Chorale Conversations: Oliver Macura, bass


Tell us a bit about your musical background, including how many years you have sung in a choir?

I was born in Serbia, learned how to play piano accordion at the age of 9 but didn’t progress with that. My choir years started when I was 21. After five years I had to stop, then reactivated in Australia at 48. Altogether, some 10 years of singing.

What made you fall in love with choral music?

I was a dancer. A terrible one. Someone heard me singing at the party, and out of pity I guess, suggested a “career change”. The best advice I ever got. My first rehearsal was memorable. Me and other new people were put in the middle, while choir members around us sang Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem. I have never looked back since.

Why did you decide you wanted to be part of Brisbane Chorale?

I knew that Brisbane Chorale is a large choir with a good reputation and serious repertoire. All boxes ticked.

What’s your favourite choral performance that you’ve been a part of and why?

That’s Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. We had a concert in the French Alps, back in 1991. The whole village came, some 200 people in a local church. Families with young kids. To our surprise, there were more than 40 very young kids, some of them as young as two, all in the first rows.  Some choir members were uneasy. Liturgy is a very serious choral piece that goes for 90 minutes without a break. Even for adults it’s hard to stay focused all the time, let alone for little kids. During the concert, not many singers were looking at the conductor. Kids were staring at us, we were singing, staring back at them. Dozens of little eyes, mouths open, watching interestedly the whole time. You could hear a pin being dropped, that’s how quiet they were. It was a highly emotional concert. The kids’ reaction was overwhelming for us. Many choristers cried at the end. Unforgettable.

Inside many choral singers is a frustrated soloist! If you were a world-famous singer choosing repertoire for your next concert tour, which piece of music would you absolutely have to include and why?

I don’t speak French, but I was always amazed by Charles Aznavour’s way of emotional singing. Emmenez Moi would be high on my list for my concert. Probably in my next life.

Tell us a little about your occupation, what you do when not hard at work learning Chorale repertoire!

I work as a machine operator in the steel industry.

Besides singing, do you have any special talents or skills you’d like to share with us?

I used to be very good at basketball. Taking advantage of my height.