Greta Bradman, who joins the Australian World Orchestra to tour India, speaks of her passion, travels and of course being Sir Don Bradman’s granddaughter
Celebrated Australian soprano Greta Bradman joins the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) to tour Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi at the invitation, and under the baton, of internationally renowned Indian conductor, maestro Zubin Mehta. In Mumbai, the two concerts, scheduled for October 25 and 26 and presented by the Mehli Mehta Foundation, will celebrate the best of Western Classical music, from Mozart to Schubert and Beethoven. Excerpts from an email interview with the artiste:
Q. When did you decide that you would like to be an Operatic singer? Was there a trigger point or any other performance that inspired you?
A. I dreamt about being an Operatic singer even as a young girl. I was fascinated by how beautiful and moving the music and the singing was. I was listening to Opera at its best — to singers and conductors who are still some of my greatest inspirations — singers like Maria Callas, Jessye Norman and Joan Sutherland, and conductors including Zubin Mehta, Richard Bonynge and Daniel Barenboim. Their artistry inspires me to this day.
Greta Bradman has been part of more than 1,000 performances
Q. Could you share some of your lasting impressions and experiences while travelling the world with the Australian World Orchestra?
A. The extraordinary thing about the AWO is that it brings together some of the greatest instrumentalists from around the world — like a national sporting team bringing together its best and brightest from around the globe to represent their home country. Their playing is electric and incredibly exciting. And just as importantly, they are humble, generous and lovely people with a wonderfully collaborative spirit.
Q. What are your expectations prior to your performances in Mumbai? Have you visited the country before and heard any genres from its vast repository?
A. I have been fortunate to attend a number of Indian Classical music concerts in Australia. I find the music incredibly melodious and beautiful. The technical refinement of Indian Classical singers is extraordinary. I am very aware that India has an incredibly old and rich Classical music tradition. It is humbling to be visiting the country for the very first time to sing some music closest to my heart.
Q. What advice would you give to our readers who might be interested in taking up Operatic singing as a career?
A. Alongside finding a great teacher and putting in a lot of practice I would say always be true to the music. Let it guide you in how you sing it, as the composers who wrote (and write) opera generally have a vast understanding of the human voice. Never try to do opera or ‘sound’ like an Opera singer — let the music guide you so that you can ‘be’ a true advocate of this most glorious art form.
Q. What are some of the memories that you have of your iconic grandfather? He had a huge fan following in India...
A. My grandpa was hugely passionate about the game of cricket and the values of modesty, humility, integrity and teamwork that underpin it at its core. He was also a huge fan of Western Classical music and as a child I spent hours listening to recordings with him — including recordings with Mehta conducting! My grandpa had a big and joyful laugh and was encouraging of my singing. I wish he was still here to see me travel to India — a country he admired very much for its players, including (Sachin) Tendulkar, who my grandmother said, reminded her of grandpa in his playing style.
Q. Do you plan to visit any attractions in Mumbai during your visit or sample some of India’s vast cuisine?
A. I absolutely adore Indian cuisine; dare I say, especially of the Punjab region but I cannot wait to learn more about the favourite dishes in Mumbai and come away with some new favourites!