Noosa Chorale and the Suncoast Sinfonia will perform Dvorak's The Phantom's Bride on Saturday 18 June at 7pm and on Sunday 19 June at 3pm as part of the Noosa Longweekend.
Tickets are $25 and can be bought online at www.noosalongweekend.com or by phoning 07 5442 4546
The Phantom's Bride - Background
Antonin Dvorak is known to most audiences for his wonderful New World Symphony, the Slavonic Dances, the popular Humoresque and his moving Stabat Mater. Less known are Dvorak's operatic works, the most popular of which is The Phantom's Bride.
In the Sunshine Coast premiere of concert opera version of this work, musical director, Leonard Spira, will take Noosa Longweekend audiences on an exciting journey to Eastern Europe through the Czech nationality of its composer and the theme of its story.
Dvorak's score mixes Czech folk-style melodies with a damsel-in-distress melodrama and The Phantom's Bride stands out among Dvorak's choral works for its vigour. It combines a gripping edge-of-seat narrative with an inspired score of vibrant orchestral colour and moods.
By the early 1880's, the forty year old Antonin Dvorak had an international reputation as a composer. His distinctive nationalistic music, with its flowing melodies and robust rhythms, had captured audiences throughout Europe, England and America.
In 1884, the City of Birmingham, host of great choral festivals, commissioned Dvorak to write a work for its 1885 season. Having been given a free hand, Dvorak chose a ghostly folk tale by the Czech writer, E J Erben. The Phantom's Bride is a story which turns up in various guises in many central European cultures. It tells how a dead man comes back to claim the girl he loved and take her away to his nether world. He deceives the girl into believing he is still alive and the girl follows him. Just before the point of no return she suddenly realises that he is an evil phantom and escapes his deadly clutches with divine help.
For this premiere Sunshine Coast performance, Leonard Spira has prepared a modern English version and arranged it in the form of a concert opera, which dramatises this Gothic tale of temptation, seduction and redemption.
Renowned soprano, Louise Kennedy will bring to this performance her international operatic experience, beautiful voice and powerful dramatic qualities to portray Eva, the bride. Brisbane tenor, Robert Proudfoot, will bring his excellent record of singing awards and experience to the part of the Phantom. Versatile talented bass, Michael Strasser, will be the Fabulist who tells the story.
Noosa Chorale welcomes the Suncoast Sinfonia as its orchestral partner in this concert. The Suncoast Sinfonia, under the direction of Graeme Young, has developed over recent years into the Coast's leading chamber orchestra. The June Noosa Longweekend performances of The Phantom's Bride will be conducted by Noosa Chorale's musical director, Leonard Spira, and the orchestra will be led by acclaimed musical identity Julie-Anne O'Reilly.
Noosa Chorale was formed in early 1994 at the instigation of its current patron, Joseph McMahon, who saw a gap in the cultural life of Noosa. The Chorale's aim is to bring to the people of the Sunshine Coast the rich repertoire of the great classical choral works. In 2002, it added Renaissance compositions and choral arrangements of jazz classics to its repertoire. It has become a cultural landmark in Noosa with a loyal and enthusiastic audience and a core of experienced long term members.
The current Musical Director of Noosa is Leonard Spira.
Noosa Chorale has been a permanent and popular feature of the Noosa Longweekend. It performed Handel's JUDAS MACCABAEUS in 2002 and OPERA GLORIA in 2003, combining Puccini's Gloria Mass with highlights from Verdi operas. OPERA GLORIA was sold out a month before the performance. In 2004, Noosa Chorale gave two performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to capacity audiences.
Since its formation in 2002, the Suncoast Sinfonia has developed into the Coast's leading chamber orchestra.
Conducted by Graeme Young and led by acclaimed musical identity Julie-Anne O'Reilly, the Sinfonia attracts a growing and enthusiastic audience each time it performs. Its concerts feature a combination of well-known and attractive music, each one highlighting the talents of one or two superlative soloists.!
Noosa has been very fortunate in attracting many people of outstanding talent and commitment. One such person is Leonard Spira, the Musical Director of Noosa Chorale.
Born in Poland, Leonard Spira arrived in Australia when he was five. He received his musical training in Melbourne and studied horn at the Melbourne Conservatorium.
He has played professionally in the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras under many eminent conductors.
He began his conducting career in 1963 when he formed the Victorian Opera Company (later the Victorian State Opera) conducting a large and varied repertoire of opera and operetta until 1968. During this time he also formed his own opera company, the Leonard Spira Opera Company, whose performances received high praise from critics.
In the 1980's, he formed and directed the Sydney Occasional Orchestra, Sydney Serenade, a chamber orchestra, and Sydney Harmonie, a classical wind octet.
Leonard also pursued a career in architecture and directed the Sydney Opera House renovations during the Opera House major refurbishment program in the 1980's.
Since his arrival in Noosa, Leonard has directed Noosa Chorale and the Occasional Orchestra which has accompanied the Chorale on many occasions and also put on concert performances of major orchestral works.
Under Leonard's direction, Noosa Chorale has performed an impressive range of works including Handel's 'Messiah', Mozart's 'Requiem', Verdi's 'Requiem' Beethoven's Choral Symphony, Haydn's 'The Seasons', Bach's B Minor Mass as well as highlights from opera.
Leonard received official recognition of his contribution to the community when Noosa Council awarded him the Australia Day Cultural Award in 1999.
Soprano, Louise Kennedy studied at the National Opera Studio, London after winning a Peter Stuyvesant Scholarship and made her professional debut at Glyndebourne as Zdenka in Arabella. She has since sung in the UK with the English National Opera, the Royal Opera, Kent Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, the Brighton Festival, the English Bach Festival, the London Sinfonietta and she has also sung with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Roles include: the title role in Manon, Queen of the Night and the First Lady in the Magic Flute, the Wife in the UK premiere of Life with an Idiot by Schnittke (at ENO and then Scottish Opera), Violetta in La Traviata, the title role in Norma, Elisa in Il Re Pastore, Frasquita in Carmen, Teresa in Benvenuto Cellini, Galatea in Acis and Galatea, the Younger Sister in Steven Oliver's Beauty and the Beast, Okotta in the world premiere of John Metcalf's Tornrak, the title role in Norma, Hilda Mack in Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw, Atalanta in Xerxes, Cleopatra in Julius Caesar, Norina in Don Pasquale, a Young Nun in The Fiery Angel by Prokoviev, the Third Angelic Voice in Palestrina by Pfitzner and The Wife, Sphinx and Waitress in Greek by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
She was first introduced to international audiences when she recorded the Queen of the Night's aria for the soundtrack of Amadeus with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Abroad her roles have included Gilda in Rigoletto, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Leila in Pearl Fishers for the Lyric Opera of Queensland; Minette in The English Cat by Henze in Gutersloh and Berlin; La Musica in Orfeo in Valencia; Mrs Ford in Salieri's Falstaff, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, La Sacerdotessa in Aida, Giovanna in Ernani and one of Quattro Arcangeli in Genesi by Franco Battiato at the Teatro Regio Parma, Italy; Fiorilla in The Turk in Italy for CAPAB in Capetown; Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes and Gilda for the Opera de Nantes; Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for the Opera d'Automne Semur en Auxois; Hilda Mack for Opera Decentralise in Neuchatel; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for Musica nel Chiostro, Batignano and also for the Festival d'Auvers-sur-Oise, Paris.
She has sung at the Metropolitan Opera in New York whilst on tour with the Royal Opera.
She has undertaken regular oratorio and concert work throughout the UK and Europe and has also appeared with the Hong Kong Philharmonic as Rosalinda in a concert performance of Die Fledermaus.
Louise has come to live in Australia for family reasons. Since being here she has performed regularly with the Queensland Pops Orchestra in Brisbane, under the late Colin Harper. She also performs regularly in recitals and concerts on the Sunshine Coast where her witty Opera Evenings are enthusiastically received. She has also been in demand locally and further a field for Oratorio performances.
New Zealand born tenor, Robert Proudfoot graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2004. While completing his studies, he featured in a number of Conservatorium productions, including the Monteverdi Vespers and the world premier of Going into Shadows by Andrew Schultz. Winner of both the Margaret Nickson and Donald Penman prizes, he was also awarded the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence. Recent professional credits include Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Tosca (Puccini), Carmen (Bizet), Don Pasquale (Donizetti) and Un Ballo in Mashera (Verdi). Robert maintains a busy schedule performing as a soloist and also conducting and teaching in Queensland.
Bass, Michael Strasser is a versatile singer who has performed as chorister and soloist in many different musical styles. He is a regular soloist with choirs in southeast Queensland, including Brisbane Concert Choir, Sunshine Coast Choral Society, Bach Society of Queensland, Canticum and the Brisbane Choral. Choral works in which he has performed include Messiah, Hayden Creation, Stainer Crucifixion, Mozart Coronation Mass, Bach Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs and Mass in G Minor, Beethoven Choral Fantasia and Arvo Part Passio. Michael has been a regular member of the Opera Queensland Chorus since 1993, performing in concerts as well as state productions. He sang with the vocal sextet, Jones and Co, from 1989 to 1994 and later with the sextet, Sixophony, from 1999 to 2001. He has also performed in many Village Music Hour concerts for 4MBS Classic FM.
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