To Barbra, With Love – Adelaide Symphony Orchestra's Hilary Bruer On Her Streisand Appreciation

'To Barbra, With Love' 'To Barbra, With Love' Image © Matt Loxton

Later this year, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will present two new musical projects – each honouring and celebrating figures of immense creativity and talent.


The first, 'Henry Lawson: A Life In Words & Music' (2 September) features songs drawn from the poetic words of one of the most important figures on the Australian literary landscape, Henry Lawson. Australian songwriter John Schumann, together with The Vagabond Crew and ASO, will bring this to life.

Then, as the year comes to a close, the orchestra is set to celebrate the 80th birthday of an icon of music, film and theatre – Barbra Streisand – in 'To Barbra, With Love'.

Under the baton of Vanessa Scammell, Broadway and West End star Caroline O'Connor and Australian singing sensation Katie Noonan will be joined by musical theatre stars Elise McCann and Ryan Gonzalez to perform songs including 'People', 'The Way We Were', 'Don't Rain On My Parade', 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers' and more.

Here, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra violinist Hilary Bruer – who has been with ASO since 1992 – chats about Barbra, and her involvement in the imagery for the upcoming performances.

What do you love about Barbra Streisand’s music?
I am a huge '70s fan. I love the way orchestral instruments are woven into the songs of that time. With regard to Barbra’s music, I just love the way she builds a song! She usually starts quite restrained, but then it opens out to something magnificent and she doesn’t hold back.

What’s your favourite Barbra Streisand song and why?
It’s hard to decide between 'Evergreen' and 'The Way We Were'! They are gorgeous songs to sing and also musically very interesting to me.



What are your top five?
One: 'Evergreen'.
Two: 'The Way We Were'
Three: 'Woman In Love'.
Four: 'Memory'.
Five: 'Guilty'.
These five songs really take me back to the feeling of freedom when I first learned to drive and I would have these songs playing on my in-car cassette tape player (quite loudly)!

What do you think of Harley's (Gray, double bass) inner channelling of Kris Kristofferson who won a Golden Globe Award in 1976’s 'A Star Is Born' alongside Barbra.
Harley was the perfect KK – ably assisted by his rather large sidekick – the bass! He really looked the part, too!

How did you feel vibing Babs?
It was great fun to play the part of Barbra – she is such a legend of song and it was a privilege to be able to channel her, having admired and loved her for so many years.

'To Barbra, With Love: An 80th Birthday Celebration' plays 2-3 December at the Festival Theatre (Adelaide).

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