Last year was a difficult one for music ensembles, and with singing considered a dangerous exercise, choirs felt the brunt of it. With confusing information and restrictions around vocal groups, it was unclear how choirs would navigate the return to performances. Sydney Chamber Choir seemed determined to cast away the shadows of 2020 with Cycles, performed at the Seymour Centre as part of the Sydney Festival, and they have succeeded. A triumphant and elegant program conducted by Artistic Director Sam Allchurch, Sydney Chamber Choir’s return to live singing was rightfully joyful.

Sydney Chamber Choir pc Yaya StemplerSydney Chamber Choir. Photo © Yaya Stempler

The program did get off to an awkward start, however. The Seymour Centre’s York Theatre is not well suited to choral singing and the acoustics did the ensemble no favours. There was some difficulty finding a balanced sound or tuning throughout the first piece Minga bagan, a new piece by Yuin composer Brenda Gifford. The piece itself was pleasant, and a fitting opening for the program, but was undercut by the acoustic issues plaguing the...

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