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Home's where the heart is: Mirusia prepares for Redland concert

Culture

Alongside stadium-packing Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, Mirusia has performed at some of the biggest venues in the world, but the Redland City-raised soprano will be singing in a suitably intimate setting for her Valentine’s Eve hometown show at Redland Performing Arts Centre.

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From the Heart, Mirusia’s first full-scale show of the year, will feature accompaniment from a range of musicians, including musical director Shane Calderbank and 10-piece ensemble Vocal Manoeuvres.

The February 13 concert will include songs spanning her career including her favourite songs from musicals, highlights from her albums From the Heart, This Time Tomorrow and A Salute to the Seekers, and a slew of original compositions.

Mirusia’s homecoming show represents a full-circle moment for the singer, who cut her teeth performing at the nearby Redland Sporting Club, and as she told InQueensland, without that early platform her career trajectory may have been very different.

“Redlands is a small community and Redland Sporting Club supported me so much, they helped to sponsor my first EP, they gave me a little bit of money for the EP and I did my launch in the auditorium upstairs.

“That same EP landed on Andre Rieu’s desk, so without that support, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now – I know it wouldn’t be where I am now because I think you just give up because nobody cares.”

Rieu has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and with his Johan Strauss Orchestra, he’s transformed and popularised orchestral and waltz music to such a degree that his concerts have sold out venues – including Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium – that are usually reserved for pop stars such as Adele and Taylor Swift.

Mirusia has been touring with Rieu as his star soprano since 2007 and has also developed a worldwide fanbase in her own right but the upcoming RPAC show will be her first hometown show in several years.

“It’s been a long time since performed in Redlands, because I’m always overseas,” Mirusia told InQueensland. “Obviously, I can’t be overseas right now and I think the last concert I did [in Redland City] was in 2013, so it is pretty exciting to be coming back home.”

Mirusia hastened to add that she currently lives in the Redlands after purchasing a house in the area a couple of years ago with the intention of “returning to my roots at the right time”.

“We accidentally bought a house in the Redlands,” she laughed. “We put in a low bid and I guess we’re lucky, because I wouldn’t want to be living anywhere else right now, having a look at my family and friends in the Netherlands, where I’ve lived for the last 10 years.

“They’re not even doing concerts yet, they’re not even at that stage yet, they’re still in lockdown, they’ve even got time restrictions during the evening where they can’t even leave their homes.

“I’m really lucky to be here and really looking forward to this concert, which will kick off my concert schedule for this year.”

Mirusia, who trained at Queensland Conservatorium, said she was particularly excited to showcase the talents of Vocal Manoeuvres, who have previously accompanied the singer on overseas tours, to her hometown audience.

“The 10 voices of Vocal Manoeuvres have been around the world with me but now they’ll be back in the Redlands with me – and most of them are from the Redlands, too, so that makes it even more exciting,” she said.

Mirusia said she has taken pride in being able to play a role in mentoring the talented singers, some of whom are about to follow the same path she did by studying at Griffith University’s Conservatorium of Music.

“A lot of these singers are actually just before they’re about to join the Con, they’re in Vocal Manoeuvres and they’re learning from me how to audition and things like that. “One of the girls that’s going to be singing, her name is Lauren, and she’s actually going to be in her first year at the Con this year.

“She performed with me in Toowoomba about five years ago and she came to me this year at Christmas and said, ‘Mirusia, I’ve got something really exciting to tell you, when I performed with you in Toowoomba, you actually gave me the idea of becoming a classical singer and that it isn’t nerdy to do so and that it’s actually kind of cool. So I just wanted to tell you that because of you I’ve now auditioned for the Conservatorium and I’ve gotten in and I’m going to be starting my classical vocal studies.’

“I was so excited for her and to hear stories like that, that’s what I aim to do.”

Mirusia said she hoped to resume with Rieu at some point in the future but admitted that was likely to be a long way off.

“Right now, Andre’s just trying to get through, ” she said. “He’s still paying his full-time musicians,  so that’s been a big struggle too, because he has 100 people in employment with him, so it’s been really hard for him and the orchestra … and not only for him but for everyone, especially in Europe, where it looks like there’s no end in sight.

“I think right now they’re just really hoping that this vaccine is going to be a big success, so fingers crossed that maybe next year we can all get together again but at this point I have things to focus our game. I’m just looking forward to my concert in Redlands at this point, and taking it one step at a time.”

Mirusia plays Redlands Performing Arts Centre on February 13.  Visit the website for tickets.

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