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As new reviews are published, recordings are uploaded, biographies changed or auditions made successful, updates will appear here.

Thomas is taking a break from singing

posted 5 Jun 2020, 20:03 by Thomas Friberg

This was a decision I made in November 2019, prior to COVID when I reached out to the WA opera company to decline contracts offered for 2020. It was a moment of commitment to a year of focus on my professional career in business performance consultancy.

It feels a little strange 6 months in, having not sung much apart from occasional Sunday services but it doesn't feel strange enough that I feel like I made a bad call on it. COVID-19 has made it a time to consider how to support my singer friends through the lull instead, not through singing but through honing that service of consultancy. With all opera company pretty much cancelling all contracts for this year, it feels like pretty serendipitous timing too. It's been fun in the last 6 months now to help the Giovanni Consort committee develop their strategy, to support with more flexible video production activities and to help uplift capability within the group rather than just performing from concert to concert. I like the feeling of building something and that is what I plan to commit myself to this year.

I'm not sure when I'll start singing more frequently again but I know I'm going to have to really want it. Maybe a yearning won't return, maybe I've had enough fun on stage to last a lifetime. We'll see in time and if I come back, it'd be fun to see how I might sound beyond the shower cubical murmurings that I will continue each day.

A sold out Merry Widow

posted 22 Jul 2017, 22:15 by Thomas Friberg   [ updated 22 Jul 2017, 22:23 ]

The public has spoken and what a great swell of support we've seen for the Merry Widow. With glowing reviews and the last two shows selling out completely, this has been a production to remember. It's been an absolute pleasure to take on my first main stage named principle role as Bogdanovitch in this all singing, all dancing tour de force. My thanks to all the fantastic people I've been blessed to work with!
5 stars - Limelight

From a recent WA Opera newsletter:
“The Merry Widow is quite simply a fun night out, Graeme Murphy has taken one of the greatest operettas and breathed new life into it” – The West Australian
"Taryn Fiebig's beautiful stage presence radiated the emotions of a woman who has acquired wisdom through personal loss, bringing richness and plausibility to the unfolding story"- Seesaw Magazine

"Taryn Fiebig and Alexander Lewis wowed in their leading roles. Their vocals capturing and, at times, shockingly beautiful" - Avenoir Magazine 

"Emma Pettermerides as Valencienne and John Longmuir as Camille provide a delicious counterpoint to the centre-stage romance" - The West Australian

"Baritone Andrew Foote’s comic excellence was put to good use as the foolish Baron Zeta" - Limelight Magazine 

"Actor Michael Loney proved he could also sing and dance in a show-stealing camp rendition of Quite Parisian" - Limelight Magazine 

Sharing the stage with the Rolling Stones in Perth

posted 13 Nov 2014, 04:42 by Thomas Friberg

After having to keep it quiet for so long, it's nice to be able to finally spread the news of my recent time on stage with The Rolling Stones. The Giovanni Consort got the email request to join the Stones on stage for 'You can't always get what you want' months and months in advance. I wasn't able to sing the first time the concert came around but in a bittersweet turn of events after Mick Jagger's wife passed in March, the performance was postponed till October. This time, I was free for both of the newly booked concerts, taking my place at the sound check along my brothers and sisters of the Consort.

It was quite surreal to be on stage with these hardened professional rockers and of course the legendary Mr Jagger who was by no means an 'over the hill' performer in his later years. He is still so on top of the game! The noise on the stage from not just the speakers but also from the huge audience was incredible! It may have just been one song but it felt like we could be part of Perth's pop music history as Mick started off the crowd's cheer when he thanked the Giovanni Consort to the sold out Perth Arena.

Check out the youTube video one of the audience members took below:

Hänsel & Gretel Father interview with OperaBox.

posted 20 May 2014, 05:46 by Thomas Friberg   [ updated 20 May 2014, 05:53 ]

In the lead up to the season of H&G, I was asked a couple of questions about the role of the Father:

Review: Morning Melodies Opera Concert

posted 1 Jul 2013, 21:05 by Thomas Friberg

Reviewer: Carol Flavell Neist 
Opera Concert 
His Majesty's Theatre 

If anything, this Morning Melodies Opera Concert was even better than last year’s offering – and last year’s offering was very good indeed. Five young artists, with the benefit of some very skilled and imaginative direction, delivered an hour of operatic bliss to a packed house.
Soprano Emma Pettermides is a chorus member of the WA Opera. I could find no further information on this fine performer, which is disappointing. She’s obviously experienced and very well-trained, but she needs a web site, a blog and a Facebook page! Pettermides gave us excerpts from works as disparate as Don Giovanni and West Side Story, all delivered with flair and expression. Her renderings of popular favourites such as the Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus made her an instant hit with the enthusiastic audience.
Mezzo soprano Caitlin Cassidy (not to be confused with the American entertainer of the same name!) holds the Wesfarmers Scholarship as a Young Artist with the WA Opera. She is also approaching the end of a Master of Creative Arts degree at WAAPA. Cassidy demonstrated from the very first item that she is a talent to watch. She is not only a fine mezzo, she is also comical and she obviously enjoys performing. Her voice is well-suited to the classics of Mozart and Rossini, yet she also gave us the very funny ‘Alto’s Lament’, with lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich.
Not familiar with this entertaining – and, sadly, very true – song? Hie thee to thy favourite download site and seek it out. Several recorded versions are available, including one by the song’s creators, but I defy any of them to better Cassidy’s performance. She is the only one of these performers to have appeared in last year’s Morning Melodies concert, and her work this year is even better than before. She has grown considerably in confidence and presence.
Richard Symons, tenor, is singing with the WA Opera, but as with Emma Pettermides, he seems to be publicity-shy and I could find no further information on this talented artist. He was, perhaps, a trifle nervous in the first solo of the concert, ‘Ecco Ridente’ from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and as a result sounded slightly strained. But as the show wore on, he relaxed and showed himself to be a most promising tenor. His voice blended beautifully with that of Pettermides in the duet from The Merry Widow, here titled ‘Love Unspoken’. (This lilting triple-time opus turns up under various names in English: you might know it as ‘Forbidden Words’, or simply as ‘The Merry Widow Waltz’.) Like the other popular classic numbers on the program, this one was well-received.
Tom Friberg, baritone, is studying mechanical engineering and physics, but he is well-known around the singing traps as well. He has sung with the St George's Cathedral Consort, The National Youth Choir of Great Britain, The Oxford Bach Choir, and the Kings College London Opera Society, as well as the WA Opera. Friberg was seldom offstage from the opening number, ‘Zitti, Zitti’ from The Barber of Seville to the final quartet, ‘One Day More’ from Les Misérables. Quietly professional, he supported the other singers in duets and group numbers as well as giving us a convincing rendition of the ‘Catalogue’ aria from Don Giovanni. This is usually played as a serious scene, which ends with the lovelorn Elvira vowing vengeance on her betrayer, but Caitlin Cassidy lightened it by her inherent humorous streak without ever upstaging Friberg’s Leporello. Rather than anguish, Cassidy’s Elvira gave us a ‘Well, what the hell do you expect’ kind of cynicism, which worked well in this context.
Friberg then switched roles to join Pettermides in the lovely duet for Don Giovanni and Donna Elvira, ‘Là ci darem la mano’. Their voices blend well. Friberg has an enviable talent in his ability to match his voice to those of other singers.
Incidentally, Don Giovanni is to be the next WA Opera production. You can catch it at His Majesty’s between 18-27 July.
Pianist Lochlan Brown, ex WAAPA and UWA, holds the Bendat Scholarship as a current Young Artist of the opera. This is another performer who needs to publicise himself more. He has a gift worth boasting about, demonstrated not only by his sympathetic accompanying but also by a dashing rendition of Granados’s Spanish Dance no. 5 in his half-time solo spot. Brown was, of course, on stage the whole time, playing with accuracy and élan throughout.
The program gradually became lighter. Leaving Rossini and Mozart for Johan Strauss, thence through Gilbert and Sullivan to Franz Lehár, Rogers and Hammerstein, Bernstein and Schönberg, the audience became more and more enthusiastic as they were whisked through favourites from the late 19th and 20th centuries. Especially well-received was the encore number, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, popularised by Liverpudlian pop group Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963. This song is much-loved by association football aficionados around the world, and is particularly associated with the Liverpool Football Club, but never did Gerry and his mates or any football crowd out-sing our doughty Young Artists.
In reviewing last year’s Opera Concert, my criticism was that the singers did not act well. That has been well and truly remedied with this crew. Margrete Hegelby, a former member of the WA Ballet, directed the production, and her understanding of the connection between movement and character has rubbed off on our young quartet. They even threw in the odd little dance step when the music and characterisation permitted it. Thank you, Margrete Hegelby, and thanks also to Burhan Gȕner and his skilful musical direction. The entire show was an utter delight.
Rating: 4½ stars out of 5
The West Australian Opera and His Majesty’s Theatre present
Morning Melodies Opera Concert
Director: Margrete Hegelby
Musical Direction: Burhan Gűner

Review: A morning to remember

posted 1 Jul 2013, 20:57 by Thomas Friberg

The West Australian - 28 June 2013 

Reviewer: Neville Cohn 
Opera Concert
His Majesty's Theatre

One of the most rewarding aspects of working as a music critic is encountering and identifying remarkable new musical talent. A few months ago, at the University of WA's Callaway Auditorium, I heard for the first time the voice of Caitlin Cassidy.

I was astonished and delighted at the artistry evident in her singing and wondered how this voice would fare in a much bigger auditorium.

On Wednesday, at a crowded His Majesty's Theatre, I listened again to, and marvelled at Cassidy's sheer beauty of tone as well as her ability to instantly evoke whatever mood was appropriate to the moment. As a rule, I'm not a betting man but I would unhesitatingly put money on this remarkable voice.

In Cruda Sorte! from Rossini's Italian Girl in Algiers She was phenomenal. And in Alto's Lament by Heisler and Goldrich, in which an alto complains that it is the sopranos who always get the best melodies, she brought the house down.

Here, as throughout the program, Lochlan Brown was beyond reproach as accompanist although his Granados solo might
have been heard to better advantage with the lid of the grand piano fully open.

WA Opera does important work in providing opportunities for up-and-coming singers and this was much in evidence not only in Cassidy's fine offerings but those of soprano Emma Pettemerides, tenor Richard Symons and baritone Thomas Friberg. The trio's offering of Never-Mind the Why and Wherefore from Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore was a delight - and in I Feel Pretty from West Side Story, Pettemerides, Cassidy and Symons triggered an ovation.

Bouquets to director Margrete Helgeby for her imaginative deployment of the singers. The lighting design, too, enhanced the pleasure of a most worthwhile Morning Melodies.

Review: A symphony of splendour

posted 27 May 2013, 18:07 by Thomas Friberg   [ updated 27 May 2013, 18:08 ]

The West Australian - 28 May 2013 

Reviewer: Neville Cohn 
UWA Symphony Orchestra 
Winthrop Hall 

Three days short of the 100th anniversary of the first performance in Paris of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Christopher van Tuinen took a near-100-strong orchestra through an often blazingly intense account of a work that triggered riots at its long-ago Paris premiere.

There weren't any disturbances at Sunday's performance. Rather, the capacity audience listened in silence bordering on reverence. It was a splendid idea to mount this centenary performance as part of UWA's own centennial celebrations.

This is not to suggest the performance was flawless. It wasn't. There were some lapses in intonation and occasional lack of definition - but these blips did little to detract from the overarching intensity and drive of the playing.

Throughout, grainy-toned strings and flaring brass underscored the barbaric intensity of much of the writing. This was a gratifyingly committed reading.

There was more splendour after interval in an account- too rare, by far - of Rachmaninov's The Bells based on Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem of the same name.

Here, the combined forces of UWA Choral Society and UWA Symphonic Chorus gave their best. And although occasionally, diction was not as clear as one might have hoped, corporate tone and fine projection compensated in large measure.

Of the three vocal soloists, I especially liked the performance of baritone Thomas Friberg who sang his words with very real understanding of their dark undercurrent - and projected his voice most effectively.

Tenor Jun Zhang, too, brought to his words great intensity of feeling in a vocal line that, for the most part, effortlessly rode the crest of the accompanying orchestral wave. There was, as well, a most pleasing solo from soprano Toni Johnson.

An all-Russian compilation opened with Mussorgsky's ever popular Night on Bald Mountain, with the players seeming to relish getting to noisy grips with the composer's dramatic notion of satanic revelry.

Live recordings from Messiah concert

posted 30 Oct 2012, 10:02 by Thomas Friberg

This is my first Messiah as a soloist and for a first crack at it with a good audience and backing, I'm pretty pleased. After a long time trying to re-develop technique for the future, this has been the first concert where the voice has really sat where I've wanted it. While there are improvements to be made, I have a feeling there'll be plenty of chances in the coming years.

New Reviews page

posted 25 Oct 2011, 04:24 by Thomas Friberg

After finding a review of the Oxford Bach Choir concert I did back in June, I thought it would be a good idea to collect past reviews on a new mini-blog. Check out the new Reviews page with its first addition from the Oxford Monteverdi concert.

My first competition in quite a while

posted 14 Aug 2011, 04:42 by Thomas Friberg   [ updated 15 Aug 2011, 07:37 ]

Royal Schools Music Club competition
I've just been competing in the Royal Schools Music Club competition in cooperation with the Royal overseas league for young singers.

Having needed to get some more recital practice since my last real memory based performance back in 2007 at the end of TEE music, this little competition gave a good chance to sing a 12 minute program. I ended up winning second prize. Recordings from my performance are below:

Sebben, Crudele from Antoio Caldara’s 18th century opera is sung by a man whose wife has scorned him. He laments to her that however cruel she is, he will continue loving her in the hope that she may one day come back to him.
My second piece will be from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and in a similar vein, Figaro is left brooding with the suspicion that his wife may be meeting the Count behind his back. He continues to describe the vicious and deceptive qualities that make up a woman.
Wir Wandeltern by Brahms is a song depicting a couple walking along together without sight or sound but just the feeling of being supremely content: ‘A feeling that nothing else in the world could echo’.
In my final piece, George Butterworth creates a touching conversation in ‘Is my team ploughing’ between two old friends. The dead man asks questions of his living compatriot. He asks about the way of the living world and also of the fate of the love he left behind.

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