On 14th July, City Recital Hall Angel Place will be transformed into a Parisian salon as some of Australia’s best-loved classical musicians celebrate France’s national day with La Rêvolution: A Bastille Day Concert. One of the most distinguished sopranos of her generation, Yvonne Kenny will showcase Parisian classical arias, chansons and delicious salon pieces alongside celebrated Australian flautist Jane Rutter, virtuoso accordéonist Marcello Maio and one of Australia’s most outstanding young baritones, Andrew Jones.
Find out more about the concert on 14 July & buy tix >>>
Jane Rutter talks about her life, music & the concert.
You have just recently returned from performances in Paris, can you tell us a little bit about your trip?
I try to split my time between Sydney and Paris. Both cities feel completely like home to me. As American/Parisian Josephine Baker (described as the first ‘black superstar’) said: ‘J’ai deux amours: mon pays et Paris’ (I have two loves my country and Paris). I echo those sentiments. This last trip to Pais was exciting. I gave four performances in Paris -three recitals of Baroque flute sonatas in the beautiful La Sainte Chapelle. I also played an exclusive concert for the launch of new Paris Perth leg of award-winning Airlines Etihad. This perfomance was at the Residence of the OECD Ambassdaor, in the Australian Embassy, Paris with the Eiffel Tower shining behind us. I am in the process of devising the Paris – Sydney Spring Festival so had meetings in Paris about that with my colleague Christopher Wride, and enlisted the support of former recent Australian Ambassador to France, Stephane Romatet, who is now advisor to the Premeire Ministre of France. An exciting project!
Throughout your career you have had an intimate relationship with France and French music. How has this influenced the program for La Rêvolution?
As a French Government Scholarship holder, under the tutelage of flute luminaries Jean-Pierre Rampal and Alain Marion, I spent some years in France gradually becoming- like so many other expatriates in this city- a native Parisian. I now feel at least half French! In this city one is immersed constantly in the history and its relevance to the arts. Every stone seems to drip literature, art, music, history and philosophy. In devising the programme, I wanted to convey the historical relationship that Paris has with the voice (and indeed vocally-inspired music)- a relationship indirectly & partially caused by the event of the French Revolution. Of course we required wonderful singers. Perfect Parisian Salon- style accompaniment on the form of piano and harp, cello. The accordion is there for it’s brilliance and it’s French-gypsy -street flavour. For the programme, I had a very long short list (biensur: there are so many beautiful French pieces!) Then -after much collaboration with my wonderful colleagues especially Yvonne Kenny and Vincent Colagiuri – I gradually narrowed it down to a program that is musically compelling, that has charm and which conveys the essence of French music: elegance, sensuality, insouciance and the special very Parisian qualities of cultured defiance, and manicured violence and passion! Janet Flanner, Parisian correspondent for the New Yorker for several decades, said:
‘Paris is the city of Revolution in deed and thought‘
…many of the pieces in the programme were considered revolutionary/ ground breaking in their time.
You will be sharing the stage with other classical superstars, Yvonne Kenny, Andrew Jones and Marcello Maio. How did you decide on this particular combination?
Yvonne Kenny is a national treasure and a spectacularly brilliant musician as well as a superb vocal star. Her ability to perform both French art song and French operatic arias made her a perfect choice for this repertoire. I’m thrilled that Yvonne will be flying in specially for this concert. Andrew Jones is a new operatic sensation who brings the thrill of a superblyrich bass baritone to Bizet’s two big operatic Arias ‘A Votre Toast‘ from Carmen (The Torreador Song) and ‘O Nadir’ from The Pearl Fishers, as well as Faure and Ravel Art songs. The French RevoIution was about equality between the classes, so in this concert I wanted to include not just high art forms, but other aspects of French music, from all facets of society. Marcello Maio was the obvious choice to perform the beautiful and virtuosic accordion street playing that you often hear in Paris.
I understand you sometimes play on a rather special French flute, a Louis Lot. Will you be using this in the performance?
Louis Lot flutes are considered to be the Stradivarius of the flute world- yes I will begin the concert playing Les Folies d’Espagne (Marain Marais) on my Louis Lot 1878 handmade gold and silver flute. The flute has an earlier French ebony head-joint from the Baroque period, which I’ll be using.
What are you looking forward to most about this concert?
It’s always a treat to be immersed in the beauty of French music, which has a particular narrative, both melodic and harmonic. This relates back to the French affiliation for vocally-inspired music… And of course playing with an unusual ensemble of magnificent opera singers and superb musicians is a thrill. It’s an interesting one-off combination – a dream vocal and chamber music ensemble.
What comes next?
I have more performances in France later in the year; have just release a new album of improvisations called Flute Spirit: Dreams and Improvisations (ABC Classics) which features many of the ethnic flutes I have collected over the years, as well as my classical flutes: a world-music album that draws from my French heritage in terms of the musical narrative- its inherent in French style flute playing; My concert series Live at Lunch at The Concourse, Chatswood continues throughout the year; I plan to finish my environmentally-focussed children’s’ book (about saving the oceans from disposable plastic), and have begun two new albums: The Great American Songbook with chanteuse extraordinaire, Janis Siegel (multi -Grammy winner from the vocal group The Manhattan Transfer) and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (based on the arrangements of my French flute teacher and (perhaps) greatest ever flute soloist, Jean- Pierre Rampal).
Find out more about the La Revolution: A Bastille Day Concert on 14 July at City Recital Hall & buy tix >>>