Interview: Mirusia

Ben Stefanoff interviews the “Angel of Australia”, Mirusia

Originally scheduled to grace the Regal Theatre stage last Christmas, Mirusia is finally coming to Adelaide with her show Live In Concert this coming weekend.

Mirusia shot to fame when she received a call from Andre Rieu himself, asking the soprano to tour the world with his shows. The virtuosic violinist quickly dubbed Mirusia the ‘Angel of Australia’. I caught up with the Angel of Australia recently, and she shared with me how music has always been a big part of her life from a very young age.

“My parents are Dutch and I was born in Brisbane. When I went to kindergarten the staff realised I didn’t speak English yet, so they looked at ways to get me to speak in English quickly. The fastest way to learn a language is through music, so my parents purchased a cassette tape of Don Spencer’s Feathers, Fur or Fins and Spaghetti Bolognaise by Peter Combe. I used to listen to these cassette tapes a lot, and not only did they help me to speak English, but they taught me to sing. My parents quickly realised that I had a talent for singing. When I was at school I was in the choir and was picked to do the solos and things like that, and then I ended up going to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and studied a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance. In 2006 I won the Dame Joan Sullivan Award; I was the youngest person to ever win that award and that gave me a big publicity advantage. So much so that the EP that I recorded with the prize money ended up on Andre Rieu’s desk. He actually called me and I’ve been touring the world with him since 2007!”

Most recently, Mirusia finished her nationwide Tribute To The Seekers concert tour after the release of her highly successful album.

“I think just about every Australian has come across the music of the Seekers. I have spoken to people of many different age groups and they have been, “Oh yes, I grew up listening to them.” When I was 8 years old we got a CD player, and one of the first CD’s we got was the Seekers 25th Anniversary album. I used to choreograph dances to Georgie Girl in the living room and make my parents watch me. I was always assured an applause because it was a live album! Fast forward to 2010 and Andre Rieu came to me and said we needed a special guest group for the Australian tour. I told him that there were only really two options – The Seekers or The Wiggles. He chose The Seekers. After performing with them on Andre’s Australian tour, we stayed in contact and I have a special relationship with all four of them. In 2019 I recorded my Seekers Album and went to them to get their approval. They even wrote a foreword for the album, which made it even more special. When I released the album, I took a copy to Judith Durham and asked her for her honest feedback on it. We spent an afternoon together and she was so complimentary of the album and told me that if she had actually studied classical voice like she wanted to, the original recordings may have sounded more like mine!

“The tour was only meant to be a 40 day tour in 2019, but thanks to COVID, the final performance was on Thursday 12th May 2022 in Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. It was such an emotional experience. Just thinking about it now, I’m tearing up. We got to the last song and I was saying my goodbyes to the audience – I said that “the Carnival is over” and as I sang that song the tears were flowing, my eyelashes were hanging off my face. I was a mess. It was such an emotional experience.”

Mirusia will be back in Adelaide this Friday night and Saturday afternoon for her very special concert at the stunning Regal Theatre. She will be joined on stage by some very special guests, including Adelaide’s own Emma Kavanagh.

“I’m so excited that Emma will be joining me. A number of years ago, after I had just given birth to my daughter, I was doing some yoga for mums who had just given birth when I got a call from the local Queensland Pops Orchestra. They were performing two shows that day and had Lucy Durack booked. However, Lucy had become ill and I got the call to do the show two hours later. One of the pieces in the set list was For Good from Wicked, which I sang with Emma. I had never met her before in my life and just clicked with her. She then joined me on my Christmas tour later that year and we’ve been very good friends ever since.

“I will also be joined by Vocal Manoeuvres, who are a group of singers from Brisbane, as well as my Musical Director Shane Calderbank. Local string group Amicus Strings will also be joining me at The Regal Theatre. It’s going to be such a celebration of some of the most beautiful tunes ever written, including a few of my own originals. I’m so thrilled to finally be able to do these shows!”

Mirusia – Live In Concert will be performing Friday May 20 at 8pm and Saturday May 21 at 2.30pm at The Regal Theatre. Tickets through https://www.trybooking.com/BWFHW .

Interview by Ben Stefanoff

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