Monday, November 26, 2018


Art Song Canberra
Louise Page, Soprano
Phillipa Candy, Piano
Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest 25 November

Reviewed by Len Power

There was a highly charged atmosphere in the packed-to-the-rafters Wesley Uniting Church for Art Song Canberra’s concert, ‘Celebration!’  After a 25 year partnership, singer Louise Page and pianist, Phillipa Candy, were giving their final concert together.  As she is retiring from singing, it was the last opportunity to hear the beautiful soprano voice of Louise Page.  She and Phillipa Candy brought the house down with a carefully chosen set of songs that they had loved and enjoyed over the years of their partnership.

The program started with two works by Purcell and Handel which Page sang with great feeling and technical skill.  These were followed by ‘The Carnival of Venice’, a witty song that gave her the opportunity to let loose with some spectacular vocal fireworks.  Two romantic works by Erich Korngold followed and were sensitively sung with an excellent accompaniment by Candy.

A set of American Spirituals were next, including a quietly emotional ‘Deep River’ and the rousing ‘He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands’ brought the first half of the concert to a close.

Phillipa Candy and Louise Page

The second half of the concert commenced with seven classical Spanish folk songs which were sung passionately and colourfully.  The highlights were the hauntingly beautiful, ‘Con Amores, la mi madre’ (With love, oh mother of mine) and the very droll ‘Chiquitita la novia’ (A tiny bride).  The complex musical accompaniment to these songs was handled seemingly effortlessly by Phillipa Candy.

A set of British folk songs followed including ‘I Will Walk With My Love’ in which Louise Page showed her fine acting ability.  Three songs by Richard Strauss were next.  Her sensitive singing of ‘Morgen’ was the highlight of the concert and Candy’s accompaniment was superb, especially the long introduction.

Phillipa Candy and Louise Page

The concert finished with ‘Con te partirò’, (Time To Say Goodbye). Always a highly emotional song with its soaring melody, it had even more significance for this audience as the concert drew to a close.  Two encores followed and the audience honoured these two brilliant artists with a much-deserved standing ovation.  This was a truly thrilling celebration!

Photos by Peter Hislop

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.