Mezzo-Soprano Dannielle O’Keefe and Violinist Aaron Ch’ng were the last pair of finalists to perform in Season 3 of The Talent, and what an episode it was! Both artists presented a fantastic range of repertoire. Dannielle was joined by Hanford Lam whilst Aaron performed alongside David Laughton. The episode was broadcast live to air at 7pm on November 22.
Dannielle was the first performer on the episode, singing four works, all with piano accompaniment.
Dannielle began with Dorabella’s aria Smanie implacabili from Così fan tutte by Mozart. The aria tells of Dorabella’s torment as she is left in to live in solidarity while her lover Ferrando is off at war. Although the Italian lyrics demand us to leave her alone ( “Lasciarmi sola!” ), the beauty of this Mezzo-Soprano’s voice had us firmly convinced to remain listening.
Another piece and another language, this time Russian, with The Soldiers Wife by Rachmaninoff. As in most Russian art songs, the clusters of consonants and vowels provide a chance for expression. Here the melody is not necessarily the focus, the carrying of the lyrics and nuances in the voice are what give this piece its beauty.
A Prayer by the Australian composer John Antill was a great piece, one which is comparibly less known. As always it was lovely to hear an Australian piece, well done!
To conclude her set Dannielle chose to sing another Italian work, this time it was Angelina’s aria Nacquiall’affanna…Non piumesta from the second act of La Cenerentola (Cinderella) by Rossini. The aria is a technically-demanding one with many runs and melismas, Dannielle doing a sublime job! Brava!
Dannielle’s inspiration piece was Una voce poco fa… from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia as performed by Mezzo-Soprano Joyce di Donato.
Violinist Aaron Ch’ng was the second performer of the evening, he was joined for two of his three works by David Laughton.
Aaron began with the Adagio from Violin Sonata in G minor by J.S.Bach. There is a mesmerising quality to a multi-voiced piece being played on a solo string instrument. The opening chords pulling the listener in from the very first bar.
Following the Bach, Aaron moved on to a piece from the Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe. Caprice d’apres l’Etude en forme de Valse de Saint-Saens, op 52 as the name suggests is an arrangement of a composition by Saint-Saens. One could be forgiven when listening to the performance and doubt that it was live to air. The sheer artistry and detailed approach to the music was magnificent, portamententos and pianissimo sections had us weak at the knees. What a fantastic selection of Romantic violin music, bravo!
To conclude Aaron and David presented Garden Scene from Much Ado About Nothing by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Again Aaron’s tasteful vibrato and full sound were on show with this selection and were contrasted superbly with the more intimate sections. The emotional pull of this piece is hard to fight, as a listener you were at the mercy of Aaron’s bow. It is a truly special moment to find yourself totally enveloped by any piece of music, Aaron’s playing did so for many of us in the studio.
Aaron’s inspiration piece was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor as performed by Australian violinist Ray Chen.
Didn’t manage to tune in to the broadcast? Don’t worry the podcast is available here.
Be sure to tune in at 7pm next week for the Grand Finale episode in which we will hear from the Top 3 of this season.