Welcome to Songmakers! This is your first collaboration with Songmakers Australia. What excites you about this?
As a young singer in London I had the privilege of working with Graham Johnson as a Young Songmaker. The culminating concert was in St Johns Smith Square, at which he very kindly commissioned a friend to paint me in performance as a wedding present.
This is a constant reminder of that experience which established my passion for performing Art Song at the highest level. Back in Australia, when I heard Andrea had founded Songmakers Australia with this purpose in mind and that Graham was the patron, I'd hoped one day to be involved. I'm delighted to have this opportunity.
How does it feel to be part of a vocal ensemble?
It's a joy to make music with other musicians, especially with other singers in an Art Song context. This is a particularly treat as it makes possible programs and performances of greater variety, artistic interest, and richness.
I'm looking forward to singing with Merlyn for the first time and again with Andrew. We have sung in several concerts together and last year performed as husband and wife in the Handel opera Jephtha.
How is this different from your other work?
I'm very lucky that I'm married to an accompanist, Alan Hicks and until we moved Sydney earlier this year, a lot of my performing work has been based in Canberra. Singing with Songmakers Australia is giving me two new wonderful opportunities - to work with Andrea and to perform in the Melbourne Recital Hall.
Russian Lullaby includes works by many great composers. What is your favourite piece in the program?
The Shostakovich songs are a musical and emotional revelation to me. The solos, duets and trios are in such a range of moods and characters. The alto solo is a poignant lullaby, beautifully imbued with a feel of the deep Russian Jewish soul.