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The Floral Dance

Herald Sun (Australia)
Kim Lockwood

Beaut Dawson Tribute

Peter Dawson had no money, so kept singing until he was 75, and ill. Greg Yurisich, at 49, says he has stopped singing because there is not enough money for opera.

Dawson was famous. He had been singing for 55 years when he retired, and had a reputed repertoire of 2500 songs and arias.

Yurusich is famous. He has been singing around the world for 27 years and has a repertoire of well over 20 operatic roles.

Dawson's concert programs opened with a Baroque aria, oratorio or operatic aria then moved onto art-songs. Popular ballads were sung as encores. Yurisich - one of the world's most acclaimed baritones - used to sing arias too. Now, it seems, he is moving to the old popular ballad. Or away, at least, from opera.

And you know what? I don't care. I'll listen to Bryn Terfel or another great baritone for my operatic music as long as I can listen to Yurisich sing as he does on this wonderful, magical return to The Floral Dance (and other Peter Dawson Favourites).

Dawson did not have a true operatic voice. He was also hampered by what was, by today's standards, inadequate recording technology. When he retired in 1958 stereophonic sound and long-playing records were in their infancy. Yurisich has a true operatic voice, beautifully suited to songs of the Dawson style. He also has the wonders of digital recording, CD, and engineers and assistant engineers.

This beaut CD contains all the Dawson faves: Wandering the King's Highway, The Kerry Dance, Old Father Thames, Drake's Drum, The Lost Chord, On the Road to Mandaly and others, 22 in all. It was recorded with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, in the Government House ballroom in Hobart.

Yurisich sings with great verve, enthusiasm, and feeling. I'll play this record again and again and again and hope they don't find more money for opera.