Arts / Greta carefully picks her heroes

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Soprano Greta Bradman… “Because of my family, I don't put much store in icons.”
Soprano Greta Bradman… “Because of my family, I don’t put much store in icons.”

AUSTRALIAN soprano Greta Bradman is coming to town soon with a concert called “My Hero”, but it’s not an expression she particularly likes.

Yes, of course, she’s the granddaughter of our most famous cricketer, the late Sir Donald Bradman, but it’s a mixed blessing to have someone that famous behind you.

She publicly acknowledges conductor Richard Bonynge as a “hero”, and the wellbeing psychologist Dr Jo Mitchell, too, but tells “CityNews” by phone from the Brisbane Baroque Festival: “Because of my family I don’t put much store in icons.

“My definition of a hero is someone who has inspired me to be a better version of myself, especially my dear old dad, he is such an incredible father and an amazing man.”

She was in Brisbane after celebrating conductor Zubin Mehta’s 80th birthday in Los Angeles.

“My Hero”, from Oscar Straus’ operetta “The Chocolate Soldier”, opens the program and gave the title to her debut album, recorded for Decca in just 16 hours last year with Bonynge and the English Chamber Orchestra.

She was last in Canberra during 2013, performing in Tobias Cole’s production of Handel’s “Theodora”.

On April 29 she’ll be singing with pianist/organist Rhys Boak in All Saints’ Church, Ainslie, as part of a 19-concert regional tour.

Though always musical, she married her devoted husband Didier as a teenager, started a family (she is mother to children aged six and eight) and started a Ph.D. in psychology, but resumed her musical training in 2010.

Initially better known for lieder, oratorio and song, Bradman says she has come “almost full circle”.

“When I was at the Con I was in a lot of opera, but when doing my PhD, I didn’t have time for operatic rehearsal schedules,” she says.

Since 2012 she’s returned to opera and is, she says, “now pacing that road”. As the 2013-14 winner of the Australian International Opera Award, in late 2013 she moved to Cardiff, Wales, where she undertook further training at the Wales International Academy of Voice with tenor Dennis O’Neill.

There, during a life-changing, 45-minute coaching session, she met Richard Bonynge.

“I knew that if anyone could diagnose my voice, it would be Richard… I’m incredibly grateful to him,” she says.

Bradman has already dropped in on All Saints’ Church in Ainslie and says that, as a great admirer of beautiful Anglican churches and cathedrals, she can’t wait to sing there.

“The concert will have some Verdi and Bellini,” she says.

“But we have to consider that, with a regional tour, some people might like the idea of a beautiful concert that takes them back in time and some may be experiencing classical music for the first time.”

With that in mind she’ll also perform a few little songs that tug at the heartstrings, such as “I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls” and “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

“That one has a special meaning for me,” Bradman says.

“I used to sing it with my grandpa.”

Greta Bradman “My Hero”, All Saints’ Anglican Church, Ainslie, 7pm, Friday, April 29, 7pm, bookings to oztix.com.au

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Helen Musa
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