Performing With Friends


Friday Concert 5th May 2017
Anna Cooper, Prajna Indrawati and Me


On Friday I had a wonderful opportunity to perform near home in Chester with my talented peers Anna Cooper (Mezzo-Soprano) and Prajna Indrawati (Piano). We have all become great friends over this past year whilst we have been studying at the Royal College of Music in London. It was a delight to work on this recital programme with them both.

The concert took place in the beautiful St. Werburgh’s RC Church. The church had recently invested in a wonderful grand piano, which had a brilliant tone to support the voice. We arrived in the early evening after driving up from London during the afternoon and we immediately began rehearsing and preparing for the concert. We tested the acoustics both for singing and speaking and adapted our performances to reflect this. In the concert, I performed a range of songs from my personal journey through the world of classical music, featuring songs that I felt represented key moments of my training and other personal favourites.

We had an absolute blast and I would love to go back. The audience were very friendly and welcoming, which is always a nice feeling for a performer! It means you can take risks and experiment with ideas that you have so that music is alive with spontaneity and imagination. I was especially pleased to see my parents and my good friends Gill and Terry Howard in the audience who had driven to Chester after work to catch the performance.


On the 16th May, I will be participating in another set of Opera Scenes at the Royal College of Music under the baton of Christopher Middleton and the direction of James Bonas. We began rehearsals from the 24th April meeting twice a week for 90 minutes. I will be performing the opening scene from “Il Re Pastore” by Mozart as the character Aminta. The opera was first performed on 23 April 1775 in Salzburg, at the Palace of the Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo when Mozart was just 19.

Aminta is a young and impoverished shepherd boy who is in love with a shepherdess, Elisa. But as in all good operas, nothing is quite that straightforward. Alessandro the mighty King and ruler of Macedonia had just fought and defeated an evil tyrant, Stratone of Sidon.  Alessandro was determined to find the rightful heir to the throne of Sidon and sets out on a mission to bring order back to the city-state.


You guessed it, Aminta is the rightful heir but initially, wants no part of it.  He is happy living the simple life of a shepherd and plans to marry his true love Elisa at the earliest opportunity. Aminta is convinced by Alessandro to return to Sidon to take up the throne and put aside his love of Elisa for his duty to his people.

Alessandro believes that it would be good for Aminta, and for Sidon, if he marries Tamiri the daughter of the deposed tyrant, Stratone.  But she loves another and Aminta’s heart lies with Elisa.  Elisa and Tamiri plead with Alessandro to change his mind and allow them to marry for love.  Realising how unjust his original proclamation would be he relents and allows Aminta to marry Elisa.  The story ends with Aminta being crowned King of all Sidon.

This performance will be a first for me, as Aminta is a pants role, which means I will have to play a boy. The reason for this is because the role was originally written for a ‘castratto’, a male singer who has the range of a soprano or mezzo-soprano. From the middle of the 16th Century through to 1870 when it became illegal in Italy, young pre-pubescent boys would be castrated so that their larynx would not develop into that of an adult male.  This meant that they retained a childlike quality to their voices with an extended range.  Their bodies without the influence of testosterone developed in a unique way, their joints did not harden the same as an adult male and their bones would grow unusually long.  This often gave them a tremendous lung capacity coupled with a youthful-sounding voice.  As the practice fell out of favour the roles that had originally been written for their voices would then be performed by women.


45 thoughts on “Performing With Friends

  1. Congratulations for both your past performance and the up-coming Aminta role. I can fully understand why the practice of castration finally fell out of favor!!

    1. Some men can still reach a high range now, they’re called countertenors, seems amazing now that they ever did it, thank goodness time has moved on!
      Best wishes

    1. Thanks John, getting back to work after my Easter break 😊. I met a guy who remembered me from Warrington several years ago before I went off to University, so that’s always nice, he enjoyed hearing my progress so that’s good.
      Best wishes

  2. Wow ! Quite a story Charlotte. your writing is even better than before. Like to see more pics of this event ! Look forward to reading more 🙂

    1. We only got a couple of photos at the end of the concert sadly. The church was absolutely beautiful inside too, amazing stained glass windows.
      Best wishes Joe

      1. I’m starting to have partners for my artist residency candidate – And I work new video on beer – from the barley fields till the tasting :-). A version with piano music and a lyric version 🙂 … I’ll talk about that again this summer.

  3. How exciting for you to have performed with friends and have been so well received. Your “pants” role will “wow” the pants off the audience, I am certain. Have fun. 🙂

    1. Thanks Annette, this pants role has certainly left me with a few bruises lol. I’m getting exciting now only two more sleeps 😴😴 hehe.
      Best wishes

  4. That was great you had a chance to perform near home. I am sure the audiences love to see someone from their area performs.

    The story that you will perform soon sounds very interesting. I am glad it is a happy ending 🙂

  5. Interesting and fascinating story about pants’ roles. How nice to be performing with friends. Wonderful that your parents and friends could come to see your performance. Best of luck with your performance, Charlotte! Hugs 😘

    1. Thank goodness times move on! It was good to have an excuse for an overnight visit home and a full English Breakfast before we got on our way 😊.
      Best wishes

    1. Getting excited now, only one week to go. Getting into my pants role, I leant against a wall like men do and slid down it, got a nice bruise on my back from a plug 😅 so in the future I’ll definitely stick to ladylike.
      Best wishes

  6. I got all excited about Il Re Pastore until I took in the date. It is Edwin’s Birthday and we will be on a train somewhere in France, so sadly we will not be there, but hope you have a splendid time.

  7. I suppose it would be too much dedication to art to expect you to quickly undergo a sex-change, and then get castrated, so that you could really fit the role?
    Learning to move like a boy may be a challenge, too.
    I do like the fact that Mozart usually went for happy endings. You don’t have to lie poisoned or stabbed or something at the end, singing your heart out before you keel over.

  8. I am glad you weren’t delayed on your journey to Chester and had time to rehearse! I am so pleased the concert went well. Good luck with your Il Re Pastore concert next week – though I am sure you don’t need luck at all with your skill and all the rehearsals you are having!

    1. Thank you Clare, I’m on my way to rehearsal and my singing lesson now. We had a delay on the M6 but our sat nav took us up through Whitchurch on all the Country roads which was nice for Prajna to see.
      Best wishes

    1. I’d not heard of this opera before I was allocated the scene so it’s always good to do full research on the opera to know my place in it. Hope you’re well.
      Best wishes

  9. Charlotte I just can’t believe I ran into you at Marey Mercy. I just found her non related to blogging, and was fascinated by her, and lo and behold, who is there before me, commenting, you! What an amazing world. Artists find each other across disciplines. You, of course, are remarkable and it is fun to watch you fly!

    1. Fabulous isn’t it, we’ve been blog friends quite a while now, I love her photos, just wish she was in the UK we could get some wild creations 😄. Lovely to hear from you too Cindy, hope you’re having fun.
      Best wishes

  10. Lovely story and event, Charlotte. You are having a varied and rich experience. I cannot wait to see you performing here in California some day.

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