Songs of Faith and Devotion (15th July 2012)

Since moving to Australia to further her studies and develop her singing career several years ago, Rosel and I have lost touch over time so it was a nice surprise to hear from her out of the blue - she dropped me an email a few weeks ago to say she would be in town for a recital and invited me to come along. Of course I'll be there! It would be a great opportunity to catch up AND hear her sing again :)

The recital was held at St Mark's, an Anglican church located at Darling Point (harbour side eastern suburb of Sydney and one of the most exclusive and prestigious suburbs in Australia) - some of you might recognise the church from the wedding scene of well-known Australian romantic-drama film Muriel's Wedding. The event was free and guests were given a programme of the recital on entry. There were already several people seated in the pews when I entered the church and immediately spotted the star of the day mingling with the crowd. Happy squeals and warm hugs soon followed - it was good to see Rosel and she looked amazing with her now brown-auburn hair (she is a natural blonde), making her look more serious and mature despite her young age (probably a good thing as I would think in her industry, she needed to set a certain image for casting agents to take her seriously given her age). Her mum and brother too were in the audience (they flew in from Wellington) so I went to say my hellos and sat in the pew in front of them. 

St Mark's Church at Darling Point

While Rosel went backstage to get herself ready, I caught up with her mum - you could tell that she was very proud of her daughter, beaming with pride as she spoke of Rosel's achievements and performances to date. Aww, that's sweet :)  

Rosel's recital was titled 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' and it was a collaboration project with pianist Bradley Gilchrist - Rosel had chosen songs that have particular meaning to her to share aspects of her own personal faith and the significance it has in her life with the audience, dedicating the recital to her mum and brother for their unfailing support and love. Though it wasn't a full house crowd this afternoon, there were enough people to make it an event in itself. The audience went silent when Rosel entered the church, this time wearing an elegant emerald-green dress - wow, I would not have recognised her in a crowd if I ever see her like this. The dress, hair colour and make-up made her look very grown up and definitely sets the tone for what we were to receive next. Works and songs from classical and romantic opera including Bellini, Mozart and Mahler were performed this afternoon. Rosel started off with Part One: Faith with Mahler's second movement "Ging heut Morgen ├╝bers Feld" ("I Went This Morning over the Field") from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen ('Songs of a Wayfarer'). I knew Rosel is an amazing mezzo-soprano having seen and heard her sing in a Wellington production of Iolanthe many years back but hearing her sing again today reminded me how good she was. I do believe she has gotten even better in her vocal repertoire with several more years under her belt and singing with some of the top opera performers in the country. SO happy for her achievements!

Thankfully the programme had translations of the songs sung - the songs vary from German, French, Italian and Spanish and the translations helped those of us who aren't so fluent in languages to make sense of what was sung. Come the second half of the recital (Part Two: Devotion), the order of the songs didn't go according to the programme and after spending 5 minutes trying to figure out where we were at, I gave up and just sat there enjoying the songs and watching Rosel perform. I was highly impressed at Rosel's ability to memorise all the songs presented today and sung them without reference. She made me break into a smile when she sang Amor by William Bolcom from Cabaret Songs Vol. 1 - the funny lyrics and her cheeky expression made it a delightful sight. A few videos taken of Rosel singing at the recital today:

Compliments to Rosel were heard in conversations among the audience after the recital. Some even stayed on to personally meet and compliment our shining star! Unfortunately Rosel's schedule and time in Sydney was pretty tight so we couldn't have a proper catch up this time. But I'm sure she'll be back soon to wow us again with her singing and hopefully spend a longer time in town on her return.


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