Soprano Sara Macliver and mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell’s Diva’s Delight two years ago at St George’s Cathedral in Perth was a hit, and with 100 more tickets just released, their follow up concert Diva’s Delight Again isn’t one to miss. Alongside Joseph Nolan on piano, the divas – who are close friends off stage – will perform a concert ranging from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater to favourite cabaret numbers. We caught up with the pair to find out what’s in store – and what keeps them singing together.

Sara Macliver, Fiona CampbellSara Macliver and Fiona Campbell. Photo © Iris Joschko

When did you first sing together?

SaraAlcina for Perth International Arts Festival in 1996, I played the young, innocent Morgana and Fi was the grubby boy Ruggiero.

What have been some of your most memorable moments working together?

Fiona: For me it would be Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah… there is no one who sings this rep better than Sara, she is my favourite soprano I’ve worked with in this repertoire – and our Australian Chamber Orchestra tour when we first really got to know each other on the road.

Sara: Our ACO and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra tours were really memorable, not just for the incredible music and the fun, but the genuine, deep friendship that we developed.

How would describe your dynamic on (and off!) stage?

Fiona: Professional and glamorous onstage… besties, naughty always up for a laugh and always there for each other offstage!

SaraOnstage – symbiotic. Offstage – warm, fun and a shared wicked humour.

Sara Macliver and Fiona Campbell. Photo © Iris JoschkoSara Macliver and Fiona Campbell. Photo © Iris Joschko

Do you share similar musical tastes?

Fiona: Well I have an extremely eclectic mix in music… all good music is my mantra.

Sara: I’m a real sucker for jazz. I love the classics with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, but I also love artists like Madeleine Peyroux and Diana Krall.

How do you go about choosing repertoire for the two of you?

Fiona: We both choose repertoire that suits us well individually and then find duets to complement that selection. Or we have a complete work like the Pergolesi or a set of Mendelssohn duets and then find something to balance that energy in the program.

Something our listeners may not know so well is our love of cabaret. Speaking for myself here, it’s my guilty pleasure and secret love! Sara and I have created a fun and fantastic selection specifically for Diva’s Delight Again at St George’s Cathedral. I mean, we love making people cry with sad songs, but we also really love making people laugh!

Sara: We always workshop our ideas; it’s very collaborative. Sometimes we have to consider what else is on the program and other times we have the luxury of starting from scratch. It’s a real treat to be able to create your own program and to choose music that really suits our voices.

What do you enjoy most about performing together?

Fiona: Everything! Sara and Joseph [Nolan] are such fabulous musicians and we’ve worked together so often now that we feel very secure on stage together. This implicit trust in one other allows us to focus on the music and emotions, and delivering a seriously exciting performance for our audience.

Sara: The absolute joy of making incredible music together. It’s an absolute privilege.

Sara Macliver and Fiona Campbell. Photo © Iris JoschkoSara Macliver and Fiona Campbell. Photo © Iris Joschko

How do you like to unwind after performances?

Fiona: Champagne and riotous laughter with friends and colleagues is de rigeur.

SaraDrinking!! (Is that bad?!)… And eating… always together!!

What can the audiences expect from Diva’s Delight Again? Will there be any surprises?

Fiona: We have put this cabaret selection together exclusively for the Cathedral, so there will definitely be things people haven’t heard us sing together before. Most audiences know us for our classical music careers and the Pergolesi in the first half is simply divine, glorious vocal writing at its best.

It’s hard not to blow our own baroque trumpet here, but you simply won’t hear it sung better, because our voices blend and move together in a way that creates musical magic. And of course there’s a big finish because you simply can’t have two divas onstage without a bit of rivalry. We shall see who wins this duet… (my money’s on the mezzo!)

So it’s all a bit of a rollick, totally gorgeous and we promise you will leave the Cathedral dancing in the aisles… we may even get you singing along!

SaraI think some people will be surprised to hear us sing cabaret! I hope that with the Pergolesi they are transported because the music is simply sublime and I hope with the cabaret that they can share the joy, fun and beauty of this great repertoire.


Diva’s Delight Again is at St George’s Cathedral, Perth, August 3

Tickets

Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine