Australian String Quartet & Fiona Campbell present Margaret River Weekend of Music, November 5-7

David CusworthThe West Australian
Mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell will sing with Australian String Quartet at their Margaret River Weekend of Music, November 5-7.
Camera IconMezzo soprano Fiona Campbell will sing with Australian String Quartet at their Margaret River Weekend of Music, November 5-7. Credit: Morgan Sette

Perth mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell returns to the big stage in her home State next month for Australian String Quartet’s Margaret River Weekend of Music.

“Any opportunity to perform live feels like a blessing at the moment,” she says. “I’m incredibly excited to be performing with the ASQ because this was postponed from last year.”

The WA manager for Musica Viva Australia has seen the highs and lows of lockdown in that time.

She joined Brisbane soprano Katie Noonan in the all-new Australian Vocal Ensemble (“AVE”), with Sydney-based bass baritone Andrew O’Connor and tenor Andrew Goodwin.

“This is a dream that Katie Noonan has been working on for years, setting up this world-class vocal quartet,” Campbell says. “It’s all about the human voice telling stories about time and place. We’ve commissioned 12 new works already and we’ve put in funds to commission more and they are absolutely beautiful.

“We managed to record an EP, we were hoping to get our album recorded but we keep being locked down and locked out of different States.”

They recorded in Queensland and managed one tour to the Festival of Voices in Tasmania.

“I think we’ve got something really unique and special,” Campbell says.

With ASQ she will sing a program tailored to quartet and mezzo.

“I’m going to sing some Handel but it will be modified for string quartet,” she says.

“I’m singing the Debussy Trois Chansons de Bilitis which I’ve never sung with string quartet before, normally it’s with piano.

Dale Barltrop, Michael Dahlenberg, Francesca Hiew and Chris Cartlidge are ASQ.
Camera IconDale Barltrop, Michael Dahlenberg, Francesca Hiew and Chris Cartlidge are ASQ. Credit: Agatha Yim

“It’s such a joy to sing with a quartet because you don’t have to create such volumes to get over a big orchestra, so there’s much more nuance and flexibility, I think, in the delivery.

“And they’re such incredible musicians that it’s super fun to make music together.

“In the intimate setting of the winery there’s a buzz, there’s definitely a festival feel. And because you get to dine with the guests as well, it’s like sharing a weekend of music and food with friends.”

After five frustrated attempts due to COVID, ASQ made it to WA last month for gigs with Perth soprano Sara Macliver at St Georges Cathedral, and at Kidogo Art House, showcasing their new line up including viola player Chris Cartlidge and cellist Michael Dahlenberg, alongside established violinists Dale Barltrop and Francesca Hiew.

It’s been a harder road for Musica Viva foundation, whose disrupted national and international touring program has relied on local artists, including Darlington Quartet and pianist Graeme Gilling last weekend.

“The silver lining in that very dark cloud is that we have been able to promote local artists and people have been coming up to me in Perth to say how impressed they have been by the quality of musicianship and what a wonderful thing they think it is to acknowledge local artists,” Campbell says.

“And I have to agree 100 per cent that it’s beautiful to celebrate and elevate our local talent, because it is exceptional.”

https://asq.com.au/whats-on/margaret-river-weekend-of-music-margaret-river-western-australia-4/

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