Fiona Campbell and Tamara-Anna Cislowska
Come on a journey to the cabaret clubs of Paris with classical singer Fiona Campbell and internationally acclaimed pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska. A concert of the explosive, seductive and romantic world of French inspired cabaret with a twist!
‘Diva extraordinaire’ Fiona Campbell is one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved classical singers – a producer and guest ABC presenter, accomplished international performer, recitalist and recording artist. Winner of the national Limelight Award for Best Solo Performance 2011 (with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in their Haunting Handel concert series), vocal winner of the ABC Young Performer of the Year Award and the Australian Singing Competition Opera Awards, Fiona has consistently received wide critical acclaim for her powerful performances and exquisite musicianship.
‘Queen of the keys’ Tamara-Anna Cislowska is one of Australia’s most acclaimed and recognised pianists. Soloist, recitalist and chamber music specialist, she performs in Australia and worldwide in repertoire spanning three centuries, to critical and public acclaim, and is also renowned for her eloquent writing and popular new role as presenter on ABC Classic FM radio. Tamara has won international prizes in London, Italy and Greece, including the Rovere d’Oro, and in Australia has earned awards such as ABC Young Performer of the Year, a Freedman Fellowship from the Music Council of Australia, the 2012 Art Music Award for ‘Performance of the Year’ (ACT) and most recently the 2015 ARIA for ‘Best Classical Album’.
Download the program here: Fifi L’Amour Program
Dates & Times:
Sunday 23 July 2pm
Proclaimed “outstanding” and “Best Mezzo in Australia” by The Australian, ‘Diva Extraordinaire’ and award-winning performer Fiona Campbell is one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved singers. Much in demand as a principal artist with all the finest orchestras and ensembles in Australia, her other great love is cabaret, and Fiona is thrilled to have found her kindred spirit at the keys in internationally acclaimed, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, ARIA award-winning pianist and one of ABC Classic FM’s most popular new presenters.
Ahead of the pair teaming up to perform cabaret and hits with a strong French connection, we asked them some questions about music, working together and classical crooners.
You have previously performed together at the Art Gallery of NSW. What did you love about collaborating together?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: The winning combination of spontaneity, sheer talent and charismatic dynamism that IS Fiona Campbell. What could go wrong? It’s a thrill, even for me, and I am on the stage!
Fiona Campbell: Working with Tamara is liking working with a great painter, she absorbs all the notes on the page and then splashes colours all over the keyboard with her unique interpretation. I would say “can you make this bit sound more sparkly please?” and it was so. Tamara is quite simply one of the most extraordinary pianists I have ever worked with.
What excites you the most about coming together again to perform Fifi L’Amour?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: Fifi L’Amour is not only a riot, it has many moments of deep emotional yearning and pathos. Fiona is at home in so many styles and sails effortlessly from one to the next. I provide a few episodes of death-defying piano pyrotechnics just to punctuate the fun.
Fiona Campbell: It is a sensational set of songs polished to perfection, but performed with wild abandon. It’s just about as much fun as you can have on stage, when you are making music with someone you trust implicitly. The audience can feel it too and are carried away by the beauty and lyricism of the songs, dazzling virtuosity from the keys and a healthy dose of comedy…it is cabaret after all.
The concert will include a range of classics from Porter to Piaf? Why do you think the ballads from these golden voices have stood the tests of time?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: Those songs speak to the heart and tell our stories. Everyone can relate to the humanity and romanticism they contain. After all, we experience the same emotions, troubles, dreams no matter at which point in history we live.
Fiona Campbell: They’re great tunes, sung by big personalities. Beneath the beautiful veneer, the sentiment is real, aching and as relevant today as it has ever been.
What is your favourite classic song and why?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: I would say La Vie en Rose is one of the most evocative songs from the 40’s. The mixture of optimism and nostalgia is always very touching to me.
Fiona Campbell: I’d have to agree with Tamara, it’s hard to go past La Vie en Rose, it seems to pour out of the most passionate, sweet spot of love. That moment in time when you feel one person is your absolute source of joy…it’s an intimate, delicate and enduring love song.
If you could ask Porter or Piaf one question, what would it be and why?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: I would ask Edith Piaf about how she went about writing her songs, what other music inspired her, what it was like when she was taken in by her grandmother (a brothel madam) and abandoned by her own mother (which she later perpetuated on her daughter). There were so many challenges in that woman’s life, she seemed to be in equal parts so strong and so fragile. Not unlike the great Amy Winehouse who also features in the show.
Fiona Campbell: What was the best party you ever had? One question is simply not enough! I’d want to go back in time and spend a night with them at one of their lavish soirees. They were brilliant individuals, but can you imagine the characters that surrounded them? It must have been fabulously interesting and entertaining.
What inspires you the most about classic crooners?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: When you look at their lives what keeps popping up is how difficult circumstances often were; life on the streets, poverty, ill-health. The stock of many performers was just so vital and forceful. I think enthusiasm in the face of failure is one of the most important qualities that ties many ‘classic’ performers together, the refusal to be discouraged; the undiminished vigour for their own path.
Fiona Campbell: Apart from being incredibly cooI, I love their soft, intimate, authentic delivery, they make you feel as though you are the only person in the room, they are singing just for you…real class.
In the concert you will also be performing re-imagined songs from the world of pop. What can audiences expect?
Tamara-Anna Cislowska: Iain Grandage has expertly arranged several songs from Britney to Amy Winehouse. I think the audience can expect all the power and familiarity of the originals with the added intimacy that an acoustic performance gives.
Fiona Campbell: The best song writers on the planet are writing for the pop industry. I think audiences will be blown away by the potency these songs have in an acoustic environment without all the razzle dazzle of studio production. In fact, I infinitely prefer our sultry, ‘habanera’ version of Toxic to the original and once you’ve heard it, you’ll never go back!