Former Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist Oliver Sewell is now studying at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Here he sends an update from New York…
On this brisk autumnal Sunday, the New York Marathon is taking place. Unfortunately I am not in quite the right physical condition to partake in this year’s Marathon. However, I feel that I am in perfect condition for my marathon of work this year at Manhattan School of Music. After testing the waters last year I am now confident and more realistic about the workload I can take on whilst still maintaining quality and not burning out. This, to my surprise, has allowed me to say yes to a few more projects than I otherwise thought I could have managed.
First off I have been cast in the the Manhattan School of Music main stage production of the opera version of the book, play and most famously the movie The Dangerous Liaisons, as the Chevalier Danceny (the tenor lead). We started staging this week and I am thoroughly enjoying working with the head of the opera program Dona Vaughn who is the Stage Director for this production.
In addition to The Dangerous Liaisons I was asked by the Opera Studio if I would be keen, and available, to play the tenor lead in the Senior Opera next semester (a Senior in the USA is a student in the final/fourth year of their undergraduate degree). The Senior Opera this year is a relatively unknown French comedy by Delibes called Le roi l’a dit. The music and my character, Benoit, in this opera are both an absolute delight to become more familiar with.
Finally while I am staging The Dangerous Liaisons and coaching the music for Le roi l’a dit, I am also working on my graduate recital which I will be performing in January next year. Warren Jones has offered to be my recital coach for this project which is for me the highlight of this year so far. For my recital I have chosen a program based on the Carnegie Hall Recitals of the Irish tenor John McCormack during World War One. There is a lot of new music to learn, rehearsals to attend and on top of these three projects, I still must attend and work hard for my normal classes of Dance, Acting, French, German and Piano. I feel very strongly that this year at Manhattan School of Music will be a great one.