work and sharing it with the performers and audience.

From where did you draw inspiration for the sound (the musical texture) of the Requiem?
The musical textures of the Requiem are varied.

The music sung by Atatürk is definitely tinged with music from the Islamic world which I have always found incredibly beautiful. There are many other elements in the work as well with the deliberate intention to explore the tensions created by opposites. For example: harmonic consonance and dissonance; lyricism and angularity of melody and not forgetting the interplay of regular and irregular rhythmic patterns.

Certain intervals play an important part in the music’s language and I love using hexachords.

Do you have a personal connection to the Great War?
I have never really felt the urge or desire to explore that part of my ancestry so I really don’t know. But I do remember talking to some wonderful old men who had fought in the war—understandably they really didn’t go into the details, but they were adamant that war was not a ‘thing to recommend’.

After the premiere, what then? Are you hoping the AWR will be performed widely by the SUGC and other choirs over the next 4 years?
It would be wonderful to have the work performed again both here and overseas in an effort to bring an ‘Australian’ perspective to the various commemorations.

This is the culmination of a number of years’ hard work for you. What have you learnt from the experience?
I have learnt that humanity is diminished by such pig-headed devotion to our supposed cultural, religious and political differences. Until we understand the futility and pointlessness of absolute power then unfortunately we will continue to experience such events as the ‘war to end all wars’ and creative artists such as myself, will have to find new ways of telling the same story, over and over again.

What is on the horizon for you, post-premiere?
I want to write a piece of music-theatre based on an extraordinary true story which occurred in Sydney in the 19th century. Obviously I don’t want to divulge anything about this project at the moment but it really is ‘special’. Many Australians don’t realise what an incredible history we can share with one another and the world—a history which stretches beyond 60,000 years.

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Five minutes with…Christopher Richardson, bass

Christopher Richardson, bass soloist in ‘An Australian War Requiem’, shares his thoughts with us on what it means to him to be part of this event.

What did you find tempting about the invitation to sing in An Australian War Requiem?
Well, I consider it an honour to be asked to perform in the premiere of a work by a composer whom I respect. So upon being asked to perform in the world-premiere of such a significant work by Christopher Bowen – a work written to remember and honour those who gave their lives so that I could enjoy the freedom in Australia which we all do today – I felt greatly honoured and jumped at the opportunity.

Members of the 40th Battalion, taking steps to address the problem of ‘trench feet’, after the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917 – Australian War Memorial E00942

Members of the 40th Battalion, taking steps to address the problem of ‘trench feet’, after the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917 – Australian War Memorial E00942

Do you have a personal connection to the Great War?
I do have a relative who fought in the Great War—Robert Richardson, who was the brother of my great-grandfather William Richardson. At the time of the outbreak of the Great War, Robert was working as a blacksmith in Tasmania. He enlisted in 1916 and formed one of Tasmania’s 40th Battalion which was posted to the Western front. He was involved in trench warfare in Flanders in 1917, then in 1918 did an ‘anti-aircraft’ course and fought the same year in the Somme in France. Robert very fortunately managed to survive his time in the Great War and returned to Australia in 1919. At the time of his discharge, he was a Lieutenant Sergeant.

What is the most poignant (and enduring) image evoked for you by the words?
There are many images evoked by the text of this work—which are all powerfully moving and at times disturbingly vivid. However, for me the most personally impacting image evoked by the text is in the second part—‘Mothers and Sons’—where we hear the words exchanged in letters between a soldier on the front-line and his mother at home in Australia.

“Mother, it is now midnight and all around me I hear the sound of guns. I’m writing you this letter, I hope you get it safely. Don’t worry all is well… I wonder dear Mother if you’re well, not lonely or sad. I wonder, dear Mother, how long it will be till we see each other again. I don’t like this separation – it makes me so sad. Oh Mother, my dearest mother, I am so home and mother sick. All my love for you… all my love I send to you.”

“Oh my son how I long for you and to have you here at home with me and hear your happy laughter and your wild music again. You must come back to me… how I long to have you home again”

I think the reason I find this text so moving is that as I read it, I find myself empathising with the soldier—imagining what it would be like to be penning a letter in such hellish conditions to my own dear mother—on one hand wanting to be honest with how I was feeling, yet, on the other hand, comforting her and telling her that everything was ok so as not to cause anguish. Then, I see my own mother in the mother’s response—I hear her voice in those words from that mother—trying to encapsulate the extent of her love in words on a mere piece of paper.

What are you looking forward to most about the premiere on August 10?

At this stage, I’m most looking forward to the first rehearsal—to hear all of the elements I see on the page come together audibly! Regarding the premiere on August 10, I’m looking forward to hearing the work at its polished best—and being part of presenting it. I also look forward to taking the time in my own heart to remember, empathise, imagine and give thanks.

What is on the horizon for you now?
After being part of this exciting premiere I am looking forward to performing the role of Ptolemy, King of Egypt in the Canberra Choral Society’s Australian premiere performance of one of Handel’s lesser-known oratorios Alexander Balus in September. I am also greatly looking forward to performing the role of King Thoas in Pinchgut Opera’s presentation of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at Angel Place in December.


Description of image
“The mud and slush throughout the Ypres Sector kept the feet of the troops in a continual state of dampness and caused the complaint of ‘trench feet’ to become fairly general. Members of the 40th Battalion, 10th Australian Infantry Brigade are seen here taking advantage of a rest at Dragoon Farm, near Ypres, after the Battle of Passchendaele Ridge, to bathe and oil their feet in order to obviate the malady. Identified, standing, left to right: 2311 Corporal (Cpl) Cyril Sydney Cosson (smoking cigarette, 1); 137 Lance Corporal (LCpl) G Bailey (2); 619 Private (Pte) F Clayton (3); 2136 Sergeant (Sgt) R W Richardson (4); 797 LCpl M E Cox (5); 2281 Sgt W Walker (facing camera with left hand doing up button of jacket, 6); 13595 Pte F Bell, Army Medical Corps (roll of bandage under left arm, 7). Sitting: 204 Pte A W Hunn (8); unidentified (9); 2562 Sgt H F Davis (10); 2297 Pte H L Booth (11); 2589 Pte A H Holmstrom (in front of Booth, 12); 84 Cpl O H Hansson (13); 5656 LCpl L M Badcock (partially obscured, 14); 2638 Pte T P Ready (15); and working on Badcock’s feet is 16650 Pte L H Smith, Army Medical Corps (16). See E00942K for position of those named in this caption.”

(Sgt Richardson is standing to the left of the soldier who has his back part turned to the camera and is pointing away; he is looking directly at the camera.)

Link to image E00942 Australian War Memorial
Marked copy identifying the soldiers E00942K Australian War Memorial

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