By ERLE LEVEY

Soloist Sarah Lawes had a sudden thought before singing before a near-capacity audience at Prague’s historic Hlahol Concert Hall.It was part of Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir’s final performance in its Central Europe tour of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Sarah had chosen Song to the Moon from Russulka, by Czech composer Dvorak.

“Just before going on, I thought I have never sung this to a Czech audience.”

Sarah prepared the song about three years ago and performed it for her diploma of singing at the Australian Music Examination Board.

“It was part of the syllabus but my mother had suggested it to me.

“I thought, why not. It’s a nice song and has that dramatic ending.

“That finale puts it in people’s mind.”

The operatic piece is about a water spirit, Sarah tells me.

“Every day the prince comes to the lake.

She falls in love with him and wants to be turned into human form by a sorceress.

“It happens early in opera.

“The moon sees into peoples lives.

“Oh moon, stand still for a moment. Tell me where is my lover.

“Oh moon, stay still for a moment, don’t let him disppear.

“I love the story.”

At the Prague concert Sarah was initially concerned a bit about getting it right.

Yet the audience response was totally unexpected. A standing ovation.

“I was really elated, swept up in the emotion,” she said.

“I was told later that the Czech language in that aria is quite difficult.

“The fact they appreciated it was very rewarding.”

The Hlahol Concert Hall was constructed and designed by the choir, with acoustics for acapella and for piano.

Dvorak was a conductor for the choir which was formed in the 1800s.

“Just to think we have sung his songs here,” Sarah said. “It is very, very nice.”

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