GRIFFITH born and educated performer and playwright Philip Aughey brings his skills back to where it all began in Frederic Chopin-inspired musical next week.
Chopin’s Last Tour is a musical tributes the enigmatic and sickly genius who gave the world the exquisite Nocturnes.
Aughey, an accomplished pianist, is the show’s sole performer
Chopin’s Last Tour is set in Scotland in 1848, a year before Chopin died, with Aughey playing a selection of Chopin’s works while recalling events from his life.
Chopin had been living in Paris when he was invited by former student Jane Stirling to perform in Britain. Although he had tuberculosis and his health was worsening, he desperately needed the money. Stirling was in love with Chopin, which saw him dedicate two of his final works to her.
Mr Aughey said the inspiration for the show came when he was performing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and saw two concerts of works by his favourite composer, Frederic Chopin.
“The recitals attracted large, appreciative audiences, and when I returned to Australia I wrote Chopin’s Last Tour, which I then toured back to Edinburgh Fringe, and am now taking across the country,” Philip said.
Aughey’s show includes music from six of Chopin’s greatest works that relate to events and people in his life - his family, his health, his feelings for his home country, Poland, and his liaison with (female) writer George Sand.
”It is definitely not the happiest time in Chopin’s life. He knows he is dying, his long term relationship has ended dramatically, his father has died, he is broke,” Philip explains.
“This is the story of Chopin’s life through his music and emotions, an attempt to humanise the genius, to give the audience an insight into the type of person he was.”
Philip grew up on a rice farm at Warrawidgee, near Griffith where he attended Warrawidgee Public School from 1962-64, Griffith Public School from 1965-1968, and Yanco Agricultural High School 1969-74.
Phil was taught piano by local legend Dawn Beaumont, performing in numerous eisteddfods and concerts, and winning a number of prizes and awards.
His twin passions – working with horses and playing classical music – were both fostered in the Western Riverina.
Now based in the Hunter Valley, Philip has spent the intervening years travelling and working in outback Australia, using his experiences to write plays including his three-hander The Exchange based on experiences shearing in Queensland.
He has now settled in the Hunter Valley and tours his works to festivals and towns across Australia and internationally.
Chopin only performed 30 times before large audiences in his life, preferring the intimacy of playing in salons. Philip Aughey has written the show with small venues in mind.
“This performance in the Burley Griffin Room will allow the audience to get up very close and personal ...” Phillip said.