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Episode 77 – Anna Fraser |A professional vocalist who specialises in Baroque and Renaissance music

Updated: Jun 5, 2023




In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Anna Fraser, what age she would like to go back to and what advice she would give herself at that age! We also talk about main causes of body image issues, how they come up and how she overcomes it. And we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.


You can READ the interview transcript HERE


 

10 Facts About Anna Fraser

(at the time of the project)


1. 45 years old.

2. Anna was born in Sydney, Australia and loves living here.

3. She’s been married to Daniel for almost 25 years and they have a son Horatio, who is seven.

4. They also have 13 baby leaf insects as home pets.

5. Anna enjoys diving all around the world and going to remote places.

6. Anna is a professional vocalist, classical performer and she specialises in Baroque and Renaissance music as well as very contemporary opera. Anna has worked with a number of ensembles in Australia and across the world as well.

7. At the beginning of this year, she was invited to return to study at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney to discover and research vocal expressive techniques that were utilised 250-300 years ago. The project is called “Rediscovering the techniques of Bel canto”.

8. Anna is actually doing a Doctorate of Musical Arts and this research project comes prior to that.

9. Anna had quite a few challenging projects, One of the interesting and very challenging projects Anna did was work called Antarctica, by a female composer who's based in Melbourne, Mary Finster. It was the world premiere in Holland last May, and it was great to do it a second time in Sydney at Carriageworks.

10. And one of the very unusual place Anna has sung was while she was diving!


 

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

(auto-generated)


Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.


(singing)


This is the 45 over 45 chapter where we celebrate Rule Breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their sensuality beauty, soul, and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and we listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at info@aleksandrawalker.com That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com


Hello, everyone, and welcome to the My Body My Story project, and today with us in the studio Anna. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair, and Chitra is creating magic, doing a makeup for her, I will interview her and ask a few questions. So let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.


Alexandra, my name is Anna Fraser and I am a professional vocalist, classical performer. And I specialise in Baroque and Renaissance music as well as very contemporary opera. And I've worked with a number of ensembles in Australia and across the world as well.


I have a husband Daniel and a son Horatio who is seven. And if you'd like no pets, we currently have some leaf insects.


And the main leaf insect actually passed away. But she made a whole lot of clones of herself. And so we have a now 13 Baby clarice's. I've never actually had leaf insects before, but they're quite fascinating. But I'm not going to talk about that today.


I live in Sydney, I was born in Sydney. And I love living in Sydney. But we also do a lot of travelling as well. We enjoy diving, we've just been to Indonesia. But we enjoy diving all around the world and going to remote places. But my passion is singing and discovering new works as well as performing new works as well. So discovering new works in the sense that we sort of uncover older compositions. And the beginning of this year, I was invited to return to study at the Conservatorium of Music here in Sydney. And it was quite an unexpected invitation. But this was quite coincidental in a sense, discovering and sort of researching vocal expressive techniques that were utilised, you know, some 250 300 years ago. So this is from the 1700s through to the 1900s. And the specific research is relevant because we only have a partial snapshot of what those vocal sounds or what those things were doing, at that time, through looking at source material, but we don't have recordings. So the project, which is called rediscovering the techniques of Bel Canto, is basically going back in time from the earliest recordings of 1850. But listening to these recordings and sort of emulating these recordings. So understanding how these things use their expressive techniques to make the word sound more like their meaning.


But for me, I'm actually doing a Doctorate of Musical Arts, which is a research project looking at the sounds prior to that. So it's, I've only just started this research project, and it's a little bit daunting, to say the least, I'm doing lots of reading, but I'm trying to find or devise a way of reconstructing this sound world. And understanding how these singers from the 1700s would have actually performed because it was different, you know, for females in particular.


Then they didn't have musical positions. They didn't work at court, and they were less represented. So I feel like this is a really great opportunity to sort of delve into, you know, some private environments. If, if there is information there to find, too and stand what their daily life was like, as working musicians, because there were individuals that were actively performing and writing, you know, large scale works. There's an individual who I would like to focus on her name is Maria Anna Martinez, and she was based in Vienna, and she had all these well known composers in their youth, and also, you know, in their established careers surrounding her yet no one knew of her. So it's going to be a really interesting process of uncovering some some new compositions and representing them, hopefully in a way that may sound more like what they were doing as expressive vocalists of the time. What else can I say about myself?


I read this book, literature. And maybe it's nothing to do with the real history, but George Sand, Consuelo. It's about the opera singer, and I think I don't remember now, was it in 1800s? Or 1700s? Was it about that time about the life of this opera singer. So it's


Do you remember her name?


The author was George Sand, the book called Consuelo and the hero of this book, Consuelo, she's, well, okay, yeah, and I think it's about the Spain or something. And it's been very long time I read the book, and I actually want to read it again. But just while I was listening to you, I remember that, I think maybe you should also read it

(Pauline Viardot is the supposed inspiration for Consuelo – Editor)


Yeah, absolutely. No, I already have a huge reading list. But I can always add more to it.


So if someone wants to find you, where they can find you? Instagram? Website?


On my own website https://www annafraser.net.au and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/fraseranna/ in reverse, and also Facebook, Fraser Anna, but also working with different ensembles, if you're interested in Baroque or contemporary music. Then I'm working with Pinchgut opera, who are based in Sydney, they're a specialised opera company. I've worked with them for almost 20 years. And I've done a number of productions with them as a soloist as well as the chorus and they do other festivals as well. And touring projects. And then in the contemporary sphere, I work with the City Chamber Opera, who we have recently done a very large scale work, which was a co promotion or collaboration commission, with Sydney Festival, as well as festival of Holland.


So we went to Holland last May, and did the world premiere of this particular work called Antarctica, by a female composer who's based in Melbourne, Mary Finster. It was a really interesting project, it was great to be able to do it a second time. We did it Carriageworks here in Sydney, at the last city festival, but it was unbelievably challenging, in many ways, because of the set design and the lighting design. But the concept was really interesting. So it was these three characters that were past ghosts of someone else's psyche. And I played the natural philosopher. And the idea was that, you know, these three individuals, a natural philosopher, a cartographer, and also a theologian, in that sense of the the 18th century, heading into the heading into the unknown, and just trying to discover what may be at the end of the earth, so they go to Antarctica, however, there's no ship in this particular production. So it was, in a sense, quite challenging to be a past memory of more contemporary characters. And we were singing in this way, that was representative of say, Renaissance style vocal techniques. And the most challenging part of it was being in this box, which did represent the ship but it was full of water vapour or haze, because the lighting effect that this wonderful lighting artist Alex Blush had created, was altering the LED lights in these panels to appear and disappear.


For us, however, we were told that it wasn't going to heat up over the 90 minutes of this particular production in Holland. And we had quite a lot of complications with just sort of satin. doing that. So suppose performances, but at one point, it was 38 degrees inside the box. And we were wearing winter period costumes, and sweating buckets, it was just one of those things. And when you have to sing, you know, quite an extended sort of solo section for a good 15 minutes. It was like going through unbelievable endurance, but you come up the other side and think, okay, yes, I survived that, what else can I do? So unfortunately, you get these composers that I associate with who are totally wonderful, and extremely supportive at the same time. Because I don't get any ideas that you know, this is normal practice that we sort of put ourselves under these types of conditions and expect to sort of do hurdles, and, and loops and all that sort of stuff.


I did a project a couple of weeks ago, which was a solo work with Oregon, actually. And similarly, it was a good 90 minutes of almost continual singing, again, more endurance. And then the same individual said, Oh, I've got some great ideas for new work. I'm like, Don't you dare.


But it was a project that I had recorded in Holland as well, almost eight years ago. And the recording itself was a great experience. But it was the middle of winter, and it was probably between 10 and 12 degrees at night in this particular church that had a very specific organ. That was from the 1750s. So it was very close to when this composition was written in sort of 1720, or something like this, but it was quite unusual. It was it's an Easter setting …And it's usually performed leading up to Easter on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as separate things, but you can't encourage people these days to be available for like three days, you know, to experience this type of, you know, sort of musical performance. So I decided to do it back to back, which was yeah, quite challenged.



For how long, you can sing comfortably, like…I know, it's probably depends on the …


probably this you know, 90 minutes. Once you get to get to that point, then you start to think, oh, gosh, I haven't been to the bathroom for a while, or I really need a glass of water. I'm one that doesn't tend to drink fluid. During my performances, it's one of those things that you know, it seems to adjust, you know, mucus levels and all that sort of stuff. But a lot of people do, you know, constantly sort of refuel, but then you really need to go the bathroom. Just kind of the logic of it all. But yes, each singer,


So we had a lady on the project, who is a harpist. And we asked her this question. So I want to repeat this question for you - What was the most weird or interesting place you had to sing in?


this probably production was the strangest in the box in a box. That's probably number one. However, we've done some pretty weird things. You know, in trapezes, upside down, people ask all sorts of strange things of you. I do a lot of experimental music as well. So we did a project earlier this year, which was a recording project for an installation artwork. And even though the sound files that we created weren't particularly unusual, the idea of, you know, how it all sort of comes together. And, and whether we sort of integrate with sort of life will integrate live performance with, say, an artwork becomes quite interesting that you know, you have this sort of sound world, you have this sort of Sonic atmosphere that you create in a space. So if you do something at the MCA, or a power house, or different facilities, where you are responsive to your environment, then sometimes things get pretty weird because also you have like a reverberant space where you're having to constantly sort of adjust your sound. You hear different things as well.


I've sung while diving. Not that that was for anyone's benefit, but my own. So I do a lot of diving, and I had a conversation with a fellow in the most recent trip who teach is free diving and he was talking about different breathing techniques. And he was asking me about my breathing techniques when it came to singing and whether, you know, my voice was affected while I did diving. And there are a few different examples of how this sort of integrates with your breath. But mixing to the fish, and they're the only ones that benefit.



I also noticed is quite interesting combination that the singer and you like diving and it's such kind of from going vocal to keeping quiet and then, but it's connected with the briefing technique. So what's your favourite place for diving, you know, in the world?


Well, returning to Indonesia, this was the second time we've gone back to this particular spot in northern Sulawesi is Sulawesi, which is bunker Island and limber, we do this muck diving, find all the little critters, and sort of see beautiful reef walls really is very spectacular. But what's beautiful about some of these more remote places in Southeast Asia is just that it's quiet. And you know, we're away from the metropolis. My finding, the older I get, the more I want to sort of retreat away from kind of, you know, the density, but then my job is performing for audiences. And so you have to find this happy balance between doing something that requires this responsive engagement with an audience, what I love to do is actually make my words sound more like their meaning. That's what our job is, our role is as a singer, is to really communicate those words and the poetry that's been set to music, in whatever style of music, but it doesn't work if you don't really connect with your audience. And what's the most rewarding is getting that, that sense of back, that there is that connection with your audience. And that's what we missed most, that's what I miss most, when we didn't have the opportunity to perform through COVID. We didn't have audiences, you know, singers had killer chords, all that sort of stuff.

But now that we're sort of back in to the swing of things, you know, I'm appreciating because of my age as well. But I'm appreciating every moment that I'm on stage,


You didn't mention your age


I am 45 I'll be 46 later on this year. In the grand scheme of things, you know, there are many soprano on my heels to get the get the next job. What I specialise in is quite unique. And also you only gain that kind of experience through basically just singing lots and lots of different types of repertoire does do singers have retirement age, or it's all depends what happens when the voice besides you know, it's fatigued. You know, if you protect your voice, don't do such extreme things, I suppose.


But those singers that I'm actually listening to, in this bel canto project, some of the recordings from say, like 1905 90, and 10, then these very famous opera singers say, like nearly Melba from Australia, but there was another individual who's very famous Italian singer Adelina Patti. And the recordings that she did, the very first ones were from, you know, the beginning of the 20th century. And she was in her 60s, and still sounding like an absolute angel. So the fact is, you can't tell what's going to happen with your instrument. I think females in general, they're able to maintain a bit more control of their instrument in their older age, but then, again, you know, we have to sort of manage the wobble.


If we're physically out of shape, then or not able to control muscular leave what we're doing with the breath, then we start to get, you know, a very wide vibrato, which, stylistically, some people think it's appropriate. Other people think this is not so great. Also, there's a less distinct pitch. But I think as soon as you sort of take more and more time off, particularly in in any profession, that you sort of lose the craft you I'm sure it's the same with the makeup as well, if you lose kind of the fine motor skills, because you've taken a rest for too long, then, you know, it could be more challenging to sort of do that finer detail. Or also eyes deteriorate, that sort of thing.


So what do you do after your voice is not as before, and you decide like, okay, it's enough.


Yeah, oh, well, I had this dream during this idea in lockdown that when I retire, I might pick up the shakuhachi, which is a Japanese bamboo type a recorder, but it's a very beautiful instrument, quite Hootie, I've been quite fascinated for a long time to sort of try this, and I can get myself a teacher, I have a teacher that's available, but it's just time to be able to do this. So maybe eventually I'll take up the shakuhachi. And I'll grow dragonfruit because the flowers are so magnificent, but you know, this is you say these sorts of things, and who knows what's going to happen, you know, in the future, I didn't know that I would start, you know, doing a research project as well. And I suppose within this, this opportunity, there are going to be symposiums and forums and things like this, talking about my discoveries in different parts of the world as well.


So in some ways, I said yes to this project, because it's important to me, too. I suppose find a language to talk about these expressive techniques that I use. I haven't actually had to write this down on paper, but I do it through my expressive medium. So it's, it's changing the way that I processed the information and analyse my own performance and tried to describe this. So that, you know, in future generations, they can also be able to understand what we were doing at this time. Like we're trying to understand what happened over 200 years ago. It could be the same 200 years, if we're still here doing the same thing that like, oh, that's what they sounded like there. But we have representations of this, but maybe we need to maintain, you know, this florid language, sort of understanding the terminology and that sort of stuff. And what that meant to us.


Do you sing in English only?


No, Italian German, I'm actually preparing some, some Czech and Moravian, some DeVore Jacques Moravian, duets with a friend for the camera Festival, which is not end of next week, the beginning of the week after and when you're seeing foreign language you actually understand or like, oh, I try to we try to we saw a check coach yesterday to sort of work on this. But you know, as a classical singer, you study the big four. And also you want to discover, I suppose the the dialects This is what flavours, the music, and the nuts and bolts of singing is the consonants and the vowels and understanding how your instrument actually produces them is key. But also then it's about really using the breath in an emotional way to connect to those fundamental bits that we use to actually express ourselves whether it be through a spoken word or through song, it's the same thing so we can kind of analyse it down to what was a made up of,


Does it make a difference of birthing technique, depending on the language?


Not really, I suppose some languages have different types of aspirant sounds. Yeah. You don't have an adult's tongue in some African languages. And I find this challenging there is there are some sounds in Czech and Moravian that are a tricky as well. So it's just sort of practice getting the tongue around it. Yeah. But we do lots of different types of sounds at different speeds. And so it's basically just sort of building up that dexterity of, of how you can actually create that sound world and match it to the musical setting.


And so how you decided to become a singer, you were in the family from the family of singers?


No my grandmother, on my father's side was an organist, study individual that enjoyed playing organ for the local church. My dad does have a very nice voice, very good whistle. I have a good whistle. But don't often use it for anything in particular. My mother did some ballet, but she doesn't sing. But she has been to every performance that I did.


Have they all been in the performance industry or was it just like their hobby?


Well, no, I always sang from a very early age, and I played the violin from age four till about 20 and was never going to be a concert violinist, that's for sure. I did play in a lot of ensembles in my teenage years, and really enjoyed that. So I still consider myself Have an ensemble play an ensemble singer and I sang with an acapella ensemble of six singers for 12 years as a full time job and loved it. And I still work with different individuals in this way. But it's a very specialised world, you know, the way that we hear the sounds. And singers are emotional. And so it's intense to kind of work in unselfconscious, concentrated way, but it's extremely rewarding to be able to find these colours and the shapes and express it as we know it as a unit or as an entity. And there is lots of repertoire over hundreds of years that sort of explain the evolution of, of Western music through the sort of acapella or sort of vocal expressive devices.


So then when you graduated from the school, you're what you decided I'm going to…


Yes, so I just kept singing through high school. And then I went to the Conservatorium of Music up here at Macquarie Street in Sydney. And then I studied in, in Boston, actually at the New England Conservatory for two years and did a, a graduate programme there. Yeah. And actually, it was the reason why I've also come back to the Conservatorium is that when I was there, I wasn't given a huge number of avenues as performance, work opportunities. And in some ways, things have changed a little bit. But Australia is a long way away from Europe, there's only one at the time, there was only one opera company. And there was only kind of one pathway, either you become an operatic soloist singing predominantly Classical and Romantic repertoire. And if you don't get into the chorus, or become a soloist, then you probably go to teaching singing.


And I was a bit disheartened by this, because I didn't really sort of fit into the mould at all. And I still don't really fit into the mould. But when I went to the States, I started to sort of hear and see different types of opportunities. So there was more early music, and there was more contemporary music. And this is where I ended up getting lots more work. And when I returned to Australia, then I started to kind of find my way in, in the picture. And I've done this for the last 20 years, just kind of, you know, the the two extremes, I don't get employed to sing romantic repertoire, particularly on the upper stage, because I just don't have that type of voice.


So returning to the study, and doing the research is, in part, wanting to provide sort of insight into what it was like, back then 25 years ago, but also what what performance or work opportunities are now available for young singers. And I think there are many more, but how can, I suppose a vocal technique, a more well rounded or sort of multifaceted vocal technique be offered within music institutions to support a variety of pathways, a variety of vocal, expressive styles. So that you're not just sort of, I suppose restricted to this is the only way that you can sing because this is not the only way that we can sing. And also seeing should be supporting what the natural instrument is capable of doing. Otherwise, people get stressed and instruments suffer. And you're sort of creating a sound world, which is not really sort of sustainable for your own instrument. Everybody is different, right? Every instrument is different, every voice is different. And that's what makes us unique individuals and, you know, a populace that sort of interacts wherever you are on the world.


So yeah, it's so what about your family, your husband, your son, are they also singers?


My husband started as an actor, but he doesn't really do that anymore. He's, he enjoys diving, and he does some property management. But yeah, he's nursing and he does a very nice voice and I spare to invoice my son Horatio seven, has an extreme register, he can sing is very good is to identify, you know, colour and texture and all these things. And total extreme so he's very good at character voices, but he from the earliest age and maybe this is the thing because he has always heard me singing. He is not interested at all in teaching him a song, you know, trying to get him to sing a nursery rhyme No way.


But what my husband has been doing recently is that, you know, we are kids in the 90s. So he's been putting on, you know, some indie tunes and all our favourite rock bands actually, we went and took him to the Smashing Pumpkins the other night, which was really great. And he thought it was fantastic because we've been putting it on YouTube on the TV, and he's been doing his own work or doing a different activities. And he's been, you know, singing along to all these songs, and to actually see them in concert. He was pretty excited. He was fist pumping,


Do you go to karaoke?


I had already done karaoke twice. The first time I did it, actually. I won the competition. There was actually it was a gong show. And my husband got gone. But I won a small TV. But the second time was in Japan. And that was quite, you know, humorous. So but yeah, I don't often do karaoke. Like, you don't just trying to find an example. Like, if you're a doctor, you don't carry the stethoscope. Well, that's the thing you can't ever be without your own voice. That's why I go on to the water. So there's absolute silence.


Exactly.Excellent. It's very interesting, the stories. And let's move to the subject of our podcast theme is about ageing and body image. And my first question in this block, is, what does ageing means to you? I know you just only 45?


Yeah, well, we're gaining wisdom, but maybe we're also getting a hell of a lot more. It feels, you know, some days are hard. And some days are easier, depending on you know, how much we indulge in this, that or the other, but at the moment, I feel in part, confronting, because we see also parents ageing, as well, and they have their own conflicts or their own concerns. And it is, I suppose it's necessary sometimes to, you know, really acknowledged the the mortality as well. But then I think with that acknowledgement, then we strive to make every day count, and do our best, in whatever way we can, both physically and mentally. And, you know, some things are deteriorating. And we'd have to have sort of go through with that on a day to day basis. But yeah, I think, with the ageing, then we become more considered and more emotional as well, I've definitely become more emotional. And I tried to use that as a productive tool in my art form.


As for the body, well, yes, it will probably cry out at some point and say, let's take a break. And it will be harder and harder. I've seen other singers, you know, return after breaks, that it does take some time for the instrument to respond again. But also it does become fatigued. And also the brain tires, I think we're constantly processing information. And, and now with devices and all this sort of stuff, the expectation of what we're able to achieve on a daily basis is significantly more, I think, you know, that we have these meetings that it can be instantaneous, that we don't have to leave our leave our living rooms. But in fact, I don't think this is necessarily, you know, so healthy, that we should actually be walking to our meeting and using that as sort of reflective time. So I think it's actually sort of compounding a little bit, some of the difficulties of ageing and what's happening because we don't give ourselves that sort of mental space to be able to process at all.


So what if you could go back to any age, what advice would you give yourself?


23 would be my figure. That's my lucky number. Yeah, the early 20s Some of the best times of your life really, you can get away with a whole lot and that's probably the advice that you know, have fun within reason. But you know, at 23 You think you're invincible. Yeah, it's, I think that no rock rats but at the same time, there's always regrets. We make decisions, but we also have to accept that the decisions are very circumstantial, based on how you're feeling and we can be very impetuous as early 20s. You can be very impetuous. It's a 45 year old as well. But yes, it's, it's following through confidently with your choices sometimes. And, you know, instincts as well. I feel like I've had good instincts most of the time. But yeah, maybe there was some instinct about that. Yes, yes. It's about listening to your body. Yeah. But if your body could talk, what do you think it would ask you? Or tell you maybe right now, right now?

I can't complain. I've just had a holiday. I'm also getting enough sleep, maybe not as many ones. But again, find the happy balance between, you know, actually just turning off.


This is the difficulty that we end up working way too long. I think I there was some sort of idea that you were going to do it like a four day working week, but then doesn't the the expectation is, oh, we would just work longer on those particular days. At the moment. I feel like I'm working seven days a week. But I tried to really say okay, well, this is me time. And this is work time. Not sure if that's quite successful. So would you ask you to separate your work from Yeah, and keep walking? Keep walking? I tried to do my loop around Centennial Park.


10,000 steps.


Yeah, it's a good or nine KS or something from my house and sorry, hills round Centennial Park and back. But yeah, it makes it makes my head space better. It makes my heart feel good. The body feels like


it's around seven kilometers?


Yeah. To the loop. Yeah, well, okay.


So what do you think, are the main causes of body image issues? We discussed it just before the recording. But the main causes of that issues with our bodies,


Instagram, social media, talk social media. I think there's some big concerns about what is visually represented, and what we are constantly digesting. In this sort of visual world, and the bombardment, you can't really control unless you say, I'm out of this. And I'm, and I think that's probably a healthy perspective, but then I am here with you. And we are going to have a nice time with some photography, photography. So then there's a visual representation, i, and this is very necessary for my craft as well, and yours. And this is also art. So there's a fine balance between what is kind of art, and what we need this imagery for. As for, you know, distorting kind of what reality is, this is this is the concern as well, that things have become quite plastic and trimmed, and all that sort of stuff. And this is not something that we can really emulate in any sort of naturalistic way. And it's not representative, I think of the general populace. You know, there are some individuals out there that probably spend a lot of time on their bodies. And good on them, I wish I had the same amount of time to be able to do that. But you're constantly, you know, adjusting the images, in whatever way in a physical way or in a digital way, doesn't sort of speak to me as something that is sustainable.


You know, it's interesting, you mentioned about the representative… representation of different, let's say, images of body types, or whatever. And I'm just thinking that having this project going for three years, I notice that this is like we have advertising on Facebook, and everyone can see that and everyone can decide for themselves if they want to participate or not. And obviously the people register for the project, those who are confident enough to go and show the real self, you know, in front of the camera, and sometimes we have comments like we don't have the full representation.. Actually we do have all the body types but what I noticed that this is more about your inner confidence to go out on public, you know, and to show yourself so I'm thinking that we are in control? You know, because projects like that everyone is welcomed. But not everyone is brave enough. So we are in control. What other people will see, like my real representation is those women have who are brave enough to participate in that project?


Yeah, so that's very interesting. It applies also, I suppose, within the for the performance. Right, exactly. So to step onto the stage does take courage, courage, as well as that you open yourself up, you know, I have had comments from patrons, because I don't show fear. And there are moments where, okay, the adrenaline gets up, and you feel, okay, you have those, maybe it's a really big, big project, you have those strange dreams, where you've turned up to a venue, you're in the car park, you're naked, and you've gotten your dress or something like this, they don't happen very often. But it has to be, you know, a pretty crucial thing that that sort of thing, the the psyche starts to get involved. But otherwise, when I step onto stage, I'm exhilarated, you know, this is how I want to present myself. But people don't have the same impression from the outside. So they'll come up and say, Oh, that's what you look like. Because actually, the oral perception, as we said before, that the physical representation of a still image is different from how it's perceived both as a moving image, as well as the sound that accompanies it. So that's why we're so entranced by film that, you know, we can really set the shot, the mood, the colour, the sound, all these different aspects. And that's why we're sort of caught up in this sort of, you know, this cinematic wave. And it's very evocative. And that's what we do in performance as well that we want to create these atmospheres, we want to create these moods.


And you're doing the same thing that, you know, we're sort of creating a still representation. And you know, in recording, this is the same thing, or say, an artist will say, This is my impression on the wall. But this is a very particular moment in time, that you might do a number of different sketches, and then decide, okay, well, this is the one that really sort of represents, but live performance, you have to say, Okay, I'm gonna dive in. And then you have to say, well, do I read the review? Or not? Or does this matter? Yeah, that's a judgement as well, that, you know, if you're happy to put yourself out on, you know, into the, into the media or into the social world, and we have to do this also as promotion necessary promotion, because this is where everyone is trying to find their information to see what the next trend is, or what's on or whatever it may be. But, yeah, it's a fine line. It's a fine line.


So if you're talking about having negative body image or, like, negative thoughts about your body, do you think it can affect relationship? Like I'm talking about all sorts of relationships with your partner, your co


Yes, we know the expectation. I think it goes both ways, though, that we, we are all ageing together. And I think there are, we see each other, we see ourselves as a younger form, you know, that we remember how that feels. And when we look in the mirror, then we think, Oh, I'm still good. Okay. And then sometimes we feel like, No, this is obviously not going to seduce you know, you're, you're familiar. And so then you try and do something about this. But yeah, I think it is. It's very challenging, but I think these types of tools do really help. You know, I've been with my husband now, almost 25 years here, and he's pretty tired of going to my concerts. Because he knows what I'm able to do, but also he has been practising things. But he wouldn't he likes, you know, saying seeing a new opera, because there it's a fresh palette, that there is that sense of discovery, say a concert format, there's sort of less of that sort of mystique. And I think this is what sort of invigorates relationships as well that there still kind of that sense that you know, you can be mysterious Yeah. Mystery is always good, and maybe you know, a lovely palette on the face. So add some Mystique to the whole thing or, you know, pulling an exotic garment out of the wardrobe.


So what's your go to way to deal with negative thoughts about your body? If some visits you from time to time, a way of dealing with or bringing yourself into the shape, like,


Oh, yes, I've spoken about the the walking. Yeah, diet, but I think it's also it's a mental as well, absolutely. That it's definitely not just, you know, you have to feel in shape and stretch and all this sort of stuff, but it's actually just hasn't changed much. Ah, no, I've been quite good with this mentally. Processing the sort of negative thoughts and things like that. There's been other things you've had to say that I've had to deal with professionally, which are unrelated to body. But yeah, the ageing of the voice? It's a similar thing. managing those two things, because my instruments inside my body. Yeah. And this is going to also kind of have an effect as the body ages, what's going to happen with the instruments so it's still a discovery for me. And I think that's the case where it's different for possibly you.


Mine are the eyes as well.


Well, yes. My eyes are definitely deteriorating. I've learned about on devices, and HPSP as well. No, I think yeah, you definitely have to be in good mind and good spirits. Yeah.


Especially considering psychosomatic basis of our most of our diseases or like the body. Kind of body feels gives us signal is something mental happens. Yeah. So though, I believe it's a combination of physiology and psychology. But it's yeah, you mentioned that it's very important part of


Yeah, and actually, what I'm most concerned about for me is that the outlet that I have the expressive outlet, the emotional outlet, and the way that sense actually moves through my body, because there are sound waves that we produce, and that actually vibrate. And I feel like you know, I'm relatively youthful. And I feel like that, in part, the, the sound waves and the vibrations from my instrument, somehow keep me up. My thought is, maybe it keeps me more supple, or you know, keeps me youthful. But when I don't have that facility, I don't have that emotional connection, the outlet could turn into some cranky old thing. Or maybe I'll just embrace that and sort of go and sing in some sort of jazz bar and growl. I'm keeping the options open. shakuhachi.


So my last question is, do you have any favourite quote, or maybe thought to saying about being a woman?


I looked this up? Because, you know, I wouldn't. I wouldn't ask you to see it, though.


We had one lady who sang her favourite quote


oh, there's amazing things, I could have sung something, if I pull it out, we could pause and I could just find it and sing it to you.But I looked up something. First of all, this whole idea of you know, where that word Baroque came from, it was derived from the Portuguese baraka and it means oddly shaped pearls. So, I thought that was quite apt for me.


But I was thinking Fellini, you know, the, the Italian director must have had something delicious to say about about females or women, but he what he did actually say was not particularly supportive, but he did say something like you know, that you only you exist only in what you do. So I sort of believe that as well. And there is no there is no beginning there is only infinite passion of life.


So when we get engaged like this, but I thought of an individual that I have read quite a bit a nice and in and she had some nice quotes. So she says life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.


And also I am an excitable person who only understands life, lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as a reason. So Uh, well, Ray music is amazing to me and I'm lyrical. And you know, just another little definition of you know what, what Baroque music is because I'm kind of in a Baroque week that, you know, it's all about contrast and movement and exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur and surprise. So I think I kind of encapsulate all these things as for how long this will endure, for, we'll see, and maybe there'll be more surprises after that.


Thank you very much. So do you want to find anything to sing?


Oh, yes. Let me just pull this. Yeah, yeah, it's a little jazz number. I don't often do jazz numbers, but I particularly like this one. And we did it in a project in Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane. And they cut this one because they was too short on time. So I was sad. So now I get to sing. Yes. Yeah, that's an opportunity. So shall I introduce it?


Yep, please.


So this song is by Well, actually, this arrangement is by Sally Whitwell. It's called Midnight Sun but it's actually a jazz standard. And it's just acapella today. Maybe it would be accompanied by some other jazz chords on the piano. But maybe this is representative of where I'm sitting right now or what's happening in my week.


(singing)


That was such a wonderful intro about you. I really enjoyed and thank you for the final.

Sounds really wonderful. And I hope you will enjoy the rest of your day and photoshoot as well. And welcome again to the project.


Thank you for having me.


If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at info@aleksandrawalker.com That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com

 

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This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.


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