It’s been rather long time since I last blogged and I feel it is fantastic opportunity to share with you some of the wonderful experiences I have had since being back at RCS. It really is a great place to study for vocal studies and Opera at the world renowned Alexander Gibson Opera School. I hope to study there in the next few years if I am fortunate enough to be accepted here. I really am very grateful to the fantastic opportunities that RCS present us with strong links to Scottish Opera and cheap or free tickets to events in Glasgow with orchestra’s such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to name a few. The SCO are one of my favourite orchestra’s as they are one of the best chamber orchestra’s in the world and the RSNO is famous for recording the ‘Superman‘ soundtrack.
In my second week back I was fortunate enough to meet the opera legend Dame Gwyneth Jones (pictured above) who gave a series of master classes to Postgraduate students at the RCS. A welsh soprano, Dame Gwyneth Jones studied at the Royal College of Music and went on to have an extremely successful career in opera across the globe. She is known by many of the ‘Goddess of Opera’ and for good reason. She gave an interview with Humphrey Burton and it was clear they were good friends from the camaraderie between the two of them. Humphrey worked in the media and had reported on many of Dame Gwyneth Jones’ performances throughout her career.
Her master classes demonstrated her passion for her subject and field of expertise and clearly loved her job. That is something I will hold with me for the rest of my life, you must enjoy what you do!
Afterward, myself and a few of my friends cheekily asked for autographs and a picture with her and she did not disappoint us and we managed to have a brief chat with her. Overall a thrilling and inspiring week and we learnt that famous baritone Sir Thomas Allen would be visiting the RCS in the following week whilst directing Scottish Opera’s new production of Don Giovanni and so I will blog about that in the next few days.
A few weeks ago, I performed in ‘United in Song’ by Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company. The show was a collection of ensemble numbers and solo’s from various well known musicals set/from America and Britain.
I was asked to take part by my old friend and mentor, Dave Thomas who is someone who I greatly respect not just as a friend but as a musician. He is a fantastic pianist and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and the company on this project.
The performances went very well after a short and slightly stressful rehearsal period before hand. Oklahoma, Jersey Boys, Oliver and Jekyll and Hyde were just some or the musicals features in this show. I sang a solo of ‘Try to Remember’ from ‘The Fantasticks’. The song is quite well known with the melody but the lyrics are less heard. I enjoyed working on the song as although it is simple, to express the meaning of the song is much more difficult as parts of the song as very exposed but I enjoyed the challenge of it all.
I hope that next summer I will be able to perform in a similar concert and I hope to be able to work with Dave again.
A couple of weeks ago, I performed in a highly successful production by Centre Stage (a new local group) of the play ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck. A classic piece of American literature and one that many people have fond memories of. I personally read it as part of my GCSE in English Literature.
It tells the story of George and Lennie who travel together and begin working at a ranch. They dream of owning their own ranch and “living of the fat of the land” but need to build up a stake to afford this dream. Here they meet Candy, an old ranch worker who only has one hand due to an accident on the ranch. Thanks to his compensation payment from this accident, Candy goes in with George and Lennie and suddenly the dream almost becomes a reality with all of them making plans about their new home. However after Lennie accidently kills Curley’s (the bosses son) wife, he flees and the manhunt to lynch Lennie begins. George manages to find Lennie and with a heavy heart and burden, he shoots Lennie to ease his pain.
I played the character ‘Whit’ who is one of the barley buckers and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with some first class actors and an excellent production team and company. As a singer, it is exceptionally important to be able to act and perform the meaning of your interpretation of your songs.
Above is a picture of the cast.
The local pundits particularly enjoyed the play and the review was excellent. After playing to two full houses, I was delighted but also sad to leave an great experience behind. Hopefully, I will be fortunate to work with Centre Stage a fantastic company again in the future
This evening I rehearsed for one of my all time favourite vocal works; Handels’ Messiah. An English sung oratorio, it is now one of the most popular oratorio works to be sung after an initial modest reception when it was first performed in 1742 to a Dublin audience. It is scored for Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass soloists, a SATB choir and a orchestra. It is usually sung around Christmas time with many people knowing the famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and some of the more famous arias such as ‘The Trumpet shall sound’ for the Bass and ‘Ev’ry Valley shall be exalted’ for the Tenor. I was rehearsing the bass recitative’s and aria’s with my old music teacher and friend Alistair McKenzie.
I thoroughly enjoyed practicing singing the arias and challenging myself to get to grips with it as quickly as possible. (sight reading came in handy)! In the coming months I hope to get the opportunity to sing this work as I love it along with many oratorio’s such as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
Best as always
Yesterday I went to see a fantastic concert in Lytham with two fantastic soloists. Colin Blamey, a Scottish clarinettist and brilliant musician and my good friend and colleague from RCS, Charlotte Hoather. Her blog is the link just below.
She has an incredible voice and I love singing duets with her or listening to her sing and hopefully we can do more of that next year.
It was an excellent concert and I thoroughly enjoyed the programme which was well paced and nicely varied throughout.
In the coming weeks, there is plans for a chamber music concert in Mid-September when myself and a few friends are back in Glasgow and I am looking forward to that and the start of the new RCS year.
Well today I began a process I probably have been wanting to do for sometime. I’m finally getting my blog, new twitter, soundcloud and facebook page all up to date and online. My website is still in the pipeline. As a freelance musician I believe self promotion is vital to gaining work and with the internet being a powerful tool, I can branch out to more people and hopefully get as much work as I can 🙂
This week promises to be a good one as I will be watching a concert at lunchtime on Friday which involves my good friend Charlotte before work and then rehearsals for a concert of show songs in September. Can’t wait to get cracking on my sound recordings for my blog, Facebook and sound cloud. Now to decide what to sing!