Opera Mom

Over the Christmas break at home, I watched with my Mum a TV programme called “Dance Moms”. My Mum is a fan of this program with its many controversies, in the UK it is on 5 Star every weekday with a double bill on a Tuesday. The show comes in for a lot of criticism because it is speculated the fights between Moms are staged to boost the ratings and that some of the competitions are fake. The dance teacher Abby Lee Miller also divides opinion because of her personal teaching style.

I thought it would make an interesting blog post to ask my Mum what it was like being an Opera Mum.

Mum and Me On My Graduation Day In July 2016
How would compare yourself with the Dance Moms in the TV programme?

Unlike the Dance Mom’s in the series, I’ve always been a hands-off dance/singer Mum and other than dropping you off and picking you up from different classes I shied away from putting any pressure on you or getting involved with teachers unless I felt it was absolutely essential and then only once in 20 years.

One of the things I do not agree with in the programme though is when the Mums pass on their worries and concerns to their children even though at the outset the children don’t have a problem with what is happening in the dance lesson and are only interested in giving their best performance.

But I do like the Mums passion, support and belief in their children and the lengths that they have to go to in order to help them out.

What encourage you to get me involved with the Arts?

I always wanted to be a dancer but my family could not afford the lessons when I was at school. I wanted you to have good deportment, excellent balance, high energy levels, fitness and access to other like minded girls having two brothers yourself.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 
What did you know about the world of the Performing Arts before you signed me up to lessons?

Absolutely nothing, that’s why I love the “Dance Moms” programme so much, it gives me a peek into the training room that I never saw with your training as your sessions were after school and parents weren’t allowed to watch, in fact when it came to ballet class it was your Dad that took you on exam day and learnt how to put up your hair buns, he has nerves of steel! It was always nice to watch your end of term performances in dance and later your drama productions.

Playing Mrs Banks In Mary Poppins 

Love 2 Dance
When do you remember, me putting the majority of my focus into classical singing?

Right up until the start of High School we thought you would train to be a dancer or an actress, then a letter home from school to offer piano lessons for 30 minutes and one shortly afterward to offer one-to-one singing lessons for 30 minutes changed everything. After being told for years you sing too loud for school choirs and your voice cuts like a blade through a group you found a niche that embodied everything you loved; singing, dance, drama, a challenge and the ability to sing as loud as you liked without a microphone and whoosh suddenly you wanted to be an opera singer!

This was frankly a bolt out of the blue and something completely outside of our knowledge, we didn’t listen to classical music, we’d never been to an opera or knew anybody that had, although your Grandpa loved classical music and that was the entire family’s awareness. We put our faith in your singing tutor Jayne Wilson to guide you and we just provided lots of encouragement.

How did you find out more about the world of opera and classical singing?

We were encouraged to enter you for singing competitions in local festivals, your first one in Blackpool was nerve-racking for me, in fact, it was always me that had the butterflies and nerves while you swanned in and really enjoyed it all. This was my perfect introduction to the world of classical music, we listened to lots of singers of all ages and levels of experience, varied repertoire, and critique for all entrants at the end of each set of performances. We also saw how the children coped with the pressure of the events and learned a lot from these annual institutions. The realisation of how long it would take for you to achieve your goals and find a career started to dawn on us, this was not a career path for the faint-hearted. But your natural perseverance and willingness to stick with activities that you undertook encouraged us to believe that you could do it, and that it was not just a passing fad. It had to be your dream Charlotte and not just what we wanted you to do.

Success In The Festivals
After eleven years of training do you still feel the same way?

After working full time in an office from leaving school both your Dad and I just wanted all of you to do what you loved to do and I’m really happy we can still continue to help you to do this, and to thank you for introducing us to this beautiful art form. But I must admit I would try and discourage you if you were not so committed and willing to put so much of yourself into your singing. It is a long and arduous process with no promise of work or success at the end.

But Charlotte we believe in you 100% and will support you every step of the way.

87 thoughts on “Opera Mom

  1. Your unexpected deviations from the roads you appeared to be travelling must have been a bit bewildering to parents, but it is apparent they coped really well with following and supporting you in this strange new world!

    1. I hadn’t really thought about it at all until we had this discussion they just rolled with it. I have an amazing level of support and encouragement from both of my parents.

      Best wishes

  2. Great ! Thanks for sharing – You have a Fantastic mother ! (and a fabulous Dad ) . I’m proud to have meet them.

    All the very best for all of you ! You are on the best way, you working hard and you have a very nice soul Charlotte !
    Bravo Mademoiselle !

  3. Great to see you with your Mom, who is as pretty as you are. I see where you get your talents. Honor thy parents all the days of thy life and it will be well with thee. May the Lord bless you richly is my prayer in 2017

  4. I like how you turned this around after being told you sing too loud for school choirs and your voice cuts like a blade through a group. Your ability is well suited for what you’re doing now. Still, don’t overlook rock and roll. You never know what may happen with the right song.

    1. Thanks Joe I spent three years at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland singing in two different choirs a female chamber choir and the main RCS Chamber choir they taught me how to sing effectively in a group situation in many different settings. I would never overlook rock and roll my music tastes are quite eclectic and most of my music friends in High School had rock bands, I sang with a couple of them.

      Best wishes

  5. Brilliant post Charlotte,
    You get so much support from your mum and dad,it’s wonderful.
    Good luck in everything you do, and wishing you a very successful 2017..😘😘

  6. I really enjoyed this post with all the photos of you when you were younger. I admire your parents very much and read your Mum’s responses with great interest. Her total honesty was immediately obvious and her love and support for you as well.

      1. My mother is too! 😮 It’s good to have someone reliable who isn’t afraid to tell the whole truth. It’s unpleasant at times, but so much better for us! When we get praise it means so much more than from other people.
        Best wishes, Clare

  7. I thought the same as Joe Harwell. I think many people receive this type of criticism and quit completely. Their talent is no longer used because it was applied to the wrong activity. They don’t understand that it simply may not be the venue for what you can do. If you put the right gift in the right place, you’ll find where you belong. You have what you have for a reason. I wish that more people would take the road less traveled and more parents would allow their children to take that road opposed to the traditional way of what people think ‘success’ is. In my mind, success is making a good living from doing what you’re passionate about. Everything else is simply breathing…existing. It’s okay to be unsure. It’s normal to be scared. But it shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. Thank you both for sharing.

    1. Wonderful reply Eric I agree. I’ve never done what everyone else does and that can sometimes leave me out but I’m very lucky I’m not a big worrier I just sort of get caught up in the whirlwinds.

      Best wishes

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Charlotte. I know how wonderful it is to have a supportive family when things go wrong, and it was nice to hear what your mom had to say about your perseverance. I just lost out on an audition yesterday that both I and my voice teacher thought I was sure to get, but now I feel encouraged to keep going and ignore setbacks, just like you do. Thanks for being an inspiration!

    By the way, my sister and I are coming to the Opera Scenes that you’re performing in on February 3rd. Do you know about how long the performance lasts? It takes us forever to get home from London, so we like to plan out our travel schedule well in advance!



    1. Cate just keep going I haven’t enough fingers and toes to count the auditions I’ve been knocked back form even though I thought I had a good chance. The trick is not to think of them as set backs but as learning opportunities.

      The performance in total is due to finish between 7 and 7:30pm about an hour and a half to two hours. There are some fabulous opera scenes being created I’m sure you will enjoy them.

      Best wishes

  9. I hope other moms and dads read this when deciding how to “help” their kids in their chosen pursuits. Much love to both you and your mom. <3

  10. Three moments in history I regret not being there to see: (1) Three Polish mathematicians breaking the first Enigma cipher (1932); (2) Vasco Nuñez de Balboa reaching a mountaintop and seeing the Pacific below him (1513); (3) Charlotte Hoather telling her mum she wants to be an opera singer.

  11. Love your photos, Charlotte, of you when you were a child. You and your mum look lovely! How nice to have your Mother’s take on your singing, dancing, etc. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes for great things in 2017! Hugs 😘

  12. Charlotte, this was a fabulous post and wonderful to see your parents so supportive of you. I love those pics too. Sounds like music was already in the family. May 2017 present many exciting operatic adventures for you and your family to enjoy. 🙂

  13. This was a wonderful post to see how your interest evolved, and how you came to be where you are today. Nice to see some early pictures. I do not know the program that you based the interview with your mother on, but would probably watch it, if I had access to it. Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    1. I quite like the dance teacher, she’s a bit sharp and compares her students against each other a bit too often but I wonder if that’s for the program rather than what she always used to do. It’s on TV catch up.

      Best wishes

      1. We have TV catch up, but only for local content, neither BBC or ITV have this program on, so will only able to see if I come over there again one day.

  14. Who can imagine what it takes to become an opera singer?
    Your question to your Mom and her answers are very open and honest about your journey. Got a tickle when your Mom talked about your Dad doing the bun in your hair. Loved reading every part of it and truly enjoyed the photos.
    Thanks Charlotte, for sharing.

  15. You have a gorgeous Mom, Charlotte. Now I know where you get your good looks! And hands off – that’s just as it should be. I was a soccer and kacrisse Mom, a field hockey and competitive riding Mom – it would have been too exhausting to try to interfere in all of that – your Mom was perceptive and wise!

    1. I was never exhausted with my fun activities but I know sometimes my parents ate their tea at work so they could come and pick us up because there wasn’t enough time to get home and back out again. One time they got half way home with my brothers and forgot I was at ballet 🙂 hehe I don’t let them forget that even though I was fine.

      Best wishes

  16. This is a wonderful and beautiful post. I have always been aware of how your parents have supported you in your work – without it being a field they had engaged in previously. Knowing how hard a world opera is to make a career in, I have always felt that you had, not only the voice, but also all the other essential qualities and ingredients which are partly personality and partly upbringing to make a go of it. Lady luck is also going to play her part, but however that pans out, you will find a role in life to use all you have learnt and give lots of pleasure at the same time. And your mum looks smashing too!

    1. Thank you Hilary, the only thing that I am sure of is that whatever the future holds my parents will be there with me every step of the way. I am so lucky to be able to study and train to do what I love and nothing would give me greater pleasure to find a career within the world of opera.

      Best wishes

  17. I used to watch “Dance Moms” … 😀 then I got Netflix and moved to other kind of series (actually I am watching “Gilmore Girls”)… anyway, loved to read this interview … Your mom seems great… Also loved the photographs of you two together! 😉 Wishing you the best. Happy weekend, dear Charlotte 😉 <3

    1. I only managed to watch a few of her favourite episodes on catch up but I loved to watch the dancers on stage and in the rehearsal rooms. Glad you liked the pictures 🙂

      Best wishes

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