Once again, Bill Hawkey MBE, OAM, and I conspired to collaborate on a new concert to wow the residents of the South Coast. This time, I chose the theme, ‘Tell Me the Truth About Love’, inspired by the song of the same name from Benjamin Britten and WH Auden’s Cabaret Songs.

Both concerts, in Bega and Narooma, were a huge success. Here’s what Michael Kavanagh, President of the Sapphire Coast Music Society, wrote:

The Sapphire Coast Music Society were delighted to be able to present Eliane Morel and her ‘Tell me the truth about love’ recital in Bega during September 2015. Eliane’s presentation of works by Purcell, Bizet, Mozart, Benjamin Britten and Cole Porter delighted the packed audience and left them calling for more. It was Eliane’s rapport with the audience, her undoubted stagecraft and her ability to interpret such a range of composers, as well as her singing talent that made the recital such a success. Our Society was indeed fortunate to be able to present a recital by an artist as talented as Eliane Morel.

The concert was in three acts: Act 1 ‘What is this thing called love?’ was about the nature of love, especially when the first stirrings of love come upon us – what is it about, why are we afraid to give into it, what does it look like? We started with Dido’s lament from Dido and Aeneas, where she is terrified of giving in to her feelings for Aeneas, then moved to Carmen’s Habanera (’cause she knows what it’s all about – it’s a rebellious gypsy, an untameable bird!), contrasted with ‘Tell me truth about love’ which archly asks us to personify love and the ways it will approach us. e.g. “Does it look like a pair of pyjamas, or the ham in a temperance hotel? Does its odour remind one of llamas, or has it a comforting smell? O tell me the truth about love!” Then Dorabella from Cosi Fan Tutte stepped in to tell us it’s a thief, a little serpent who worms his way into your heart. But we finished with Cole Porter, telling us that worrying about it isn’t important, and encouraging us: “Let’s do it, let’s fall in love!”

After an interlude of jazz numbers from Bill, Act 2, ‘Love Hurts’ explored what happens when love is unrequited, betrayed, or extinguished. We started with ‘Johnny’ and ‘Funeral blues’ both from Cabaret Songs, then moved to ‘Dido’s Farewell’ – where her trepidations about falling in love are realised, as she is betrayed by Aeneas, and must die.  But to finish this section off, we went back to the great philosopher Cole Porter, who reminds us that sometimes we just have to accept that, ‘It was just one of those things.’

The third act, ‘Love conquers all’ found us in the city of love, with two beautiful songs made famous by Edith Piaf – ‘Sous le ciel de Paris’ and ‘La vie en rose’. And the encore? To sum it all up, ‘Crazy’ by Willie Nelson, of course!

The exciting thing was that I realised this is a show – a concert format I can take elsewhere. The combination of songs, the story and the format fit so well together, it’s something I’d like to repeat around the country… so watch this space!

A first:  Wednesday August 19th, I was invited to perform at Bondi Pavilion for the seniors of Waverley, who are bussed in from the Prince of Wales Hospital and from Holdsworthy Community Centre. However, it is a public concert, and all are welcome to attend.

We performed in the grand High Tide Room of the Pavilion, with excellent acoustics. The audience loved the songs we had chosen – including the Habanera from Carmen, One Day When We Were Young by Johann Strauss (lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein), Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover, Lilacs in the Spring by Ivor Novello… and many more. As always, the audience were beaming, with many swinging and singing along.

During our final song – the gypsy song from Carmen, which is fast and furious and features virtuoso piano-playing (thank you Belinda McGlynn!) and thrilling coloratura singing – one audience member was dancing so excitedly in her seat that I decided to come down off the stage and have her dance with me. It was one of those wonderful moments when the joy of the music overpowered everyone – the audience were clapping and laughing, she was dancing and I was doing my best to sing the notes!

Needless to say, Ben Karsay, the musical coordinator of the Bondi Pavilion, has invited us back to perform on November 18. This was the highlight of my month!

Recently I’ve been performing The Lucky Country quite a bit, a beautiful show for high schools about post-war migration, written by Mick Devine and Tiffany Barton (with a little bit by me as well)). It features 6 wonderful female characters, and a couple of weeks ago I did a little showreel with a group called Cultural and Performing Arts Network (CPAN) to promote the show a bit further… the camera crew were falling over themselves laughing after each take, which was a nice endorsement! As a result of this shoot, I’ve been asked to perform one of the characters (Mimi, a Vietnamese boat person) at Liverpool Westfield’s Market Day, which features Vietnamese food, on Saturday 26th September. The show’s only about 10 minutes, open to the public, and will be performed at 12pm and 1pm. Feel free to come along and have a look!

Very slack on the old website updating business… this year has seen four concerts go by at my favourite Nursing Homes, and no reporting on them…

Lulworth House, Beresford Hall, Montefiore Homes and Paddington Presbyterian.

Such a wonderful thing to see some of my favourite people again, so sad to see some have gone, but also beautiful to meet new people, who have been thrilled to hear the songs they love.

Ivor Novello, One Day When We Were Young, Gershwin, Porter, Bizet, Puccini… it’s been a busy few months, and with Belinda McGlynn, each of these concerts has been special.

A magnificent concert for Newcastle Festival Opera, with Laura King. Included 7 Canciones Populares Espanolas by Manuel de Falla, songs and duets from Cosi Fan Tutte, finishing off with a beautiful version of the Letter Duet from The Marriage of Figaro.

Just after the interlude, I sang Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It, with a new, very funny verse… It ends with ‘On their I-phones, we know teens do it. In the future we will have machines do it… let’s do it, let’s fall in love.’20150314_Newcastle_Musica-Viva_5272_V3

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Yes, performing once again at the Sunday Night Carnival at The Victoria Room, Level 1, 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst on Sunday, December 14, from 7pm.

http://thevictoriaroom.com/site/sunday-nights/

I’m inviting all my friends for a bit of an end of year party – it’s free to attend, I’m performing some faaabulous operatic numbers, there’ll be pole-dancing, trapeze acts etc., so come along for a drink and a chat in between the (quite short) acts. It’ll be wonderful to see you there!

On 28th and 29th November, the extremely talented piano accompanist Belinda McGlynn and I performed Christmas Concerts at Beresford Hall and Lulworth House, respectively. We’d had a request to repeat the ‘Tender is the Night’ formula, so we sang lots of Cole Porter and Gershwin: ‘Fascinating Rhythm’, ‘Swonderful’ and ‘Let’s call the whole thing off’ by Gershwin. With the audience’s knowledge and consent I changed the words to the second verse of ‘Let’s call the whole thing off’ a little, because it’s always bothered me that no-one actually says, ‘Vanella’, ‘Sarsparella’ or ‘Ersters’. So instead I sang “You like banana and I like vanilla, you coca-cola and I sarsparilla, Banana! Vanilla! Chocolate! Strawberry! Let’s call…” etc. and then “So if you smoke Havannas and I smoke Havahnas, I’ll take up Havannas and give up Havahnas, for you, know we…” etc. The audience agreed that the words were much better!

Of the Cole Porter repertoire, we did ‘I Love Paris’, ‘I Get a Kick out of You’, ‘You do something to me’, ‘Let’s do it’ and ‘Miss Otis Regrets’.

Segueing into Christmas, we started with ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ from Meet Me In St Louis, made famous, of course, by the immortal Judy Garland. What a song!

Then, the traditional Christmas Carols, which went down extremely well at Lulworth House, but at Beresford Hall we had requests for more jazz… So of course we obliged!

As always, the audience were extremely happy, ‘You made my week’, ‘I’ll never forget this concert’ and ‘What a voice!’ were just some of the comments.

Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!

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On Saturday August 30th, Rachael Beck, Ian Stenlake, Bev Kennedy and I, with the help of an army of incredible parents from Bondi Public School, put together a beautiful evening of songs and tales of Bondi from the 1920s and 30s. We called it ‘Tender is the Night’ after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel (some say it’s better than The Great Gatsby) and the audience were encouraged to dress up in 20s and 30s style. Well, did they ever! I think they made more of an effort than the singers, and it was such a fabulous evening. What a hoot! Everyone had a ball, and all agreed it was the ‘best cabaret night ever’. Here are a couple of pics of me on the night, and a link to more, where you get to see what an incredible effort the audience made!

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I’m singing a couple of numbers as part of the Sunday Night Carnival at The Victoria Room, Level 1, 235 Victoria St Darlinghurst.

It came about because a lovely resident of Paddington Presbyterian Aged Care, who is not actually aged, but has a disability that meant he needed care while he waited for suitable accommodation, was very impressed with my performances at PPAC, and suggested The Victoria Room would be an ideal venue…

So, I made a recording of The Habanera from Carmen, found the email of the booking agent and screwed up the courage to send him my details and a request to be part of the show… and now I’ll be singing there! So very excited, and looking forward to this immensely.

Here are the details, check it out yourself…

Please come along, it’s a fabulous venue!