An almost sacred triumvirate of voice, piano and a heritage building are combined when soprano Allegra Giagu joins her childhood friend and performing partner, ARIA award winning pianist, Sally Whitwell, in a recital in early February.
The recital is to be in Wollombi near Sydney and its proceeds will go towards the restoration of St John’s Anglican Church in Wollombi, an Edmund Blacket designed building from 1846.
Allegra Giagu and Sally Whitwell became friends nearly 15 years ago when they were singing and playing for the Sydney Children’s choir and Gondwana Voices. Giagu moved to London in her late teens to continue her studies in voice; Whitwell continued her work and developed into a solo pianist, accompanist, repetiteur, conductor and composer. They remained friends and now present their first ever recital together, showcasing their love of opera, piano music and even some cabaret.
St John’s Church in Wollombi is considered to be one of the best examples of Sir Edmund Blacket’s expertise in smaller buildings. Blacket was a specialist in ecclesiastical buildings modelled on the Gothic styles of Europe. Sydney’s Christ Church St Lawrence, St Andrew’s, St Philip’s and St Mark’s Darling Point are all projects in which he was involved. Blacket was known as “The Wren of Sydney” and was the official “Colonial Architect to New South Wales”.
His legacy is well worth saving and it’s a cause that Allegra Giagu and Sally Whitwell have chosen to support.
Young Australian-born soprano, Allegra Giagu, gave her Sydney Opera House debut at the age of eleven. Since this early start, she has performed as a soloist with respected conductors, directors and ensembles throughout the UK, Europe and Australasia. Highlights of her still early career include performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, The Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme for the Aldeburgh Festival, and the Massed Pipes and Drums of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Salute to Australia at Aussie Stadium. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Music, Allegra continues to tour internationally during 2012/13, combining chamber and solo recitals with a
return to the Sydney Opera House, a scholarship to attend master courses in Vienna, and her debut in London’s West End as the Principal Soprano for the Ilythian Ensemble in Australian composer, Chloe Charody’s much lauded circus opera The Carnival. Allegra will also appear on soundtrack and screen, in the new film adaptation of Anna Karenina, directed by, Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Hanna), with music composed by Academy Award winner, Dario Marianelli (Atonement).
Sally Whitwell’s talent has always been evident to those who have worked with her. But last year she came into her own when Mad Rush, her CD of the solo piano works of Philip Glass defied all expectations rocketing through the charts and earning her the 2011 ARIA Fine Arts Award for Best Classical Album.
“Intense, highly charged and technically assured …[Whitwell] goes beyond mere notational accuracy to breathe life and shape into the music”–
The Weekend Australian
She will soon release her second solo CD The Good, the Bad and the Awkward centred around Yann Tiersen’s piano suite from the film Amélie. Sally has also appeared on numerous other recordings for ABC Classics.
Sally’s repertoire is eclectic, ranging from chamber music to cabaret. Her compositions have been performed by the Gondwana Voices, Sydney Children’s Choir, the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Moorambilla Voices, Polyphony and Rachel Scott and friends in the popular Bach in the Dark concert series.
Most recently Sally provided arrangements for The Cho!r directed by Jonathon Welch, in their Sing for a Cure concerts raising much needed funds for cancer research. In 2012, Sally will provide arrangements and co-conduct the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers in Beatles
Unplugged, a choral salute to the fab four with co-conductor nad composer Dan Walker and iOTA.
TICKETS: $45 – LAGUNA TRADING POST & WOLLOMBI GENERAL STORE – (02) 4998 3230.
Includes drinks and canapes at interval.