Monday, February 21, 2022


Art Song Canberra

Ayşe Göknur Shanal, Soprano

Storytellers Ensemble

Wesley Music Centre, Forrest 20 February


Reviewed by Len Power

Listening to the soprano, Ayşe Göknur Shanal, sing the tango music of composer, Astor Piazzola, you could be forgiven for believing the songs had been written especially for her.  Her singing was so intensely personal and passionate that the meaning of the songs hardly required any translation.

Her rich, clear soprano is perfectly suited to the songs of Piazzola.  To sing them well, with their driving and changing rhythms, great technical skill and the ability to give the songs the emotional level they require, is essential.

Every song was performed superbly but there were a number of highlights.  The first song presented, ‘Ballad For My Death’ was startling in its intensity and ‘For The Head’ with its familiar tune was given a romantic and highly emotional performance.  ‘Oblivion’ was full of passion and ‘Goodbye Nonino’ was heart-breakingly moving.

Ayşe Göknur Shanal

The accompanists played a number of Piazzola’s instrumental works as well as the songs.  ‘Otono’, ‘Psychosis’ (piano and cello), ‘Invierno Porteno’ and Libertango’ were all extremely well-played.

This concert for Art Song Canberra by Ayşe Göknur Shanal was as memorable as her previous one, ‘A Journey From East To West’, in 2018.  She is a fine singer who clearly loves to sing and she is not afraid to perform the full range of emotions in the works she presents.  In addition, her down to earth and friendly personality gives her an immediate connection with audiences.  If she returns for more concerts, and I hope she does, she is not to be missed.

From left: Monica Cichon (violin), Eugenie Tamplon (piano),  Ayşe Göknur Shanal (soprano) and Aleksandar Zivkovic (cello)

Ayşe Göknur Shanal has won many prestigious awards and scholarships here in Australia and overseas.  She has performed widely in the USA, UK, Europe and Asia including Opera Ausralia, Turkish State opera and Opera Queensland.

She was accompanied by Monica Cichon (violin), Aleksandar Zivkovic (cello) and Eugenie Tamplon (piano).  Each artist has a formidable list of qualifications and performance credits.

Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger.  His work revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music.  A virtuoso bandoneonist, he regularly performed his own compositions with a variety of ensembles.  He was 71 when he died in 1992.

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