Monday, November 23, 2020



Art Song Canberra

Sarahlouise Owens, soprano

Natalia Tkachenko, piano

Wesley Music Centre, Forrest Sunday 22 November


Reviewed by Len Power


Richard Wagner and many other famous composers relied on the generous patronage of royal personages who commissioned large amounts of repertoire.  Educated in the arts, many royals were also known to compose music and prose as well.

In their Art Song Canberra concert, ‘By Royal Favour’, Sarahlouise Owens, soprano, and Natalia Tkachenko, piano, presented various favourites of Royals of the 19th century, concentrating on the Victorian and Romanov courts.

Sarahlouise Owens has worked extensively in Europe and is a graduate of the ANU School of Music and Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.  She has established herself as a busy concert artist and recitalist of Art Song since her return to Australia.

Natalia Tkachenko graduated with honours from the Moscow State Institute of Music and worked extensively in Moscow, France, Germany and South Korea before residing in Canberra and working with the ANU School of Music.

Natalia Tkechenko and Sarahlouise Owens

Music composition had formed an important part of the early musical education of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.  Three of his songs were included in the concert – ‘Serenade’, ‘To A Messenger’ and ‘Mourning Song’.  All three were romantic and melodic and Sarahlouise Owens sang them simply but with great feeling.

Queen Victoria and Price Albert were great admirers of the music of Felix Mendelssohn.  His song, ‘First Loss’, was given a hauntingly beautiful performance by Owens and her fine singing of ‘Italy’, by Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny, evoked the rich colour and atmosphere of that country.

Songs by the well-known Russian composers, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov were also presented.  Tchaikovsky’s ‘I Opened A Window’ and ‘First Date’, set to poems by Konstantin Romanov, the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, were especially well sung by Owens.  The piano playing by Tkachenko of ‘First Date’ was outstanding.

Also included were songs by the now lesser known but famous in their day, Samuel Maykapar and Arseny Koreshchenko.  ’My Dreams Shone In Them!’ by Maykapar was a hauntingly melodic work that was sung with notable delicacy and great warmth by Owens.

Once again, Sarahlouise Owens presented a well-researched concert that gave the music an added level of historical and human interest.  With her fine singing and the superb piano playing of Natalia Tkachenko, we were treated to an expert and enjoyable concert.


Photos by Peter Hislop


Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.


‘Theatre of Power’, a regular podcast on Canberra’s performing arts scene with Len Power, can be heard on Spotify, ITunes and other selected platforms or at