Haydn’s The Creation

Sunday 24 September 2023

3 pm • Duration: 2.5 hours including interval.
Tatachilla Lutheran CollegeTatachilla Road, McLaren Vale

Tickets are now on sale for Big Sing McLaren Vale’s 2023 masterwork—The Creation by Joseph Haydn conducted by maestro Graham Abbott. The Big Sing Chorus will be joined by the Adelaide Concert Orchestra and their Concertmaster Carolyn Lam, The Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus and three wonderful soloists— Ruth Blythman, Robert Macfarlane and Pelham Andrews.

Each year Big Sing works with at least one large choir who fully rehearse the work prior to performance. This year’s choir is the Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus with their Music Director Aldis Sils. https://philharmonia.net/

Haydn’s monumental oratorio depicts The Creation, celebrating the wonder and the beauty of the world. With text drawn from the Books of Genesis and Psalms and Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Creation represents the summit of Haydn’s craftsmanship.

Out of the ‘Big Bang’ creeps a barely perceptible hush of strings depicting the dark and impenetrable void, before the chorus rapturously announces ‘and there was light’. What follows the immensely powerful opening reveals Haydn’s genius for orchestral word-painting—water, earth and celestial bodies, a menagerie of creatures, tempests and paradise, angels and humans—with mighty choruses and lilting arias.

The words of Genesis mean something different to everyone, whether it’s literal, metaphorical, inspiring prose or a jolly good story. Each of you will take a different journey through this monumental work, but there is no doubt it will live in the memory.

Conductor Graham Abbott writes: Haydn wrote The Creation in his 60s, after he’d finished writing his symphonies, in a late career immersion in choral music, … [and they’re] among his brightest, most imaginative, and most beautiful works. The Creation, especially, stems from deep personal faith mixed with dazzling wit and ingenuity. The natural world, animals, people and angels are all portrayed with a deft hand and incredible brilliance. At the same time, Haydn’s sense of humour is ever-present, with the audience blown out of their seats at the creation of light, and there’s even an unmistakable description of the first cow pat!

Make your own creation: It’s Spring, come to McLaren Vale for the day, the weekend, the week, it’s the perfect time to catch bud-burst in the vines, taste the latest releases from the dozens of fantastic wineries around town, eat at some of the finest restaurants in the state, and stay at fabulous accommodation. There are also beautiful beaches, exhilarating national parks, and all kinds of land, sea and air activities to enjoy. Find out more, and make bookings, at: www.mclarenvale.info

Conductor, Graham Abbott  

A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium, Graham Abbott has been Conductor-in-Residence at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, Musical Director of Adelaide Chorus, Associate Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Musical Director of Melbourne Chorale, and Music Advisor to Chamber Made Opera, Melbourne. He also served as acting Chorus Master of the Chorus of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducting performances with the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra.

In a career spanning more than thirty years, Graham has conducted all the major Australian symphony orchestras, State Orchestra of Victoria (now Orchestra Victoria), the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Singers, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Classical Players and many new and early music ensembles.

This year Graham will continue in his role as Artistic Director for Hayllar Music Tours and his work with the Melba Trust Artists. He will also return to the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to conduct a program of Mozart and Haydn, to Festival of Voices for Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and will also run choral workshops with the Oriana choir.

Most respected as a conductor of, and enthusiast for, the music of Handel, he has conducted Messiah more than eighty times with all the major Australian orchestras as well as in the UK and New Zealand and given the first Australian performances of major Handel works including Athalia, Ariodante, Agrippina and La resurrezione.

Highlights in recent years include conducting The Barber of Seville, The Pearlfishers (also for Opera Queensland) and Don Giovanni for State Opera South Australia; Handel’s Water Music (Tasmanian Symphony) and Coronation Anthems (Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus); Unwrap the Music performances for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; semi-staged performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for Opera Queensland; Israel in Egypt  and Rachmaninov Vespers with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs; and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony with Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Camerata (Brisbane).

Graham Abbott is managed by Graham Pushee: graham@artsmanagement.com.au
February 2023 *This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
Please contact Graham for an up-to-date biography to suit your needs.

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Robert Macfarlane • Tenor

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Pelham Andrews • Bass

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Ruth Blythman • Soprano

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Photo Credit: Victoria Cadisch