Making marvellous memories for the audience, Australian soprano Mirusia, diva divine, performed a simply superb concert at the Whitehouse Centre, Melbourne on Saturday night 16th September 2017, singing songs with love From the Heart.
Mirusia, with the voice of an angel, guided her enthusiastic audience on a wondrous musical journey showcasing her vocal agility, flexibility and fine art of ornamentation.
She was admirably supported by her Musical Director Graeme Press on the grand piano and a group of consummate musicians and singers; on Violin Daniel Lopez, on Cello Eleanor Streatfeild, on Bass David Groves, Percussion Luke Thatcher and Guitar Rose Gonzales, with Bass Baritone Nick Barter, Countertenor Zachary Street and Soprano Shannon Robinson, who all contributed to the success of the evening.
A virtuosic vocalist Mirusia is known to her fans around the world as a classical crossover artist. She has toured extensively both nationally in Australia and internationally and is renowned for delivering excellence in both grand and intimate arenas.
The biggest surprise of the night, not for the audience, but for Mirusia happened when a small fanfare by Graeme Press announced the arrival on stage of Russell Rylance OAM who has through his company Star Billing, worked to assist Mirusia with her career over many years.
Mirusia sings in six different languages on Always & Forever (English, German, Latin, French, Italian, Norwegian). The album presents a story in fourteen songs, telling the story about the musical experiences she has enjoyed on stage and in the studio with André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra.
The youngest winner ever of the Dame Joan Sutherland Award Australian born Mirusia Louwerse whose parents are of Dutch heritage, is acclaimed wherever she goes singing songs both sacred and secular, including glorious opera arias and those considered popular classics, such as the always uplifting Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye).
On stage on this very special night Mirusia exhibited the warm wonderful glow pregnant women often have, as she and her husband Youri Wystyrk, await the birth of their first baby in December 2017. He was there supporting her every step of the way.
Mirusia eloquently presented a superb array of songs from her new album From the Heart and she sang some very extra special numbers that revealed not only the advantages of her classical training, but also her incredible range.
I couldn’t but help but think how the Head of Opera from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where she studied, Greg Massingham, would have been pleased to hear how far she’s come from the good foundation he helped provide.
Having heard Mirusia sing from that time to this, I must admit to loving how her voice has seemingly only recently gained a whole new wondrous depth, while producing sublime notes of such spine tingling clarity they could only be described as being at the pinnacle of perfection.
Her voice was as bounteous as ever and bright with crystal clear clarity on her highest notes.
Then there was what I could only describe as all new colours, which have been added to the multiple layers of wonderfully warm, richly rounded tones that ring out with such breathtaking resonance.
The change must surely be related to her now carrying new life.
Her top notes are truly magical, the sort of notes that linger long in the deepest part of your soul.
They reminded me of a description Mozart wrote in one of his letters. ‘You feel the trembling–the faltering –you…. hear the whispering and the sighing’.
Her singing is about the beauty of life presented in sound, but with such sublime restraint you ache with the wonder of it all.
There were plenty of fine songs in the repertoire for this concert plus some very special favourites and she completely beguiled the audience.
Mirusia started with the signature tune from the album From the Heart and in the first half sang Ave Maria with very special feeling for the grandmother she lost as she found the joy of expecting a baby.
It was all about the pain and pleasures attached to the cycle of living a loving life.
Her ‘This Time Tomorrow’ was delightfully upbeat, and her Besame Mucho full of spirit and warmth, ensuring everyone felt as if they ‘Could have Danced all Night’ too. Her Already Home from the Wizard of Oz was a surprise delight, as was her painting pictures in sound with all the ‘Colours of the Wind’.
There were so many very special treats… it was better than being in a candy shop…an interlude with Rose Gonzales, a marvellous guitarist from Chile, plus percussionist Luke Thatcher playing a Cajon, a box shaped instrument from Peru. Yet another was Mirusia singing with her musical director Graeme Press… all poignant moments.
Another was when virtuoso violinist Dan Lopez (freelance Queensland Symphony and Queensland Chamber Orchestra) performed a beautiful solo, a wondrous work composed by Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden from their album of the same name.
The true highlight for me was totally unexpected. Mirusia singing the Flower Duet from the opera Lakme with the twenty-year old soprano from Brisbane, Shannon Robinson.
This is an opera aria I know very well, although only rarely have I heard it sung with such spine tingling breathtaking beauty. A dynamic duo they basically rendered everyone totally speechless as they finished, well at least for a moment, and then the rolling adulation began.
Mirusia and her musicians all provided a splendid atmosphere wherein calm can prevail in our busy world. My two companions on the night were bowled over by her generosity of spirit, singing so many wonderful songs in concert.
They greatly admired her ability to met morph from one genre to another and my car was full of chatter the whole way home.
Despite the late hour, I was basically too excited to sleep until I worked through what I had experienced in my mind.
How privileged I felt to have been there.
Singing today means leading an adventurous life for Mirusia and her family and she will have a break after her baby has been born, at least until April next year.
Then she will again travel this concert to other parts of Australia so do yourself a favour. Book NOW!
After that she will recommence her travels abroad, taking her baby along on her first adventure in style all set to the sounds of glorious music.
It will be a do re mi moment for sure.
Mirusia’s passionate fans line up in droves for ages after every concert to purchase her albums and have them signed. It’s a very Aussie thing to do, an opportunity to get up close and personal with the artist they most admire.
“Isn’t she amazing” said one woman to me in the foyer after the concert… “We have all her albums and her singing lights up our life” she said with a smile while she waited patiently on the queue, her new CD clutched firmly in hand. All around the people waiting in line agreed.
They were all great fans of Mirusia enjoying a wonderful night out and there is no doubt in my mind they left feeling as we did, and as her marvellous musical director so confidently promises, enriched, enchanted and completely entertained by the whole experience.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014
1. Mirusia – From The Heart
2. Mirusia – Journey
3. Mirusia – Besame Mucho
4. Mirusia – Within My Heart
5. Mirusia – You Are So Beautiful
6. Mirusia with Lachlan Gillespie (The Wiggles) – Love Is A Gift
7. Mirusia – La Vergine Degli Angeli
8. Mirusia – Unusual Way
9. Mirusia with Carmen Monarcha – You Raise Me Up
10. Mirusia – I Could Have Danced All Night
11. Mirusia – He Was Beautiful
12. Mirusia – Memory
13. Mirusia – Softly as I Leave You