Greta Bradman, described as a soprano ‘with rare warmth and timbral richness’ (The Australian), makes her operatic debut on record with an album of arias ranging from Handel to Verdi. The album is entitled My Hero, after an aria from the operetta The Chocolate Soldier.
At the same time, the new album it is a tribute to many of Greta’s own heroes – Richard Bonynge, her maternal grandfather Horace Young (an amateur opera singer), and her paternal grandfather Sir Donald Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer with a lesser-known but ardent passion for music and especially the soprano voice.
It was Sir Donald Bradman, himself a pianist, composer and former boy soprano soloist, as well as Horace Young, whose appreciation of the great voices imbued in their granddaughter a love for singers and singing. The old LPs in Sir Donald’s collection that Greta adored as a little girl, return to inform the repertoire on her Decca operatic debut recording which includes music by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi and Massenet, as well as a trio of bon-bons: ‘When you wish upon a star’, ‘Edelweiss’ and ‘I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls’.
Since commencing her professional career in 2010 primarily as a concert artist, Greta has presented more than 1000 performances with orchestras and ensembles, and has a wide-ranging repertoire from the Baroque and Classical eras through Romantic, 20th and 21st-century repertory. As recitalist, concert and stage performer, Greta has been awarded critics choice awards including an APRA/AMCOS ‘Performance of the Year’ award (2013) and numerous OzCart awards. She has been nominated for Helpmann, MusicOz and ARIA awards and was Limelight magazine’s vocalist shortlisted as ‘best newcomer’ in 2010. Greta was the 2013–14 recipient of the Australian International Opera Award which enabled her to move to Cardiff, Wales, to undertake further training at the celebrated Wales International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill and colleagues.
In 2014, Richard Bonynge chose Greta to sing the title role of Rodelinda in the Handel opera of the same name with him conducting, of which Classic Melbourne wrote: ‘With a dark mezzo quality in her middle voice and an ability to float her voice when singing soft sustained notes and intricate coloratura passages, she was at times uncannily similar in vocal quality to Sutherland’. Greta has also garnered high praise from Zubin Mehta, for whom she auditioned in Vienna in March 2015, and with whom she will perform in October this year on the Australian World Orchestra’s tour of India.
Greta studied piano, flute, clarinet, guitar and composition, and through university was a core member of the Adelaide Chamber Singers, which won consecutive ‘Choir of the World’ awards in the USA, Italy and Wales.
Since 2010 Greta has presented concerts and operas in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Orchestral and larger ensemble works include Ross Edwards’s Symphony No. 2, Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 (whose performance was described as ‘beautifully sung … the stuff of goosebumps’, Barefoot Review, 2012), and music from Handel, Bach, Monteverdi, Pergolesi, Mozart and Brahms to Shostakovich, Ravel, Fauré, Duruflé, Whitbourn, Vaughan Williams, Ives and Adams. Greta has premiered many works including the Australian premiere of John Tavener’s Innocence, Tristram Cary’s I Am Here, Gubaidulina’s Sonnegesang, George Crumb’s Apparition and John Adams’s Five Charles Ives Songs among others.
Her repertoire also embraces music by Wagner and Richard Strauss through to works by the Second Viennese School: ‘Greta Bradman was the star. A sylph-like figure in black, she sang Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and songs by Alma Mahler, Zemlinsky, Berg and Richard Strauss as if they were composed for her. […] a maturing singer whose voice seems only to gain further in richness and depth, she was glorious.’ (The Australian, May 2013).
Australian composers who have written/arranged for Greta since 2010 include Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Betty Beath, Moya Henderson and Paul Stanhope.
‘I am immensely excited and humbled to be signing with Decca Classics,’ says Greta Bradman. ‘When I was six years old I wrote in “my autobiography” for school: “When I grow up I want to be an incredible singer”. By that, I meant a classical singer – like my idols, including the great Dame Joan. And the iconic “Decca” signature was synonymous with that, being attached to so very many of my favourite recordings. So I am beyond words to describe how much this means to me, to my family, and I really look forward to doing my best to honour the quality, passion and style that is part of the label and all that it stands for.’
1. OSCAR STRAUS My Hero (The Chocolate Soldier)
2. MASSENET Il est doux, il est bon (Hérodiade)
3. BIZET C’est des contrebandiers … Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante (Carmen)
4. BALFE I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls (The Bohemian Girl)
5. BELLINI Casta Diva (Norma)
6. BELLINI Ah! bello a me ritorna (Norma)
7. VERDI Vanne, lasciami … D’amor sull’ali rosee (Il trovatore)
8. ROSSINI Una voce poco fa (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
9. MOZART Ach ich liebte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail)
10. HAYDN Filomena abbandonata (L’anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice)
11. HANDEL Ombre, piante, urne funeste! Rodelinda)
12. HANDEL Morrai, sì l’empia tua testa (Rodelinda)
13. HORN Cherry Ripe
14. VERDI Mercé, dilette amiche (I vespri siciliani)
15. KÁLMÁN Mein Traum, mein Traum (Kaiserin Josephine)
16. RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN Edelweiss (The Sound of Music)
17. HARLINE & WASHINGTON When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio)
My Hero is available now.