Last year at Buxton International Festival I was asked to perform the part of Narrator in Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns. It's not the kind of thing I had done before but I really love script work and so I thought I'd give it a go. I really enjoyed it and thought it was definitely something I'd like to do more of.
On my visit to Perth this year I was introduced to a very talented and creative conductor called Jen Winley. She had just launched a new chamber orchestra in Perth called Banksia Ensemble and their next project was The Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky along with music written by his under-represented contemporaries. I was delighted when she invited me to join them in singing some songs by Rebecca Clarke and also take on the role of Narrator (all characters) in The Soldier's Tale. As the Soldier would say... "Why not!?"
Enter the Devil, portrayed deliciously by Sicari...
- David Cusworth, The West
pc: Bethany Tippett
Sicari next presented three songs by Rebecca Clarke, using words by WB Yeats. Emerald-clad, her timeless voice pitched somewhere between colour and bright tone; effortless in expression and diction, and delicate in the cadence for Down by the Salley Gardens.
- David Cusworth, The West
When I was in my final year at WAAPA, I saw Julia Moody perform The Soldier's Tale in the Music Auditorium as all of the characters. I was very inspired. She was fantastic. Her character work and story telling was incredible. When Jen asked me to be part of this I just knew I had to contact Julia for her advice. I'm so glad I did. I left my session feeling encouraged and full of imagination. I had a lot of work to do to make sure each of my characters had journeys that I could portray clearly and specifically.
...they were performed with poise by soprano Daniella Sicari (a graduate from the WA Academy of Performing Arts and Royal Northern College of Music) whose attractive voice (and a fleeting glimpse at her luxuriously rich top end) left me wanting more. The multi-talented Sicari took on the role of narrator for The Soldier’s Tale, her skilful accents and mannerisms leaving no doubt as to the personalities and foibles of each of the three characters.
- Rosalind Appleby, Seesaw
The first step was: Who are my characters and who is saying what?! Ok, seven characters... How many highlighters do I have? Then I got back into my old Music History notes and books from my WAAPA days. I looked up studies, watched online lectures and got myself into Stravinsky's world to connect to the music with more understanding. I loved working on this piece and I cannot wait to do it again one day. I've started looking at other Narrator pieces as well such as Peter and the Wolf... if you have any suggestions of others that I should listen to, please share!
- DS. xx