ChorusOz is an exciting opportunity for choristers from across Australia and abroad to come together in an annual choral weekend and bring to life one of the greatest works in choral repertoire. The results are always spectacular. Bass Warwick Fyfe is a soloist who will be performing Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with this year’s ChorusOz on Sunday 12 June 6pm at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. To register to be a part of this year’s ChorusOZ click here. To book tickets click here.
Q&A with Warwick Fyfe
Q1) Have you performed this work before? If yes, which movements do you think the audience will enjoy the most? If no, what are your thoughts about doing this piece for the first time?
I have never performed this work though it has always loomed in my mind like a mighty, distant peak visible through the mists. Performing it for the first time will be an opportunity to immerse myself in a work which has daunted some great conductors as being almost too sublime to approach. I have had epiphanic, coup de foudre moments with great works when I’ve heard them, as a humble audience member, for the first time live, as distinct from on CD. Some works only reveal their treasures when one has abided with them for a good while. Be that as it may, having only ever listened to the Missa Solemnis on CD, I feel it is a work I’ve yet to experience properly.
Q2) What do you think about standing onstage with a chorus of 800 voices?
I expect it will be a mighty sound! I was in a similarly proportioned chorus in 1988 when I was involved in a Mahler 8 in Canberra.
Q3) From your perspective how does Beethoven stand in the context of full choral repertoire?
If he’d written nothing for concerted voices but the final movement of his 9th Symphony, it alone would have qualified him to be regarded as one of the Titans of choral writing. But then there’s the vastly proportioned testimony of the Missa Solemnis too. As a singer, I can see the justice of the criticism that his writing for voices is sometimes awkward, but the effect is sublime.
Q4) What are your impressions of the ChorusOz public choral training programme?
Based on the Mozart Requiem I was a soloist in a few years ago, I sense an enthusiasm from the participants so strong it bubbles over. Nothing could be more salutary for the health of society than such an intense engagement with high art.