I have made it to the end of my first term here at Guildhall, and my first three months of life in London! I’m absolutely loving the experience so far, and thought I would update you with what I’ve been doing.
In the Vocal Masters programme, alongside weekly lessons (with my wonderful teacher Yvonne Kenny), coachings, stagecraft, movement, and language classes, the course is structured around extra projects which you are selected for at the start of the term. These projects have led to lots of fantastic performance opportunities this term. In our Opera Scenes production in November, I performed Micaëla in the Act I Micaëla/Don José duet from Carmen, as well as singing Alice Ford in a hilarious, mile-a-minute scene from Falstaff. I also performed in a concert of settings of Shakespeare texts, in which I sang songs by Madeleine Dring and Mervyn Horder, as well as getting to perform my own mini mad-scene, with one of Strauss’ Ophelia Lieder.
Some of the most exciting performance experiences I have had this term have been at the Victoria & Albert Museum. There is an exhibition on at the moment entitled Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, chronicling the story of opera and its development throughout history. As part of this exhibition, I have performed in three concerts of operatic arias and scenes in the exhibition space, surrounded by projections of modern operatic masterpieces – it was so exciting to get to perform in such an iconic venue!
Coming up next term, I am involved in another Scenes production (performing Britten and Jonathan Dove), and also have the chance to perform one of my dream roles for the first time: I have just been cast as the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with King’s Opera (King’s College), which we will perform in April. I am also busy getting repertoire learned for my solo recitals next year, as well as an Italian project focusing on the arias and chamber duets of Donizetti, to be performed at the end of January. Another project coming up next year is the Wigmore Voiceworks, in which singers, composers, and writers are selected to collaborate to create new vocal works, which we will premiere at the Wigmore Hall in June – it’s going to be a hectic but exciting term!
Life at Guildhall is extremely intense, often involving very long days of back-to-back classes, rehearsals, and coachings, and requiring music to be learnt very quickly and efficiently. However, I feel that I am really thriving in this environment: even though I am doing lots of different projects all at once, I am practising a lot and singing so much every day that I have already noticed some big, positive changes in my technique and the way I’m performing, thanks to Yvonne’s teaching. I feel that this really is the right time for me to be here and throwing myself into all that Guildhall has to offer, and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful preparation that I received in New Zealand that has got me to this point.
Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a wonderful start to 2018!