Singing Brel is dipping your toe into different worlds and being sucked deep into different lives, emerging shaking or heartbroken or elated or ecstatic… and ready to dive straight into the next one! You cannot just sing these songs; you have to live them. You have to inhabit them, and honour the worlds and people he has created by throwing every part of your soul into them and bringing your whole self to the stories. It’s exhausting and wonderful and cathartic, and after the carousel, I always feel that everyone in the room has met some new friends and seen some new hearts open before them, and we have all spun around on this wonderful, kaleidoscopic ride together!
I am so excited to be bringing Brel to City Recital Hall. Brel is all about simplicity, truth and atmosphere, and the Recital Hall seems the perfect venue to pull the focus down to a fine point on the storytelling. It’s one of the things I love the most about singing here – you can create moments of huge drama and moments of intense silence. You have the whole spectrum of dynamics, both vocally and emotionally, to paint with, and that is a rare and wonderful opportunity. I cannot wait to hear how Brel’s brilliant songs sound in that incredible acoustic!
I’ve just performed The Loves of Apollo and Dafne with Pinchgut Opera at City Recital Hall, so it feels a bit like coming home! Apollo and Dafne let me flex my comedy chops, and there’s certainly a bit of that in the Brel show, albeit the darker side of the comedy spectrum. I went straight from that to singing in Anna Karenina with The Australian Ballet, which was brilliantly expansive Russian singing, with moments of lyrical tragedy seamlessly interwoven with folk songs of hope and joy, so I feel that my lead-up to this show could not have been more appropriate!
When I began writing this show, I sat down with my Musical Director Daryl Wallis and Creative Advisor Sam Russell and shared the list of Brel songs I was dying to sing. Suffice to say, the show would have been seven hours long. At least! One of the toughest parts of creating the show was deciding which songs to keep and which songs to cut. Every single song is a sliver of genius and my heart broke a little each time I agreed to lose one from the list until those still standing had well and truly earned their place in the program.
That said, I’m utterly determined to pop them all back in for my sequel shows in years to come. Brel II? Back To Brel? Brelentless?
I’m not fussed about the name, as long as I get to sing his songs forever!
Jacqui Dark sings Brel at City Recital Hall on Tuesday 20 July, as a part of our A Little Lunch Music series.