Rock the Opera

Australian singer/ songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke pairs soprano vocals with alt pop to unleash something called opera rock.

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: December 5, 2013 5:12 am

Those at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender did not predict the swanky ritzy-ness at one of the smaller gigs. The attendees seemed way too casually dressed for this one. The moment Brisbane-based Kate Miller-Heidke walked on to the MTS stage in a crimson sequined dress,which seemed right off Broadway,we thought it was too ostentatiously classy for the evening. But when Miller-Heidke began with a simple love ballad,with only an acoustic guitar and a little rattle for company,she cleared the litmus test of being at a music festival like this. She had the headbangers screaming in delight in appreciation of opera.

Not a familiar name in the sub continent,Miller-Heidke unleashed opera rock on her audience,a genre unheard of in most parts of the world. She layered alt rock tunes such as Caught in the Crowd,Sarah and Last Day on Earth with her amazing soprano vocals. Unshackled by concerns of genres,she brought something reflective for the 100-odd people who attended the gig at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida this weekend.

“I guess I got to a point in my career where I had to choose between being an opera singer or a singer/songwriter,and decide where to channelise my energies. I chose the latter. I thought and found it to be more satisfying,” said 32-year-old Miller-Heidke,shortly after the gig. Her striking,oomph-laden presence on stage is transformed into a petite,soft spoken personality,backstage. She has come to India,for the first time,a year after the release of her third album,Nightflight.

Beginning as an artiste with a local opera company,she grew up with all styles of music at home but chose to study opera at Queensland Conservatorium Of Music. “Opera was great fun. My range helped a lot,” she said.

The ARIA-nominated singer seemed quite happy with the performance,despite the lack of large crowds. “The line-up at these festivals is quite heavy with heavy music. There is Meshuggah and the likes. But I think there is an element of virtuosity to what we did. Because of the operatic grandiose and theatrical elements,it kind of works,which is really cool,” said Miller-Heidke.

In India,she has collaborated with flautist Ashwin Srinivasan and has fallen in love with the flute. “I am looking forward to another India tour.The diversity of the country and its music has me enamoured,” said Miller-Heidke.

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