Art Song Canberra
Sarah Mann, soprano
Ella Luhtasaari, piano
Wesley Music Centre, 20 November
Reviewed by Len Power.
Unexpectedly, the soprano, Sarah Mann, was first heard but not seen as she entered from the back of the Wesley Music Centre singing an Amy Beach song. Her hauntingly beautiful voice was fresh, sunny and warm, like the perfect spring day.
The songs of “Primavera!”, in Art Song Canberra’s latest concert, were all chosen to evoke the wonders of spring. Works by Joseph Canteloube, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Roger Quilter, Enrique Granados and Amy Beach made up the program.
Sarah Mann is an accomplished performer, teacher and administrator. She has performed over twenty-six principal soprano roles in opera, operetta and oratorio, as well as performances with state and national arts organizations. She is fondly remembered by Canberrans in the role of Cosette in the early 90s first production of Canberra Philharmonic’s “Les Miserables”.
|Ella Luhtasaari and Sarah Mann|
Ella Luhtasaari is a collaborative pianist and teacher based in Canberra. She completed bachelor degrees in music and psychology at the ANU and completed post-graduate studies in Austria and the UK. She is a vocal and language coach at the ANU School Of Music.
Three “Songs Of The Auvergne” by Canteloube were a perfect next choice with their sense of the countryside in spring. The second song, “Spring Water” was a teasingly beautiful highlight and was delightfully sung by Mann. The accompaniment for all three songs by Luhtasaari was excellent.
Other highlights included a sublime marriage of voice and piano with “Morgan” by Richard Strauss and, in the second half of the program, ‘”Elegia Eterna” (Eternal Lament) by Granados was dramatic with high sustained notes that took your breath away. It seemed incredibly difficult but Mann sang it with apparent ease.
The other Granados work on the program, “Gracia Mia” (My Graceful One) was jubilantly sung and the joyful Roger Quilter’s “Love’s Philosophy” from a poem by Shelley was so memorable and obtained such a positive reaction from the audience. It was welcomed again as an encore.
This was a memorable concert by Sarah Mann who clearly loves what she does and had the good fortune to have such a superb accompanist as Ella Luhtasaari.
Photos by Peter Hislop
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/