By CASS MARRETT
Baritone singer and pianist Timothy Burrell promises an unforgettable afternoon at Queenstown’s Thomas Brown Gallery tomorrow.
This is the second time Burrell’s performed in Queenstown, after he accompanied New York-based opera singer Emily Mwila at her one-off local performance in January.
This time, Burrell’s accompanied by soprano singer Claire Filer and Kyle Hsieh, a talented, 17-year-old pianist from Greymouth.
The three musicians will be performing some operatic hits, some musical theatre and several art song pieces, which Burrell says is the perfect genre for a space like Thomas Brown Gallery.
‘‘It’s small and intimate, which is perfect for the style of singing we’re doing.
‘‘Art song was really intended for the home, for very small spaces, for people’s lounges, and 50 people would cram into a very small room back in the 19th century when it really started to blossom in places like Vienna.’’
He says the audience can expect a huge array of music, love songs and ‘‘some very moving moments’’.
Burrell speaks highly of the two performers he’ll be sharing the stage with — describing them both as highly talented.
‘‘Claire’s a professional opera singer based in London … she sings a wide range of music so she’s very good with [singing in] French, German, English and Italian,’’ Burrell says.
Kyle, who will be accompanying the singers and playing collaborative piano with Burrell, began as a percussionist and has only been learning piano for six years.
‘‘He’s made remarkable progress and he’s instinctively musical, he’ll follow everything you do, and if you tell him what to do, he’ll just do it.”
Burrell himself showed an affinity for music from a young age.
‘‘I think I’ve been singing as long as I can talk and I just haven’t been able to shut up either singing or talking,’’ Burrell jokes.
He began to take singing seriously when he was about nine, when he joined the Auckland Boys’ Choir.
‘‘I think that set me up for a profession, really, because you learn so much … it was a whole new level moving into that elite sphere of music making.’’
A major influence, Burrell says, is his father who was also a singer but chose to be an engineer.
‘‘I’ve really followed in his footsteps.
‘‘He even taught me piano for a good period and he’s always on hand to give me advice about my singing.
‘‘He’s an astute musician, that’s for sure.’’
Burrell’s current focus is seeing how far he can take his career.
Tomorrow’s show will be the last stop on a tour encompassing Christchurch and Greymouth.
Burrell is planning further recitals in Auckland, Nelson and on the West Coast this year.
Love Songs, Timothy Burrell with Claire Filer and Kyle Hsieh, Sunday 3pm, Thomas Brown Gallery. Tickets $50 via Eventbrite or Lakes District Museum