Soprano Belinda Montgomery has performed with The Marais Project since its inception and has appeared on 4 of our 5 CDs. Whether as a soloist or ensemble member Lindy is widely respected in the music world for her musicianship, versatility and professionalism. She is also a pleasure to work with! Belinda’s repertoire spans from the baroque to contemporary – and much more besides – and she is an expert in the French Baroque repertoire, a relatively rare skill in Australia.
- Your favourite relaxation outside music?
I like to read a lot and can be a voracious consumer of good television! Eating and drinking moderate quantities of nice red wine are also right up there – especially the Central Otago Pinots we discovered in New Zealand this year!
- The composer you most enjoy performing?
Composers – so difficult! Bach probably has to be top of the list. But as a former pianist of dwindling technical ability, Chopin and Debussy are always hard to beat. And then there’s all that fabulous big orchestral repertoire of Mahler, not to mention Verdi’s operas.
- How did you come to choose music as a career?
I became a musician despite the disadvantages of growing up in a small town where tuition was very hard to come by. Both my parents had wonderful singing voices and felt that their children should all learn piano, which we dutifully did. But at home we’d all sing in harmony and one or other of us would strum along with the guitar. When I was in my first year studying to be a music teacher at the Con (majoring in piano) one of the voice teachers there heard me and recommended that I take some singing lessons. From then on, I discovered choirs and choral music and was immediately addicted!
- What you most enjoy about performing?
The camaraderie of being part of a small group, whether as a soloist within an ensemble or as a member of a tight soprano section. My best friends are almost uniquely those I’ve made through music – it’s quite an intimate experience to prepare a program and then present it to a new audience.
- Could you name a performance you will never forget?
I probably would have to nominate the first Pinchgut production of Handel’s opera “Semele” where I played the (small) role of Iris. Having never acted in so much as a school musical before this performance it was a great but joyous challenge! At the other end of the scale, singing in a massive choir for Mahler 8 with the SSO at the big stadium in Homebush in the year of the Olympics (with the organ part sent in via satellite from Amy Johanssen in the Town Hall) was also pretty special!
- What do you most like about French baroque music?
I love the elegance of French Baroque music – the dance rhythms, the unique ornamentation, the instrumentation (of course! with their love of viols). The vocal music is often full of sensuality or melancholy – sometimes very silly subjects can be rendered quite devastatingly beautiful!
- 3 or 4 “desert island disks”, recordings you could not live without?
Bach’s Matthew Passion (or b minor mass or just about anything else he wrote); Keith Jarrett’s The Melody at Night With You; just about anything featuring Barbara Bonney.
- The one thing you would like to change about classical music concerts…?
I don’t think I would necessarily change anything about classical concerts themselves. What I’d like to change is perhaps the safety of some of the programming that we currently experience. Sadly, it’s so difficult for organisations to be both profitable and artistically risk-taking, that I think many ensembles err on the side of caution – quite understandably. There are some notable exceptions to this, I hasten to add…..
What: The Marais Project presents: “Marais and the Operatic Muse”
When: 3pm Sunday August 16 2015
Where: Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie St, Sydney
Tickets: www.maraisproject.com.au or call 0412 459 156