On Tuesday two young Perth singers will get a taste of choral heaven when they perform in Handel's Messiah at the Concert Hall.
"It's very exciting," says 20-year-old baritone Lucien Fischer, who is studying voice at the University of WA. "I love performing in the Perth Concert Hall and the Messiah is such a great work."
Fischer and fellow UWA voice student, 21-year-old soprano Brianna Louwen, are members of the St George's Cathedral Consort, an elite choir which under the direction of St George's organist and master of choristers Joseph Nolan has rapidly developed into a truly world-class outfit. This will be the first time it has performed Handel's choral masterpiece outside the notoriously dry acoustics of the cathedral.
Fischer, who began learning violin and piano at age four but fell in love with the voice as a student at Hale School, has been doing a bit of conducting himself, having recently been appointed conductor of the newly formed WA Medical Students Orchestra.
"It's my first conducting gig but it's just one of those things you have to throw yourself into," he says. "It's a charity orchestra; these are uni students who learned an instrument when they were younger but don't play so much now because they're frantically studying medicine. They just wanted to pick up their instruments again and have a bit of fun."
In June Fischer and Louwen travel to Brisbane to take part in the National Youth Choir of Australia 2012 season.
Fischer says that gig will be fun as well. "Brisbane is an up-and-coming choral centre and there are a few of us from Perth heading over there. It'll be a great opportunity to build contacts, meet other singers and have a great time."
Louwen agrees, especially since she's aware it's more difficult for sopranos to gain a place than it is for the less common tenor and baritone voices. "Oh yes, there are a lot more women and a lot fewer spots," she says. "I'm definitely lucky."
Like Fischer, Louwen intends to travel a little further than Brisbane in order to further her studies.
"Early music, definitely; opera, hopefully," she laughs. <div class="endnote">