Perth mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell returns to the big stage in her home state next month for the Australian String Quartet’s Margaret River Weekend of Music.
“Any opportunity to play live is a blessing right now,” she said. “I’m incredibly excited to play for ASQ because it was postponed from last year.”
The WA head of the Musica Viva foundation saw the ups and downs of the foreclosure during this time.
She joined Brisbane soprano Katie Noonan in the brand new Australian Vocal Ensemble (“AVE”), with bass baritone Andrew O’Connor and tenor Andrew Goodwin.
“It’s a dream that Katie Noonan has been working on for years, creating this world-class vocal quartet,” said Campbell. “It’s about the human voice telling stories about time and place. We have already ordered 12 new works and we have invested funds to order more and they are absolutely beautiful.
“We managed to record an EP, we were hoping to have our album recorded but we continue to be locked in and excluded from different states.”
They recorded in Queensland and toured the Festival of Voices in Tasmania.
“I think we have something really unique and special,” says Campbell.
With ASQ, she will sing a program adapted for quartet and mezzo.
“I’m going to sing Handel’s but it will be changed for the string quartet,” she says.
“I sing Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Bilitis, which I have never sung with a string quartet, normally it is with piano.
“It’s such a joy to sing with a quartet because you don’t have to create such volumes to overcome a large orchestra, so there’s a lot more nuance and flexibility, I think, in the delivery.
“And they’re such amazing musicians, it’s great fun making music together.
“In the intimate setting of the cellar, there is buzz, there is definitely a festival atmosphere. And because you can also dine with the guests, it’s like sharing a weekend of music and food with friends.
After five frustrated attempts due to COVID, ASQ traveled to WA last month for concerts with Perth soprano Sara Macliver at St Georges Cathedral and Kidogo Art House, presenting their new formation including violist Chris Cartlidge and cellist Michael Dahlenberg, alongside established violinists Dale Barltrop and Francesca Hiew.
The road has been tougher for the Musica Viva Foundation, whose disrupted national and international touring schedule relied on local artists including the Darlington Quartet and pianist Graeme Gilling last weekend.
“The good thing about this very dark cloud is that we were able to promote local artists and people came to me in Perth to tell me how impressed they were with the quality of the musicianship and what a wonderful thing they think. it’s to recognize local artists, ”says Campbell.
“And I 100% agree that it is beautiful to celebrate and nurture our local talent, because it is exceptional.”