Christmas cheer at the Basilica

Soprano Teresa Duddy will feature at the Windfire Christmas Concert. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

Christmas is coming early for classical music fans, with Music at the Basilica presenting its Windfire Christmas concert and a series of free lunchtime concerts through December.

The Windfire Choir and Orchestra will perform at the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels at 7.30pm on Friday, December 15, featuring an impressive array of vocal and instrumental soloists and include a range of Christmas-themed works.

The program will begin with Francesco Manfredini’s Christmas concerto for orchestra and conclude with Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noel, Op. 12, and will include more Saint-Saëns works as well as Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

Joseph Hie will conduct orchestra and choir, which will include vocal soloists Teresa Duddy (soprano), Emily Swanson (soprano), Dannielle O’Keefe (alto), David Campbell (tenor) and Tom Healy (baritone).

Instrumental soloists Philip Healey (violin), Miranda Brockman (cello), Jacinta Dennett (harp) and Music at the Basilica’s artistic director Frank De Rosso, OAM (organ) will also feature throughout the program.

Music at the Basilica’s Jane Bashiruddin said it was a pleasure to have so many talented soloists for the concert, all of them living in or having a strong connection to the Geelong region, giving the concert a “distinctly local flavour”.

“We’ve got Teresa Duddy, who has had an international career in America and Europe and who has settled in Ocean Grove,” Ms Bashiruddin said.

“She’s got a beautiful warm voice, and she’s sung major roles with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and things like that.

“And of the instrumental soloists we have Miranda Brockman, who has been the principal cellist for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for many years, but her family is from Geelong. She’s really a force to be reckoned with.”

Music at the Basilica’s free lunchtime organ recital series, which began on Monday, December 4, has two more performances to come on December 11 and 18 from 12.30pm to 1.15pm.

David MacFarlane, former director of music at Salvator am Wienerfeld, Vienna will perform a Christmas concert on December 11, while on December 18 Frank De Rosso will present an audio-visual experience including modern Christmas carols.

Ms Bashiruddin said all were welcome to the lunchtime concerts, whether they could stay for the whole performance or not.

“They’re free and they’ll fit nicely into anyone’s lunch break, or if they want to wander in and escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping for a while,” she said.