Blind soprano’s back in spotlight again with choir

IF you closed your eyes and heard Padstow resident Ria Adriani’s sweet voice, you would think you were surrounded by a chorus of angels.

This blind singer’s vocals are truly heavenly and can be heard this Sunday live on stage from 3pm at Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, when she is joined by her equally talented colleagues in the Sydney Chamber Choir.
Leading with the exquisite ‘The Passing of the Year’ by Britain’s Jonathan Dove – one of the world’s most performed living composers – ‘Time & Place’ will also mark the first anniversary of Sam Allchurch as musical director.
Guided by her faithful companion, seeing eye dog Max lays at Ria’s feet, watching her every move and hearing her every note.
Ria has been visually impaired since the age of five after a glaucoma virus left her with only light and dark perception.
She said her disability made singing in a choir challenging, not only getting the scores transcribed in Braille but also having to memorise the melody.
“Not seeing conductor Sam is another challenge but I have strategies like listening to the people around me,” she said.
Ria’s also taken up reviewing concerts for music site ClassiKon and continues her work transcribing music scores for the blind.
The ‘Time & Place’ showcase includes Paul Stanhope’s ‘I Have Not Your Dreaming’, a tribute to the indigenous poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, while young Australian composer Ella Macens draws on the rich singing tradition of her Latvian heritage in ‘Stavi Stivi Ozolin’. Clare Maclean will take the audience to another place of tenderness in her delicate ‘A West Irish Ballad’.
Sam says: “Sydney Chamber Choir is keen to play a significant role in exploring new artistic territory and wide social involvement, and also to elevate choral music in the national artistic conversation.’”
Tickets: $35-40 at sydneychamberchoir.org or call 1300 661 738.