“If Music Be
the Food of Love...
Sing On”

Katrena Mitchell

Katrena Mitchell - dark lyric with coloratura extensions

“My parents emigrated from Scotland with three children and presented their new home, Australia, with a thank you gift in the forms of my sister and myself a few years later. We were a large family and my parents made the happy choice of moving to a lovely place called Ferny Creek. Our house was directly on the edge of Sherbrook Forest, a large national park in the Dandenong Ranges in south-eastern Victoria. I spent my formative childhood years in these magical surroundings and have retained a great love for these dark, dense forests. I still love to go for long rambling walks whenever I get the time.

I first took up singing by joining my school choir. I wanted to take it up again at university but couldn’t co-ordinate the times. Once I had graduated and started working, one of the first things I did was to join another choir. The Melbourne Chorale accepted me as a member and with them I was introduced to the finest choral classics, Messiah, Beethoven 9th and the Bach St Matthew Passion. There were also some wonderful events like the Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Mahler’s uplifting second symphony and Menotti’s Glagolitic Mass (performed in front of the composer himself). I graduated to the Melbourne Chorale Chamber Singers and undoubtedly the highlight was singing with the ensemble for Christopher Hogwood, an experience I would love to repeat.

Soon it became apparent that it was time to get some singing lessons and by an extraordinary stroke of luck, I began with the same teacher as Ingrid. We eventually met at an Eisteddfod and discovered our mutual love for vocal music. It was a few years before we actually sang together but once we did, we never looked back.

Ingrid is a bit of a visionary and is never daunted by even the most enormous undertaking. Singlehandedly she established an opera company and together with the aid of wonderful colleagues and friends we performed some of the greatest operas by Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni. These productions were immensely hard work but a wonderful experience.

One of the most exciting aspects of singing is ensemble work and I had great opportunities for exploring this aspect of performance at the Victorian College of the Arts where I completed a Graduate Diploma in Opera Studies. Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Handel’s Imeneo, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Dvorak’s Rusalka were among the glorious works I studied and performed during these years. Exposure to professional directors, repetiteurs and conductors was invaluable. It was also at this time that I encountered some immensely talented people like Dean Sky Lucas and Sian Prior who have become treasured collaborators with Sounds Sublime.

As a Music Librarian I am privileged to have spent almost my entire working life involved in the Arts. My profession and the places I have been employed, notably the State Library of Victoria, have allowed me unprecedented access to wonderful music resources. This has allowed Sounds Sublime to explore the more unusual segments of the duet repertoire. I was very fortunate to win a fellowship at the State Library and I took the opportunity to explore the area of baroque vocal chamber music. The repertoire is astoundingly rich and consistently of a high musical standard. Even now we continue to discover new riches. The breadth and depth of repertoire available for two high voices is remarkable and we’ll have to continue singing for many years to come if we want to perform even half of it.”

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