[ This is a new promotional video from Scottish Opera for BambinO ]
With August, almost upon us and preparations for the ‘BambinO’ performances at the Edinburgh Festival about to start, I am busy working on my rehearsal schedules for the coming months. One of the most important things that I have found whilst studying music is the need for good forward planning. If you don’t sit down and spend quality time working out rehearsal schedules you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed quite quickly. I try not to put things off, it is better to know what needs to be accomplished and set time aside to achieve the goals that you have set to complete.
I try and work through my diary and schedule my time as accurately as possible. I set myself tasks for each day and then again for each week. This allows me to be realistic about what I can achieve in the time available to me. Knowing what concert and College commitments I have over the horizon is so important as these need to be introduced into my schedule with enough lead time to complete them.
Back in December 2016 I received an e-mail quite out of the blue from Gary Waller, the chairman of the Gustav Mahler Society. Having read my blog and listened to my recording of Strauss’s ‘Zueignung’ he invited me to perform at a recital as part of their 2017 programme of events. I was quite taken aback at the time and was thrilled to have been asked, the fact that the enquiry had come after reading my blog was just ‘the cherry on the top’.
Following the initial enquiry, we exchanged several e-mails, met on a number of occasions, and a date and location for the concert were agreed. Over the months Gary has been wonderful, supporting my recitals, enthusiastic with his encouragement, and understanding of my work and college commitments. I am hoping to perform a mixed programme with a little something for everyone. With pieces by Mahler, Strauss, Schubert, Wolf, Liszt, Grieg, Quilter, and Dvorak. The date is Tuesday 10 October 2017 at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Church Hall, Bishopsgate, EC2M 3TL Tickets are available from The Gustav Mahler Society.
To prepare a rehearsal schedule for an event such as this, there are several areas that I need to factor in and work on. For each new song, I have to translate the lyrics, both literally and poetically, trying to visualise in my mind what I think the composer or poet wanted to achieve with the song. I then learn the music and how this interacts with the accompaniment. I then bring the lyrics and the music together working on the alignment and clarity of vowels and then concentrate on how to articulate each consonant so that the text can be understood, whilst making sure the legato line is not disturbed. Finally, it all comes together so that I have my interpretation of the song which I hope reflects a little of my own personality too.
To close tonight I just want to thank everyone who downloaded a copy of ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ and I hope that you enjoyed it and that it made you smile.
Update: Monday 31st July 2017, I’ve just received the very sad and quite shocking news that my friend Gary Waller died suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend. We had only spoken recently when Gary asked me to learn Schubert’s ‘An Sylvia’ for the concert as it was one of his favourites and I’ve been singing it today. I will remember him every time I sing it. Even though I’d only met Gary this past year in London, I feel we knew each other really well as he read my blog religiously and always sent me a supportive message to encourage me. Our concert has been postponed whilst the Mahler Society come to terms with his immense loss. We shall miss him, I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends.