Open Letter From Guest Soprano Jane Sheldon: English Baroque With Circa

'English Baroque With Circa' 'English Baroque With Circa'

The stage will come alive with a collaboration between Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Brisbane contemporary circus ensemble, Circa.


In this Helpmann Award-winning partnership, 'English Baroque With Circa' will be part of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

Here, guest soprano Jane Sheldon pens an open letter about the show.

“I first met Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Artistic Director Paul Dyer when I was a teenager, in the very early 2000s. I was a supremely lucky young musician in that I had a number of mentors and supportive colleagues who gave me opportunities to share the stage with really terrific players and learn from them. Paul was one such person. A few years later I left Australia to study in the UK and then to live in the USA, where I was based for about ten years. But since that first meeting with Paul, I've enjoyed repeat collaborations with the Brandenburg. 2019 is the Brandenburg’s 30th anniversary year and they're marking the occasion by creating programmes that celebrate long associations. For these upcoming concerts, Paul has paired me with one of Australia’s best contemporary circus groups Circa, who've also presented shows with the orchestra in the past, in 'English Baroque With Circa'.

It's a clever pairing. The specialty I've carved out for myself as a performer is working with composers and directors to create new, avant garde chamber music. In Australia, a lot of that work is undertaken with Sydney Chamber Opera, where I'm an artistic associate. With that company I've become very used to exploring the boundaries of the operatic form and developing innovative stagings in close collaboration with other artists. Circa, too, are avant garde theatre makers, extending the boundaries of their form. Paul was right to think we would share a language and it's been great to get to know the Circa tribe. Another treat is to return to Baroque music, which is lovely to sing but it's been nudged out of my schedule in recent years by contemporary music.

But the greatest pleasure of putting this show together is to see the Circa acrobats performing. They are superb athletes and it's beautiful to watch them tumbling expertly through space. More and more I find myself deeply moved by the skill of other artists, and the main challenge in this performance is not to find myself too carried away by all the moments of physical strength and grace. I've got my own job to do! But audiences of 'English Baroque' will get to soak it all up – the extremely intricate, wordless communication that goes on among the acrobats and among the musicians. Feeling everyone breathing together and thinking together... It's a particularly vivid way to experience music and movement and it's one of my favourite things about chamber performance.”


'English Baroque With Circa' plays City Recital Hall (Sydney) 8-17 May, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (Melbourne) 18-19 May, and Queensland Performing Arts Centre 21 May.

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