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  • Helen Gramotnev


It is always such a pleasure to hear the combination of voice and piano, especially in a live, intimate setting of a studio concert. A Poet’s Love — a collaboration between Opera Queensland and Brisbane Music Festival — is a chance to unwind and indulge in some beautiful melodies. Sarah Crane (soprano), Shaun Brown (baritone), and Alex Raineri (piano) bring three voices that blend and intertwine to create one shimmering colour.

What a beautiful way to begin the concert with Franz Schubert’s Städchen (Serenade) — a piece familiar to many listeners, and delightfully arranged for piano and two voices by Opera Queensland’s very own Narelle French. The inclusion of Franz Liszt’s piano arrangement of Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) is a chance for Raineri to impress with his pianism, providing a refreshing interlude between the vocal pieces.

Sarah Crane’s polished performance of Rückert-Lieder shows off the experience of this seasoned soprano. Originally written for voice and orchestra, this collection of five songs by Gustav Mahler captures the capricious nature of love through its demanding musical structures. Crane elegantly handles the contrasts in sound and mood that characterise Mahler’s music with a performance that shows maturity and class.

Shaun Brown’s rendition of Robert Schumann’s sixteen-part Dichterliebe is colourfully engaging as it journeys through the songs set to the poetry of Heinrich Heine. It follows the personal story of a poet-knight that travels through a fantasy land with his fairy bride by night, having to endure days without her. Brown’s powerful baritone takes us through the full range of human emotions, beginning in contemplative Romanticism, tackling the dramatic and the restless, the wistful and the inquisitive, fluttering through uplifting rhythms of waltz, and finally leaving the audience with a sense of renewed positivity and zest for life.

With such a thoroughly satisfying performance, I am looking forward to the renewed studio concert series for 2022, and further collaboration of Opera Queensland and Brisbane Music Festival.


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