Welcome to my new website!
This is my first ever blog and I’d like to tell you a bit about my weird and wonderful life as an opera singer.
The last month has been incredibly busy and exciting, and I had the chance to travel to all sorts of exotic destinations: Tenerife, Dublin, Scunthorpe…
I had the pleasure of singing the soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion (twice), Brahms’ Requiem, Handel’s Samson, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Purcell’s Come ye Sons of Art. And in the midst of all that I started rehearsals for my latest operatic role, Atalanta with Cambridge Handel Opera.
The Messiah in Tenerife was eventful (to say the least). Upon our arrival at our hotel we were greeted by the tour organiser, who was so engrossed in talking to us about our itineraries for the weekend that she fell into the fountain in the hotel lobby. The performance went really well, with an audience of hundreds packed into the church in Puerto de la Cruz. However, the trip back to the airport on Sunday was really scary. It was so stormy and the wind so fierce that the windscreen wipers on our coach were blown off. The poor driver was clinging to the steering wheel with all of his might, and yet we were thrown around in the back like a bunch of ragdolls. I’m not usually thrilled to see the airport but this time I think we could all have kissed the ground when we got there.
I sang my first (and second) St. John Passion this March. The first, for the Leith Hill Festival, was in English, and I felt this enabled me to really connect with the audience, who could follow every word (I hope!) The second, in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, was in the original German. The members of the audience didn’t seem to mind not understanding every word and the response at the end was the most overwhelming I have ever experienced. There was cheering, whistling, a standing ovation… on Good Friday! To say we, as performers, were overwhelmed would be an understatement. The audience was as quiet and respectful as church mice during the performance. I’m happy to know that I can still be surprised by an audience… even at my ripe old age ;)
Speaking of Passions, my housemate sent me an amusing e-mail recently. He was in Germany singing the role of Jesus in the St. Matthew Passion and wrote to complain that his whole body was aching from daily crucifixions. It shouldn’t be funny… but still.
The Brahms’ Requiem with the Exeter Philharmonic Choir was a real treat, and a chance to once again sing with my dear friend (and mentor) Alan Fairs. His performance displayed “an outstanding voice of distinction and great power” (and that’s from a review so it must be true!) I was quite pleased with my part of the review too, especially the bit about my “lovely face”. That’s going up on my wall of compliments…
Again, I had a weekend of treats when I sang Samson in Scunthorpe and the Mozart and Purcell in Burford. It was, however, bitterly cold and praise must be heaped upon my long-suffering boyfriend who drove me all around England in the snow. I wore a vest and thick tights under my concert dress for both performances. Oh, the glamorous life of an opera singer!
I am currently based in Cambridge (rehearsing Atalanta) and I have joined the bike brigade. I had been under the illusion that I was reasonably fit before I started cycling but I have now discarded that theory entirely. My main aim is to balance the cake-and-biscuit-eating with a bit of exercise, so that the opera need not be renamed ‘Fat-alanta’. Atalanta is actually quite an athletic girl, handy with a spear and a bow and arrow. Methinks a few archery lessons might be in order. The only other thing that need be mentioned at this stage of rehearsals is Bertie the Boar. What a creation! Papier mâché (or whatever he’s made of) has never looked so good. Our wonderful director Victoria has somewhat diminished his menace by talking about the entrance of the ‘Bore’. Now all I can picture is a small, grey-haired professor shuffling onto stage and boring us all to tears with some paper he’s written. Thanks a lot Victoria!
And what of the future? Alas and alack, I am not yet at liberty to tell you my most recent and exciting news. Suffice it to say that I will have plenty of singing to do over the next year or so. Announcement to come soon! I am very excited to be recording an album with pianist Anna Cardona in Calary Church, Wicklow in May, followed by a recital on 15th May to celebrate its completion. The CD will be launched in June – more on that over the next few weeks. I’m also performing the Rossini Stabat Mater with the Wicklow Choral Society and taking part in a Charity Gala with the Revenue Choir. So lots of Irish gigs – hooray!
I intend to post a new blog roughly every two weeks so be sure to check back here towards the end of April!