Brisbane chamber music ensemble, Southern Cross Soloist’s final event in the 2021 QPAC Concert Series, Heavenly Life, will star internationally acclaimed Australian soprano soloist Alexandra Flood and celebrated Russian-born pianist Konstantin Shamray, in a program of vocal splendor and virtuosic brilliance.
Making her professional debut in the 2014 Salzburg Festival, Alexandra has since graced opera and concert stages in leading roles the world over.
Based in Europe, Alexandra is currently enjoying being in Queensland, where her performance schedule includes reuniting with the SXS after her debut as a guest artist in 2015.
SXS’s Artistic Director and oboe player, Tania Frazer shares the back story of how fate played a part in the young star’s first performance with SXS.
“Alexandra actually first came to us as a replacement for an artist who had to pull out at the last minute, and her agent recommended a very young ‘up and coming’ soprano.
“I still remember the exact phone call as the agent was telling me about this young coloratura soprano who had just had the opportunity to perform at the Salzburg Festival and her performance had been a great success," says Tania.
“So, I said that I would give Alexandra a go, even though I’d never heard her sing and we were just astounded by her voice. It was simply stunning, like the voice of an angel–just effortlessly beautiful.
"Since then, Alexandra has been one of our favourite singers and guest artists."
We're thrilled to welcome Alexandra back to QPAC for Heavenly Life. As this concert takes its name from the libretto of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, which offers a depiction of life in heaven, we thought it would be interesting to know what music is 'heavenly' to a talented young soprano.
Here's Alexandra's playlist of songs and why they make her top ten.
Dvořák–Symphony No. 9, From the New World (Berlin Phil recording with Karajan conducting in 1966)
This is one of my favourite orchestral works. I listen to it to get pumped up, when I really want to rock out.
Beethoven–Piano Trio in E-flat major - (must of course be Barenboim, du Pré and Zukerman in 1989!)
I find this music so essentially beautiful. It feels like listening to a perfectly symmetrical math equation. I find it cleansing for my mind.
Mozart–Dalla sua pace - Ottavio aria from Don Giovanni
This aria absolutely strikes at my heart. The vocal line is so bel canto it’s almost hard to believe it was written in 1787. I particularly love Pavarotti’s recording.
Copland–Fanfare for the Common Man
This is my favourite piece to listen to when I’m on a plane that’s just beginning to take off. It’s a work full of promise and excitement. So epic!
Richard Strauss–Freundliche Vision Op.48 No.1
When it comes to writing for the soprano voice, Strauss is up there with Verdi. Just a genius understanding of the instrument and how to optimise its expressive potential. This particular song is uplifting and devastating at the same time. I could listen to it in any circumstance.
Donizetti–Regnava nel silenzio - Lucia's aria from Lucia di Lammermoor (specifically Lisette Oropesa’s recording)
I listen to this when I want to hear truly jaw dropping singing. Lisette Oropesa is the leading interpreter of the Bel canto divas in the world right now, and her Lucia is remarkable.
Phoebe Bridgers–Motion Sickness
I started getting into Phoebe Bridgers during lock down and listened to this album on repeat for weeks. The combination of moody, cutting lyrics and folky guitar tunes make for a deeply modern art song experience.
boygenius–Me & My Dog
boygenius is a very modest indie rock super group featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. The group was formed as a political statement to subvert the concept of ‘women in rock’ as some kind of subgenre. This resonates with me a lot. With Me & My Dog they tap into a melancholic nostalgia, childlike fascination and sexual awakening.
The Rolling Stones–Sympathy for the Devil
I love to listen to the Stones before gigs. This work could also be called 'Symphony for the Devil' an epic saga and stinging commentary on the human capacity for evil. Plus it rocks!
Ashnikko is a queer, sex-positive, genre-bending feminist rapper speaking truth to power with her graphic storytelling and subversion of problematic gender identity tropes. Her lyrics are confronting and empowering and perfect for a pre-concert pump up! (Warning: Extremely strong language!)
Have a listen to Alexandra picks below:
We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors of this land, their spirits and their legacy. The foundations laid by these ancestors - our First Nations Peoples - gives strength, inspiration and courage to current and future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, towards creating a better Queensland. Queensland Government’s RAP Acknowledgment of Country