Beautiful vocal music coming to Daylesford

June 7th, 2023Beautiful vocal music coming to Daylesford

Renowned opera singer and director Christine Douglas may have had a distinguished career, and continues to do so, but she remains down to earth when it comes to describing her passion.

Words: Donna Kelly

Renowned opera singer and director Christine Douglas may have had a distinguished career, and continues to do so, but she remains down to earth when it comes to describing her passion.
The flyer says Christine Douglas & her Studio Singers, accompanied by Adam Przewlocki, will perform a feast of song from Purcell to Puccini on Saturday, June 24 at Christ Church, Daylesford.
Christine says she has “a bunch of really interesting singers” and she “thought it was a good time to bring some beautiful vocal music to Daylesford”.
The musical feast will include a big range from Purcell, to Puccini, to some very comic Rossini, she says. “It’s music that people would know, a lot of highlights, and everyone is going to recognise these pieces. They are not highly esoteric, they are melodies that people are familiar with.”
The Studio Singers are people the Daylesford resident is currently teaching – some close to starting careers, others just singing opera for the love of it. They range from in age from 22 to 45 and hold down a variety of full-time careers or are studying, but are committed to juggling their time, and Christine’s, to learn their craft.
“Lots of people want to sing when they are growing up but they become accountants, or whatever seems to be the most practical thing. It’s all about money. It is very hard to support yourself as a young singer. I did a lot of waitressing, working in department stores, trying to pay bills to become a singer.
“And many of these people have gone and worked in these regular jobs and done singing on the side, but are now really starting to prioritise their singing. And you have to be quite brave to do that, but they are saying at 27 or 40, ‘I am going to pursue this’ because if not now, when?
“And one of the singers came to me thinking she could maybe just muck around with a few songs but has developed into the most wonderful singer and I have just suggested that she applies to Opera Australia’s chorus – it’s been quite a journey.”
“And, of course, sometimes, no matter how good the voice is, if the ear is not sufficiently trained it is extremely hard to get that voice right.
“Especially if someone comes to you in their 30s – we have to lay down a pathway in the brain for any skill we want to have and the older you are, the trickier it is. But some others have a wonderful talent and if they are determined, they will get there.”
Christine said some people looked at opera as highbrow and “it probably is”.
“The difficulty with opera is that it was invented in Italy so Italian in the core language and for people to learn to sing in a classical way they do have to approach the Italian language to some extent to get the vowel sounds right.”
With audiences, such as at Christ Church, Christine is also the compere and will be explaining to people what they are about to hear “to demystify the pieces”.
Christine’s own move into opera came from being born into a theatrical family with a well-known singer as a father and a dancer mother. Christine tried singing a variety of genres but everything sounded operatic. “It is just my voice.”
She trained at the Victorian College of the Arts with Dame Joan Hammond and has since sung opera all over Australia in leading roles. She also started a young artists’ program in Sydney and moved into directing.
The move to Daylesford after decades in Sydney came in 2020, renting and then buying. She and her husband have two groodles, walk them every day around Lake Daylesford and have found their tribe. “It was the best move of our lives moving here. We love it. I just can’t tell you how many wonderful people we have met.”
A Glenlyon local also got Christine back into singing. “Jenny Jordan got me to sing at the Bastille Day celebrations at the Daylesford Town Hall last July. I had been
focusing on teaching and she said ‘you need to sing’ and got me a special arrangement with the brass band. It was great and I thought, I am going to start singing again!”
The June 24 concert is the first of six concerts at Christ Church
Links: Christ Church Concerts Facebook or www.trybooking.com/events/

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