Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mirusia - From the Heart Tour 2018

Mirusia Louwerse
July 2017
Photo: Belinda McDowall
Mirusia – From the Heart TourMirusia Louwerse with Graeme Press (musical director and composer on piano), Leo Kram (violin) and backing singer Shannon Robinson.  At The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, August 25, 2018.

Reviewed by Frank McKone

At the end of a seemingly interminable week of vicious internecine political shenanigans at Parliament House in Canberra, feeling distinctly cynical, what a welcome surprise it was to find myself feeling warm and fuzzy, even a bit teary as Mirusia ended her second encore singing along with her upstanding audience “I am, you are, we are – Australian” on Saturday afternoon in our great little theatre, The Q, in Queanbeyan.

Mirusia’s joke was to thank us for making her feel more than a human being (‘humanbeyan’).  We made her feel a ‘Queenbeyan’.

Her concert of classical songs, music theatre and even the old folk song ‘Botany Bay’ focussed on heart and home.  Her theme is how, after ten years living in her parents’ home country, Holland, she remained homesick for Australia and the Brisbane of her birth and upbringing – finally succeeding in ‘importing her husband’ Youri who mans the sales desk in the foyer, where you are encouraged to buy the album of the show and donate to the Australian Children’s Music Foundation.

From the Heart is an unpretentious presentation of Mirusia’s journey from Brisbane, her success at the Queensland Conservatorium in Australia, where at the age of 21 she was announced as the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Opera Award, and her career touring the world for 10 years “as a featured soloist with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. This much loved orchestra is based in Maastricht, Netherlands and is led by the acclaimed violinist, André Rieu.”

Mirusia with André Rieu, 2016
Bringing Mirusia to The Q was a mark once again of the success of Stephen Pike and his team in providing a range of quality attractions to our region.  From the Heart indeed.

I have only two suggestions. 

I wondered if, especially in such a small theatre, whether the show might have been better un-miked.  Oddly enough, voices were rounded and clarity excellent when using the hand-held mikes, but this was not the case when Mirusia sang and spoke using only the ‘cheek’ clip-on mike.

I also felt Shannon Robinson, who sang very well, deserved to be introduced to the audience right at the beginning.  Even though it was great to hear her singing the Flower Duet with Mirusia later in the show, she looked left out of the group before that, even though we knew she was providing backing harmony.  In fact I would have liked at the beginning to have had a proper introduction to Shannon, Graeme Press and Leo Kram, with a little music played or sung by each.  In this way – in the Australian way – we would have felt more at home with a team of equals presenting the concert.