Amanda Forbes

amandaJames and I will be able to boast that we attended soprano Amanda Forbes’s farewell as she left in 2004 for post graduate study at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2003, Amanda year completed a University of Melbourne music performance degree with (first class) honours. During the year she won the Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney Silver Jubilee Vocal Scholarship, a Rae and Edith Bennet Travelling Scholarship and the Australian National Operatic Aria competition.

At the farewell in St Philip’s Church, Amanda was accompanied by her father Colin (piano/harpsicord), Rowan Harvey-Martin (violin) and Lindy Reksten (‘cello). Colin is a recitalist, conductor, teacher, vocal coach and stage director, and is Artistic Director of the Canberra Academy of Music and Related Arts (CAMRA) and our church organist!. Pat Forbes, Amanda’s mother, is a fine singer. Church members took much delight in telling us how they had seen Amanda growing up as a singer and a beautiful woman.

The church interior was cosy for the recital, with warm, soft lighting, and the house full for the program of Four songs Op. 13, and Melodies Passagerès Op. 27, by Samuel Barber, two Mozart arias, and seven of the Neun Deutsche Arien by Handel – with a Vivaldi aria as an encore. It was thrilling evening of the very finest singing.

I liked this verse by James Agee, the lyric of the third of Barber’s Four Songs:

Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side of the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wand’ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

James Agee (1909-1955) , “Description of Elysium”, from Permit Me Voyage, stanzas 6-8, published 1934.