An emotional moment you had in a performance?
So far, no one has lost control with laughter or tears in performance (rehearsal is a different story!), so the most touching part of performances so far is hearing audiences tell us how much certain pieces mean to them. It’s far from rare to look out and see tears in the audience’s eyes, since opera still holds so much potential to touch the heart.
Ensemble Name: Aria Cappella
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Style: Operatic A Cappella Quartet
Find out more on our website!
Founded by: Jessica Joan Graham in 2018
Performers: Helen Koehne, Jessica Joan Graham, Lara Vocisano, Zoe Dove
How does your choir approach a new piece of music?
As each singer holds a harmony line single-handedly, so homework is crucial! New music is shared digitally, with the ability for singers to use audio playback, so everyone can learn their part whichever way works best for them. This makes our first rehearsal together very exciting as we each get to hear the music finally come to life!
Something you do with your choir that others might find bizarre or strange!
When we want to check that we definitely know our parts, we get Jessica’s dogs to come up onto our lap as an extra distraction as we sing! If you can keep singing when a puppy is threatening to lick your face, you’ve definitely learned it!
How does your ensemble bond as a group?
There’s no better bonding experience than hearing the beauty of four-part harmony locking into place – and the struggle toward making that happen is a shared kind of pain, which again brings us closer! Being on the road together also means we get plenty of social time, going on adventures, and having epic singalongs!
A turning point in the life of your choir?
We spent most of 2018 and the start of 2019 organising our own concerts, trying to rally an audience, so it was a thrilling turning point when people started reaching out to us, asking us to perform at their special events, sometimes building whole evening occasions around having us perform at their venue! That’s when we knew we had something really special with Aria Cappella.
What was a very special performance and what made it special?
We were invited to give a private performance at the home of one of Australia’s most successful families to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary! It was just us and the wonderful couple, whom we serenaded with some of their favourite songs as they enjoyed dinner. It was a surreal experience, to be invited to share such an intimate and important occasion.
A challenging performance and how you faced it:
The only real challenge we’ve had to face so far is overcoming nerves – experience is the only solution! A smaller battle was a recent performance on a very toasty day, where the room was small and lacked air conditioning… Humidity is good for the voice, but not great for the arm pits!
A favorite piece of repertoire & why:
Nessun Dorma from Turandot. It was one of the first pieces Jessica arranged for the group, and quickly became our closing number or encore piece. The song is so stirring, and never fails to lift an audience to their feet!
How did you form as a group?
Jessica created Aria Cappella with Zoe and another friend at the start of 2018. With years of experience as an a cappella arranger, director and performer, Jessica wanted to explore what could be done with operatic and classical music in the a cappella style. With our debut performance as a trio in mid-2018 thrilling the audience, we expanded to our current quartet in order to explore even more exciting harmonies and majestic, operatic favourites.
A favorite inspirational quote:
“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” – Ella Fitzgerald
Aria Cappella is a Melbourne-based A Cappella quartet that showcases the beauty of opera, without the need for lugging around a Wagnerian orchestra. Founded in 2018 by Jessica Joan Graham, Aria Cappella has already entranced audiences across Victoria with their modern twist on traditional operatic divas. They seek to capture the majesty and thrill of audience’s favourite arias in stunning new arrangements by for four female voices, and zero instruments.