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SwanSongs – Decadence


Sun 16 Jun 2019, 3:00pm–5:00pm

Where: Christ Church Anglican Church, Cnr Stirling Hwy and Queenslea Dr, Claremont, Western Australia

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Standard: $30.00
  • Concession - Senior & Student: $25.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: swansongsmusic

There is music for the heart, and music for the brain, but, for many, there is a golden period where all the boxes are ticked. The late romantic songs by Strauss, Berg and others give all of the sonic swoon factor but also set fabulous poetry. Strauss’s “Four Last Songs” are on so many personal top tens, and with good reason—this is the farewell to a lost world by a great master at the end of his life. He looks back with tender sadness and nostalgia over the manners and graces of the nineteenth century, but also conjures an aural image of his wife’s glory days as a wonderful singer, and it’s this loving core to the music that speaks to us so strongly.

Soprano Harriet Marshall sets the tone with this sublime set of songs, the climax of “Decadence”, a beautiful programme for rich voices and generous souls. Mezzo-soprano Ileana Rinaldi is perfectly-matched, and offers Berlioz’s exotic “Summer nights”. These six songs are sensually evocative, making time stand still.

The pulse will be set racing again by Massenet’s moving exploration of a young woman torn between love and duty, in the “Letter scene” from “Werther”, and by Harriet singing Alban Berg’s important “Seven Early Songs”, a work that stands right on the fault line between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Harriet and Ileana both have extraordinary voices and performing charisma, and are absolutely in their vocal prime. Perth is lucky to have them—these are the calibre of artists one finds in Europe’s opera houses. Harriet, or Hattie to her friends and admirers, is the dynamic guiding spirit behind Freeze Frame Opera, the company redefining opera for contemporary audiences. Ileana is a regular soloist with Opera Australia and West Australian Opera. And both performing the remarkable juggling act of maintaining careers while being the indispensable mothers of three.

David Wickham accompanies in this second concert of the SwanSongs winter season.