Greta Bradman, soprano recital at St Jude’s Church, Bowral Sunday 1/5/16
This was a welcomed return of the Bradman name and talents to Bowral in an auspicious program of some of the most challenging operatic repertoire with piano and organ bonus items from accompanist Rhys Boak. We also had some lighter works: Edelweiss, When you Wish upon a Star, It is Always a Rainbow Day (by the Don) and My Hero from The Chocolate Soldier by Oscar Straus.
I would have been satisfied with just one of the following: Casta diva from Norma (with cabaletta); Caro nome from Rigoletto; D’amor sull’ali rosee (without cabaletta) from Il Trovatore; Queen of Night’s second act aria; I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls, Il est doux, il est bon (Herodiade). But we got the lot in a single long bracket of glorious vocalism.
Ms Bradman spoke about each work, placing it in context. She seemed relaxed and comfortable with the audience and her accompanist, giving some local anecdotes and expressing her gratitude at the support she has been given.
Ms Bradman has a beautiful and well trained voice, reaching from a low to high register with ease and an even timbre throughout the octaves. Her breath control is well schooled and her tempi well chosen. She has a fine natural sounding extended trill and other ornaments. The low range is full chested while frequent high notes in the Mozart were accurate and full volume. At times there was a steeliness to the voice which regularly gave way to her natural warm velvet tone.
I measure singers by my own degree of goose flesh and there was plenty on this Autumn Sunday afternoon. I just got the first thrill reading the program which contained some of my all-time favourite pieces (Casta diva was second on the long list).
The church was full but it still suffers from the Anglican problem of single doors and takes half an hour or more to fill or empty. I think it is a product of the vicars of old wanting to shake the hand of every single congregant so none could by-pass the official party. The new section (also entered by a single narrow doorway) is very comfortable where drinks were served and Ms Bradman mingled with the hoi polloi. She looked beautiful in a long silky dress with fallen shoulder straps.
I felt privileged to be hearing this new talent on the scene and hope that one day we may hear her on the stage in a full opera. She seems to have all the necessary attributes vocally, yet an opera singer needs much more in what must be one of the most difficult careers.
We were told by the Rector that this Friday famous pianist Katherine Selby is having a concert with ‘cello - http://www.stjudesmusicassociation.com/ Highly recommended.
Notes by Andrew Byrne .. http://andrewsopera.blogspot.com.au/