Brisbane Chorale Set to Perform Joseph Haydn’s Oratorio ‘The Creation’

After recently sharing the stage with world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli, the Brisbane Chorale is all set for another epic performance at the Brisbane City Hall, presenting Franz Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece ‘The Creation’ together with the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir and the Sinfonia of St Andrew’s this November.

Formed in 1983, the Brisbane Chorale has earned for itself a reputation for excellence in choral performance. Performing with the great Andrea Bocelli, his children (son Matteo and 10-year-old daughter Virginia) and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra was a magical choir experience for the nearly four-decade-old symphonic choir.  Asked about their experience at the Bocelli concert that wowed 13,000 enthusiastic fans at Boondall Entertainment Centre, Music Director Emily Cox AM said that there was plenty of behind-the-scenes excitement.

“Once our involvement in the performance was fully confirmed, we’ve been preparing the Bocelli pieces whilst simultaneously working on our August performances of ‘Mahler 3’ with Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra and our two September concerts of ‘Stabat Mater’ with Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, not to mention The Creation,” she said.

Music Director Emily Cox AM
Music Director Emily Cox AM | Photo credit:  Supplied

“As you can imagine with a project the size of the Bocelli concert, there were lots of logistics to sort out from how many people could physically fit into the space on stage to the repertoire we would be performing.”

But in the end, Emily said, that with the adaptability that’s become part of Chorale’s DNA since the start of the COVID era, the choir was able to handle all the complexities with grace and aplomb.

‘The Creation’ Featuring 3 Soloists

Emily is now putting the finishing touches on preparations for Brisbane Chorale and Oriana Choir’s joint performances of Joseph Haydn’s marvellous oratorio “The Creation.” Their upcoming project is a musical partnership between Brisbane Chorale and Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir, a first for the two choirs.

Brisbane Chorale will be performing with Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir, Sinfonia of St Andrew’s and their soloists Leanne Kenneally (soprano), Tobias Merz (tenor) and Jason Barry-Smith (bass).

There will be two performances, the first will be in Bokarina and the second will be in Brisbane at the Brisbane City Hall.

Why ‘The Creation’?

During Emily and Fay’s initial discussion regarding a joint performance by the two choirs, “The Creation” quickly appeared on their radar. They said that they want something which would be nurturing for the choirs, both musically and emotionally, and which would bring joy to their listeners after the challenges everyone has faced in the last couple of years. 

And “The Creation” ticks all the boxes.

“With ‘Creation’ not being frequently performed in Brisbane, but being one of the greats, it jumped out as an obvious choice!” exclaims Emily. 

“Collaborating with Fay and Oriana was always something I wanted to do,” said Emily about Fay Baker OAM, the Artistic Director of Oriana Choir and her vocal accompanist when she was a student at the “Con”. 

“I’ve long admired  Oriana’s work, and I consider Fay a very important part of my musical growth. She was also a major mentor of  Justine Favell, Brisbane Chorale’s fabulous accompanist,” she continues.

“Haydn really broke the mould with this one,” Emily explains. “The orchestra does much more than just accompany. There’s tremendous drama in the orchestral writing, dramatic changes of mood and picturesque imagery, ahead of its time, all making the orchestra an equal partner in bringing this story to life. I can’t wait to  work with the wonderful players of Sinfonia on this project.” 

“The greatest joys of making music are the communities with which you work. The community that’s been brought together for ‘The Creation’ is a mixture of people I’ve known all of my performing life, and new friends, all of whom are brilliant at what they do.  I’ve also loved the piece since I was a teenager, and this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to perform it.  What a joy!” Jason Barry-Smith said when asked about the things he is looking forward to most about the upcoming performances.

And Tenor Tobias Merz’s reply: “There are so many things I’m looking forward to.  Singing this work is a rare pleasure but the real treat will be listening to the thunderous sound of a double choir!”

‘The Creation’ by Franz Joseph Haydn conducted by Emily Cox AM
Brisbane Chorale and Oriana Choir
Sinfonia of St Andrew’s
Leanne Kenneally, soprano
Tobias Merz, tenor
Jason Barry-Smith, bass

Brisbane City Hall
3pm, 20th November 2022

About the Chorales

Brisbane Chorale is a symphonic choir formed in 1983. The group comprises more than 100 voices and was an amalgamation of existing choirs back then at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. They will be celebrating their 40th anniversary year in 2023, also the year that Emily will be celebrating her 20th year as Music Director.

Brisbane Chorale sharing the stage with world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli
Photo credit:  Supplied

Oriana Choir, meanwhile, was formed in 2005 when Daniel Calder established The Oriana Concert Choir on the Sunshine Coast. This fledgling choir very quickly proved its credentials when in July 2006 they competed in ABC Classic FM’s National Choir of the Year competition, placing second in the Queensland finals.