WAO Playlist Series XXIII Curated by Leilah Fox
West Australian Opera's production of Cosi Fan Tutte is set to open this week and to celebrate the opening of this spectacular production, Cosi Fan Tutte Chorus member, Leilah Fox curated this week's playlist. Read about and stream Leilah's playlist which includes music from Cavalleria Rusitcana, Cosi Fan Tutte and the broadway musical CATS.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo - Pietro Mascagni
This is one of those pieces of music that is timeless in its ability to affect the soul. I have heard this both in the happiest and saddest times of my life and always I find myself reflecting and feeling deeply and nostalgically.I remember first hearing it at a concert and then searching endlessly for the title so that I could play it again and again as it had affected me so much. It pulls you in and takes you deep and for that reason it’s number one on my playlist. WA Opera was to perform this earlier in the year as a double bill along with Pagliacci, before COVID-19 forced its cancellation, so here now we can have a little reflect on that and enjoy a moment of this stunning composition.
Memory - Jennifer Hudson
As a teenager I attended a production of Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s ‘Cats’. It was my earliest musical theatre experience and I was in awe throughout the show. It was my first understanding of magic of theatre and the start of a desire to perform myself. I’ll never forget the aged Grizabella standing in the spotlight and performing this song as she sang of her bright youth and the ease of which we are forgotten in its absence. I am moved every time I hear this song and have performed it for many recitals and recordings over the years.
Lohengrin - Richard Wagner
Saint Honesty - Sara Bareilles
Rusalka - Antonín Dvořák
A classic for a reason, this aria is a stunningly haunting cry of despair as Rusalka, Daughter of a water goblin, begs the moon to tell her human Prince of her love for him. We know the modern version of this story as The Little Mermaid. The first time I heard this aria I was around 11 years old and it was an old vinyl record of my Fathers that he was listening to. I remember lying on the floor of our lounge room with my ear against the speaker playing it over and over again. I think this was the moment I really knew I wanted to sing opera. This aria had to make the list for me.
Miss Otis Regres (She's Unable To Lunch Today) - Ella Fitzgerald
I won my first vocal eisteddfod with this jazz classic and could not stop listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s Cole Porter songbook for months. It was my first foray into singing jazz and I felt free and excited every time I sang it. I just love the way the sadness of her story is juxtaposed with a simple act of dining out and the way the poem and music play with each other throughout. There are many great renditions of this song but this is my favourite.
Pathetique (2nd Movement) - Betoven
The second movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique is haunting and was one of my favourite things to play when I was sitting my final grade AMEB piano exam in year 12. After the vigour of the first movement it is a welcome calm and so brilliantly written. I worked hard in high school to continue and finish my classical piano studies and exams and I am so very grateful for the skills it has afforded me especially when working as a vocalist and teacher. This piece was my way to escape from the stress of study in the more trying times of my senior year and will always have a special place.
Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
I’m so glad I could include a song by Bette Midler on this list. She has been an idol for me ever since my Mum bought be the vhs of the movie Beaches growing up and we watched it together. I sobbed at the end when this song played and it was a special moment that I haven’t forgotten since. This song means a lot to me as I think of my late Father whenever I hear it.
Tutti accusan le donne - Mozart
I am so blessed to be a part of the WA Opera chorus once again for this years production of Cosi fan Tutte. It comes after a long break from performing and I feel so grateful to be here in WA with a company that is so passionate and committed to continuing to stage shows whenever possible and keep the magic of theatre alive. Although Mozart didn’t write a lot for the chorus in his opera it’s such a fun show and this is a snippet I particularly enjoy.
Faith - George Michael
There’s never been a better time to remember to keep the faith and have a little. I can’t hear this song without feeling my toes twitch and a positive dance is just what we need right now. I hope you can enjoy it as much as I do and look forward to seeing you all at a WAO show soon!