Updated: Aug 1
Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you are all keeping well. This blog post is a little update as to what life has been like since my last post in July 2020, covering all things conservatoire related and lockdown life!
In these very difficult times, I brings me great joy to begin the blog with some very positive news! I am delighted that I have been offered a scholarship, to continue my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, as a masters student in September 2021! I am over the moon to be continuing my studies, with my wonderful teacher Jane Irwin, and cannot wait to see what the next two years have in store.
I was very lucky to begin my fourth and final year with the majority of my classes on site. I was able to be in the RNCM building daily, for singing lessons, repertoire coachings, performance classes and rehearsals. All classes were conducted in a safe and socially distanced manner. I was thrilled to finally be able to perform the role of 'Erste Dame' in 'Die Zauberflöte' in the staged opera scenes. This performance had been delayed due to lockdown restrictions. Although it was bizarre to perform two metres apart from my colleagues in the theatre (e.g gesturing to the magic flute rather than handing it personally to Tamino!), it was fantastic to perform and make wonderful music together again. The RNCM vocal department is incredibly close and we had all missed each other terribly during the lockdown!
I was also very happy to have the chance to perform my deferred third year recital with my fantastic accompanist, Gemma Beeson. Recital repertoire included works by: Massenet, Debussy ,Schumann, Böhm, Quilter and Bridge. It was fantastic to have a small audience of fellow RNCM students, after performing to a Zoom screen for so many months!
Unfortunately, due to the latest Covid19 regulations, the RNCM has reverted back to virtual learning. Learning now takes place at home and includes Zoom performance and academic classes.
My next operatic role will be 'Dorinda' in Handel's 'Orlando' for RNCM opera scenes. Originally intended to be performed in the RNCM Opera Theatre in January, this will now be a virtual video submission, with the hope of a deferred live performance later in the year. Fingers crossed!
I am very fortunate to have my amazing friend and accompanist Max Bilbe (RAM Repetiteur). Alongside our weekly phone call catch-ups, we have collaborated virtually to make recordings of Mozart and Handel arias and German Lieder. I am very much looking forward to the day we can perform together in person again!
NATIONAL STUDENT OPERA SOCIETY
I am very much enjoying my role as Event Manager of the 'National Student Opera Society' and I am incredibly proud of all the society has achieved over the last year.
Our latest project was an Online Christmas Gala, featuring guest performances of operatic stars, including: Nicky Spence (Tenor), Amanda Majeski (Soprano), Janis Kelly (Soprano), James Platt (Bass), John Savournin (Bass-Baritone), Austin Gunn (Tenor) and Dani Sicari (Soprano). The gala was a great success and raised essential funds, allowing NSOS to continue providing learning experiences to young opera lovers.
It was a joy to edit together a special recording of Cornelius' 'The Three Kings' for the concert. The performance included the voices of the 'NSOS Virtual Choir' and guest soloist, the outstanding Roderick Williams (Baritone).
The recording can be accessed on Youtube via the following link:
I am overjoyed that NSOS was nominated for a '360° Opera Award', in acknowledgement of the hard work put into our Masterclass Series. It was wonderful to be considered alongside outstanding artists including; Lisette Oropesa, Jennifer Rowley and Premiere Opera Foundation!
LIFE AT HOME
I am very grateful to have such stunning nature views close to my home in Standish, Lancashire. Between virtual classes and personal practice, I have taken many walks in the winter countryside. We were very lucky to see so much snow in Lancashire this year! Alongside the permitted daily outdoor exercise, I have spent time reading and studying languages - two great passions of mine!
Whilst watching the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert this year, I felt very moved by maestro Riccardo Muti's poignant speech. He reminded us exactly why musicians do what we we do and emphasised the importance of music in today's world.
"We bring joy, hope, peace, brotherhood. Love with a capital L"
It is is certainly my love of music that has helped me get through such difficult times. Indeed I cannot wait to return to making wonderful music with wonderful people! In these unprecedented times, I am wishing all of you health, safety and happiness. We will get through this!
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