Monday, 22 October 2012
Town Hall sculpture
These two sculptures are housed inside Sydney Town Hall.
An Ear for Music: From a large piece of Carrara marble, sculptor Peter Schipperheyn created a tribute to Dame Joan Sutherland who first sang in Sydney Town Hall in a student performance of the "Christmas Oratorio" in 1946. She maintained that the opportunity to sing in Sydney's Town Hall represented a pinnacle in her career. The sculpture, which features a large ear, draws analogy to the idea of sound and music. Shipperheyn's design appealed to the committee appointed to commission the work because it did not attempt to create a portrait of Dame Joan, or her operatic characters. According to Edmund Capon, Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, the work of Peter Shipperheyn, a self-taught artist, expresses hope, sensitivity, classicism and contemporanity.
Remember Nellie Melba: Recessed into the southern wall of the Main Hall of Sydney Town Hall is a bas relief inscribed "Remembering Nellie Melba", by Arthur Murch. Murch was a former engineer who had changed careers and after studying painting and sculpture became an official war artist during World War II. The tribute was proposed by Lord Lurgan, who as a vocalist toured Australia for the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1939. As a young singer, Lurgan had received encouragement from Melba, and his tribute was intended to record Melba's great contribution to music in a venue where she had performed so often. The tablet depicts a figure in song with instrumental and natural accompaniment. It was unveiled by Her Excellency Lady Gowrie during the interval of the first War Fund Patriotic Concert arranged by the ABC in the Town Hall on 19 May 1941 on the anniversary of Melba's birthday.