Interview with Sarah Murr
Katherine Sullivan | On 14, Jul 2015
The Creative IssueÂ recently spoke with Sarah Murr about her role inÂ Opera Queensland’sÂ upcoming production of Candide, her surprise at landing a role in Les Miserables and her advice for aspiring performers.
At only 20 years old, Sarah Murr has already starred in a number of successful productions including North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre’s production of Hairspray. She received critical acclaim for her role as the bubbly and energetic Tracy Turnblad. She is now in her final year at the Griffith Conservatory of Music in Brisbane and is excited for the year ahead.
She will be starring in Opera Queensland’s production of Candide which is playing at QPAC’s Playhouse from the 23 July. From the creator of West Side Story, and based on the classic novel by Voltaire, Leonard Bernsteinâ€™s Candide combines musical theatre, opera and satire in a truly original production exclusive to Brisbane. The Creative Issue was excited to sit down and talk to Sarah.Â
TCI: You are making your OperaQ debut in Candide. Can you please tell us more about your role?
Sarah Murr: Paquette is a saucy girl. She is one of four students taught by Dr Pangloss/Voltaire and spends a little extra time with the royal educator and philosopher outside of class to, let’s say, get a little extra help with anatomy homework. Needless to say she passes with flying colours. You’ll have to get your tickets to find out more!
TCI: Would you mind telling us about your background and how you came to star in two of the biggest musical productions of the year? (Candide and Les Miserables).
Sarah Murr: I was born and raised in Townsville and have been singing, dancing and acting for as long as I can remember. In 2013 I was accepted into the Conservatory of Music, Griffith University to study a bachelor of musical theatre under the brilliant guidance of the Head of Musical Theatre and Program Convenor Paul Sabey.
Last year a few other con students and I had the incredible opportunity to audition for Opera Queensland and it was a day I will never forget. It was my first professional audition and I sang Glitter and be Gay from Candide (if you donâ€™t know it, look it up, it is insane!). I received an offer from Artistic Director Lindy Hume a few weeks later and was so surprised and excited, I couldn’t believe it and still can’t today.
I auditioned for Les Miserables in Sydney at the beginning of this year. The audition was amazing. I received an email saying I was too young right now but if anything were to change they’d be in touch. A few weeks later Paul called me into his office and told me we’d been invited to the public announcement of the Les Miserables Brisbane launch and that I was having another call-back! Let’s just say watching Simon Gleeson perform Bring Him Home right before you do an audition will definitely calm your nerves and inspire you beyond belief. I received an offer two days later to join the cast of Les Miserables understudying one of my dream roles, Madame Thernardier.
TCI: What can audiences expect from Candide?
Sarah Murr: There is always tragedy in comedy my friends. Expect to laugh, cry and leave with a melody stuck in your head. You will be whisked away on a roller coaster of optimism.
TCI: What has it been like working alongside David Hobson and Amelia Farrugia?
Sarah Murr: David is the funniest man I have ever met and is so charismatic. He has the whole room laughing when he’s not breaking your heart singing. Amelia surprises me every rehearsal with her unique take on CunÃ©gonde. And when she hits that Eb (the top note) you’re gonna know about it! She has taught me so much already. I am still in awe of them. The amount I have learned in only two weeks is incredible.
TCI: What are the challenges you have faced with Opera?
Sarah Murr:Â I was classically trained from the age of 6; completing up to Grade 8 of the Trinity Guildhall Classical voice exams, so the style isnâ€™t a challenge itself. It is very demanding on the voice, so my challenge is pacing myself. So I have been learningÂ how to pace myself so that when show time comes and we have 2 shows a day I will know how to look after myself.
TCI: What would be your advice for aspiring performers who are struggling to break into the industry?
Sarah Murr: My advice is that in this career you never stop learning. A little motto I always keep in the back of my mind is: Never let your last performance be your best. Donâ€™t set a bar, you can always do better. Next is to believe in yourself. If you donâ€™t believe in what youâ€™re selling, no one else will. Go into an audition room and be yourself. Show them what theyâ€™ve been missing. AND enjoy it. Auditions go by so fast and then its over. Be there in the moment and listen to what their advice might be, donâ€™t waste your time by being scared.
Where Playhouse, QPAC
When Â 23 Jul â€“ 1 Aug, 2015
How Much $50 â€“ $130
More informationÂ To purchase tickets, vist the Qpac website here
Image Credits: Sarah Murr