Review / Multi-sensory portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots

Share Canberra's trusted news:
Louise Keast, left, and Shikara Ringdahl in “A Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots” at Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Photo by Peter Hislop

“A Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots” is Revival House Project’s latest presentation in which art song is combined with visual art to produce a multi-sensory event.

Sopranos Louise Keast and Shikara Ringdahl presented a well-chosen cycle of songs about the tragic life of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Some are well-known, such as arias from the opera “Maria Stuarda” by Donizetti, songs by Schumann including “Gebert” (Prayer) and “Ave Maria” by Schubert in an arrangement for violin and piano by Hans Sitt.

There was also a memorable selection from a lesser-known song cycle about Mary Stuart by German composer, Joachim Raff, and “Adieux de Marie Stuart” set by Richard Wagner.

Both singers gave fine performances of these works and the combination of their voices in the duets was especially appealing.

Pianist Ella Luhtasaari accompanied the singing with skill and passion. Helena Popovic, accompanying on violin, also gave a fine performance of Elgar’s “Salut d’Amour”.

The spectacularly beautiful white costumes in Tudor style were designed by Hue MacCulloch. Visual artist Shags projected live drawings on to the dresses and surroundings to create an additional visual dimension to the production.

It appeared that the general stage lighting needed to be lower than normal for the visual effects to be shown to best effect. The projected abstract drawing did not have any discernible form or connection to the subject matter or the music. The performers’ faces were often obscured by the darker colours and the constant shape-changing of the drawing was distracting. It was a worthwhile experiment, but the process needs more refinement and thought.

The finale of the concert, the prayer scene from Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda”, was thrillingly performed by both sopranos with the addition of a nine-voice chorus. This was the highlight of a great evening of song combined with unique visual art.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleMoore / Zed and the plotters will be back
Next articleWelsh / Nothing like a leadership spill to boost the ratings

Leave a Reply