Review: AVÉ (Australian Vocal Ensemble) @ Adelaide Fringe

  • Written by  Jason Leigh
  • Friday, 04 March 2022 16:39
Australian Vocal Ensemble played Adelaide Fringe 26 February, 2022. Australian Vocal Ensemble played Adelaide Fringe 26 February, 2022.

Former Adelaide Fringe ambassador Katie Noonan has returned with her newest endeavour, Australian Vocal Ensemble or simply AVÉ.

This is a collaboration not only with some of the finest classical voices, but with Australian composers to celebrate our antipodean identity and culture.

Staged at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights Spiegeltent as part of Adelaide Fringe (26 February), Katie tells us these are her favourite singers (mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell, bass baritone Andrew O'Connor and tenor Andrew Goodwin) with which she performs "new stuff and ancient works" and we are treated to an abridged Adelaide premiere of their repertoire (the full version of the show was to be performed at UKARIA the following day).

The 'new' were pieces commissioned with each of the composers creating music set to David Malouf's poems while the 'ancient works' consisted of pieces from the classical canon such as Handel's 'Tu Del Ciel' arranged by Andrew Goodwin for himself as a tenor and Bach's 'Church Cantatas BWW 115 Choral 'Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn' – updated and translated into Indigenous languages Gubbi Gubbi, Noongar and Gadrigal.

Among the a capella, choral and occasionally kinetic vocal exercises (the antithesis of the proliferation of Auto-Tune) each performer takes turns in introducing the material.

Fiona Campbell notes that with just four voices there is nowhere to hide while Andrew O'Connor comments on the harmony of the stained-glass windows decorating the Spiegeltent within which this spiritual music is beautifully performed.

The set concludes appropriately with Goodwin's lockdown composition and vocal arrangement 'Peace I Leave With You' from John 14:27, the verse originally used at his father's funeral.



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