Music Review: Victoria Chorale


Review of Victoria Chorale’s Haydn, Brahms, and Conyngham Concert 

Conductor: Dr Mario Dobernig. Soloists: Amy Moore (Soprano), Sally-Anne Russell (Mezzo-Soprano), Robert MacFarlane (Tenor), and Christopher Tonkin (Baritone).

Victoria Chorale’s concerts always manage to deliver an emotional punch that is sure to attract new audiences to classical repertoire, adding yet another notch to Melbourne’s status as Australia’s music capital.

Under the guidance of Austrian-born Maestro, Dr Mario Dobernig, Victoria Chorale’s concerts have grown in ambition and size and are now at home on the world stage. This season’s Haydn, Brahms, and Conyngham Concert was no exception with four of Australia’s most internationally accomplished opera singers combining to produce an emotional and ultimately redemptive tour de force.

Progressing from the sparse, spare opening of Barry Conyngham’s Dawning, through the dark, wandering solitude of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, and concluding with a joyous rendition of Haydn’s Nelson Mass, the programme embodied both despair and hope, which music of all the arts is most adept at eliciting.

Sally-Anne Russell’s exquisite rendition of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody proved to be an apt transition point for the programme. Accompanied by the male members of Victoria Chorale’s choir, her soulful performance provided just a glimpse of turmoil’s nadir.

The Nelson Mass, originally written as a mass for troubled times at a time when Austria feared the onslaught of Napoleon, was a poetically appropriate choice for the programme’s second half, combining the grumbling reticence and fear of troubled times, not unlike our own, and the optimism and joy that we need to overcome them. The soloists also combined particularly well in the Nelson Mass, showcasing Australia’s potential to produce and nurture home-grown musical talent.

Under Mario Dobernig’s creative and intelligent direction, Victoria Chorale has yet again breathed new life into classical performance and is sure to continue to attract new and old audiences alike.

Whether you are visiting Melbourne from overseas or are local to the city, a night out with Victoria Chorale is sure to be a rewarding alternative to a visit to the bigger and less intimate musical events the city has to offer.

For more information on Victoria Chorale’s 2019 programme visit or search for them on Facebook.