At a recent concert in Melbourne I heard the young soprano Greta Bradman for the first time and was struck at first by her natural beauty, dress sense and engaging personality. Then, of course, there’s the voice.
In this concert Bradman moved with ease from Mozart concert arias, with their demanding top notes and volume to his gentler Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben which showed perfect phrasing and feeling for the music. I formed the opinion that as a singer Greta Bradman is – like fellow Australian, Danielle de Niese – set to become very famous internationally. And found that other reviewers were ahead of me, with The Advertiser calling Bradman “one of Australia”s finest young singers” and the Herald Sun predicting that she “will bring something new and original to Australia’s musical landscape”.
Time to find out more about Greta Bradman. There’s the famous name, of course, and, yes, “Our Don Bradman” was her cricket legend grandfather. Far from trading on this fact in a sports-mad nation, her biography almost ignores it and only fleetingly mentions husband Didier and sons Jude and Caspar.
Greta Bradman auditioned for classical voice performance at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in her hometown of Adelaide with no formal vocal training, went on to complete her Bachelor of Music with distinction, and picked up three music prizes along the way. Of interest, though, is that she was headed for a quite different career as a psychologist, something her biography describes as a dual life! She opted for singing just two years ago, and has already achieved a great deal: recitals, concerts, recording with Sony Music. Bradman was shortlisted as “best newcomer” in the 2010 ABC Limelight Magazine Awards and received a 2010 ARIA Award nomination for her debut album, Forest of Dreams. In the same year she won the 2010 RMP Aria Competition People´s Choice Award and the Mietta Song Competition Murray River International Music Festival Prize.
In her music career to date, Bradman has focused on oratorio, Lieder and art song, new music and chamber works from the 17th through 21st centuries. She is a great advocate of Australian music and was given the great honour of being the soprano soloist in Ross Edwards´ Symphony No.2 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, a work written for legendary Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny (who has also coached and been a personal inspiration for her).
Bradman was also a principal singer for Carols in the Domain and undertook national tours with the Australian String Quartet and Welsh baritone Aled Jones. Other engagements have included performances with pianist Leigh Harrold, pianist Kathy Selby, harpist Marshall McGuire, Melbourne early music ensemble Latitude 37, Kegelstatt Ensemble, Soundstream New Music ensemble, Langbeiner String Quartet, Adelaide Chamber Players, and Adelaide Baroque. Last year’s engagements including supporting international star tenor Russell Watson on his national tour, and a busy year ended as soloist in Handel´s Messiah at the Melbourne Town Hall with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choirs.
A detail in Greta Bradman’s biography is particularly touching. The singer has recorded the song Every Day is Rainbow Day for Me, for the ABC Classics release Don Bradman: The Music He Loved. The song was written by her grandfather and was the only new recording featured in the compilation of songs selected from his own record collection. Greta Bradman already has the name and, in my opinion, is also set to enjoy the fame her voice will bring.