Michael Curtain is a pianist, repetiteur and conductor, and currently Assistant Chorus Master and Children’s Chorus Master at Opera Australia. He has performed with the Opera Australia Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Sydney Symphony Fellowship and Sinfonia, and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. In 2024 he makes his Musica Viva Australia debut as pianist in Long Lost Loves (and Grey Suede Gloves), an evening of storytelling across the piano, with singer Anna Dowsley.
Ashleigh Ho sat down with Michael to talk about the upcoming tour.
Hi Michael. Can you tell me a little about William Bolcom and music?
William Bolcom's music is fantastic. This group of songs are written in a cabaret style, so that adds all sorts of different elements like jazz influences, for instance. He himself is a fantastic pianist and wrote these songs for his wife, who is also a mezzo-soprano. That, for me, makes things more easy and more difficult, because he's clearly a very fine pianist. Some of the passages are fiendishly difficult, and then there also are the passages that are sublimely beautiful, that really reflect the text.
I have only performed a few of these songs in the past, mainly as encores: popular ones that many people may have heard of before, like George, Amor, Black Max, and a very beautiful song called Waiting. I've performed all of these with different singers in the past, but it's exciting to explore all four volumes of Cabaret Songs with Anna.
What are you looking forward to most about this tour?
I'm mostly looking forward to touring the country with one of my best friends. We've performed together many times and even the rehearsal process, putting this together has been fantastic. Working with Con Costi, who's also a dear friend and colleague, is great, and taking it on the road is the icing on the cake!