Welcoming in the New Year!

January 6, 2019 — 46 Comments

On My Way Out

After the first week of 2019, I feel energised, happy, and hungry to step closer towards my personal goals. After throwing myself at all my targets head on, I did feel a little tired today. But after eating a tasty homemade chicken, sausage, and vegetable casserole, to fight against any last germs and lingering colds that seem to be in the air. I still say, “Bring it On!”

This week I have updated my calendar and diary with work deadlines, events and fun outings with friends. I have treated myself to a weekly planner, that allows me to plot year goals and monthly goals that I can track the progress weekly and create focused to-do lists. So far it’s helped me to be prepared for my immediate goals whilst maintaining my focus on tasks for future projects. I really like it, it feels like an adult star chart that helps to keep me motivated and positive. How do you assess and manage your goals and productivity? Do you have any tips or suggestions that have helped you to achieve a personal goal?

Today I arranged to meet up with my friend Beth Taylor who I studied with at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Beth is a fabulous mezzo-soprano and as we live at opposite ends of the country this was a great opportunity for us to catch up and just chill out together.

Beth and Charlotte

One challenge I’m tackling head on this year is learning how to run. Of course, I know how to run, but previously I found no enjoyment in it. I would occasionally sprint for a bus but would be greeted with breathlessness and possibly catching it in time. Luckily for me, I love dancing and trying out new hobbies but I have been very resistant to running even though it can be a cheap hobby to participate in. I read an article about Lisette Oropesa, a soprano working in the industry who explained that she began running to help her lose weight so that she could be more appealing for casting. But as I read the article, I realised the overall benefits of being able to run were important to an opera singer. Often opera stages are very large and directors may want you to run on from the wings before a big aria. I would hate to work so hard and get an opportunity to perform in a big opera house and then begin an aria out of breath because of poor running technique. So I download the NHS/BBC app ‘Couch to 5K’. It’s is aimed at beginners and builds up to being able to run a 5K slowly.  I chose the comedian Sarah Millican to narrate my run routines and so far I have enjoyed listening to her encouraging voice. The routine starts you off with baby steps,  including both running and walking to help build up towards the 5K goal.  I do still run like Phoebe Buffay with the occasional disco arm moves if inspired by my playlist. I’ll keep you posted with my progress. I don’t think I’ll ever be like Mo Farah but I’m glad I didn’t put it off.

Ready To Run

I can now run for 8 minutes and I am getting my pose ready for the Olympics ( Ha Ha )

One other task that I have set myself this year is to attempt to re-write my biography to include some of my achievements from 2018.  I find this difficult as it is a real skill to write a comprehensive yet concise biog, which can then be condensed even further for auditions and production companies who request biogs of 200, 150, or 100 words maximum. If any of you can offer any guidance or make suggestions on how best to achieve this I would be really grateful.  Here is an example of a short one I wrote recently what do you think? How could I improve it to be interesting in a program?

Soprano Charlotte Hoather completed her Master’s in Performance (Voice) at the Royal College of Music in June 2018, under the tutelage of Rosa Mannion and Simon Lepper, previously gaining a First-Class Honours Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying under Judith Howarth.

Following five-star reviews in 2017 for her performance of ‘Uccelina’ in Scottish Opera’s production of BambinO in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, Charlotte continued in the role for a tour of Paris for the Théâtre du Châtelet before the production moved to the Metropolitan Opera House, New York for a series of sell-out shows in 2018. In July 2018 Charlotte won first prize in the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Charlotte’s professional performances include the role of ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, the role of ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Mansfield Park, and the role of ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s production of Candide. In 2019 Charlotte will be performing the role of ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of Tim Benjamin’s new opera The Fire of Olympus which will be touring the North Of England in Autumn 2019.

46 responses to Welcoming in the New Year!

  1. 

    If it’s editing alone, then you can tighten the last paragraph by dropping all four ‘the role of’s and the ‘which will be’, saving you fifteen words without altering the sense at all.

    In the first para, try replacing ‘previously gaining’ with ‘following’, and delete the subsequent studying. The middle paragraph’s as tight as it can be already but that’s almost a twenty word reduction overall.

    Does that help?

    PS, your running gear looks very flattering!

    • 

      Yes, I can change that ‘the role of’ and ‘which will be’ quickly thank you Martin.
      The gear prompted me actually as my Mum got it for me for Christmas for yoga class and it was reflective for runners 🏃🏼‍♀️. This year instead of saying oh I can’t run or I can’t… I’m going to find a way of turning it around to I can …, my New Years resolution for 2019 😊.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    I agree with the removal of all those “roles of” in that last paragraph… You could simply say, has performed in and list the shows. Or you might say, Has breathed life into the roles of and list the shows and characters. In any case, you have a most impressive list of credentials and it must be hard to figure out what people will want to know about YOU. So, perhaps, pretend that you are reading about you for the fist time… Love the idea of learning to run. I would imagine that anything which increases your lung capacity can only enhance your singing career! Cheers

    • 

      Thanks Annette, good advice.

      I really have never enjoyed long distance running/jogging and I think it’s because I always go too hard at it from the start. I’m ok in sprints, swimming long distance and dancing for hours but there is something about running that gives me stitch and a metallic taste in my mouth. I’m finding this walk, jog, walk, jog easy to follow and motivate, a couple of my lovely housemates joined me on my second trip out.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. 

    Another possible version:
    Soprano Charlotte Hoather, after gaining a First-Class Honours Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, studying under Judith Howarth, completed her Master’s in Performance (Voice) at the Royal College of Music in June 2018, under the tutelage of Rosa Mannion and Simon Lepper, .
    Following five-star reviews in 2017 for her performance as ‘Uccelina’ in Scottish Opera’s production of BambinO in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, Charlotte continued in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Then the production moved to the Metropolitan Opera House, New York for a series of sell-out shows in 2018.
    In July 2018 Charlotte won first prize in the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
    Charlotte’s professional performances include the roles of ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s ‘Mansfield Park’, and ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s ‘Candide’.
    In 2019 Charlotte will be performing as ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of Tim Benjamin’s new opera, ‘The Fire of Olympus’, touring the North Of England in the autumn.

    (172 words; it shouldn’t be difficult to chop a further 22 words if required.)

  4. 

    I think running is great exercise for a musician, and I think it would be great for a singer since a lot of it is about breath control. OK, I’m a runner (I run about 9 or 10 km three or four times a week). I am also an extreme Introvert and running is very much an Introvert’s sport (I write stories, poetry or music in my head while I run). Anyway, I think any type of performer has to stay in shape (I was surprised at how much working with weights improved my keyboard playing!) and I would think that stamina work of running would be perfect for an opera singer.

    I like the resume and thinks it works, but on reading the comments above, I can see what they are saying. But when I have read credentials it always does say “the role of”, doesn’t it? Maybe “Charlotte will be performing as ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of… “? Hmmm. Not sure. From the few bios I’ve read (usually like a big name singing with the Boston Symphony), they will use the phrase “the role of”, so you might need to ask someone in the business (some one you work with at college?) about that.

    Anyway, the best for the New years! Cool that you have work lined up, including premiering a role.

    • 

      I know a number of singers that jog and in the past I’ve always just thought that’s not for me I can’t run long distances but I’m stopping myself from thinking ‘I can’t’ this year and trying to find a way of solving things instead. Dance lessons are quite expensive without student discounts and access to Uni dance classes so I have to find low cost keep fit options too.

      I like the suggestions made by Martin, Annette and Col, I like changing things up and perhaps if all we singers do similar biogs it gets boring for the audience and that’s who it is written for. I’m working on new songs at the moment ready for competition and performance and sometimes I forget how important the admin. is and leave it to the last minute so that’s why I’m trying to sort it out now ready for the end of this month. Cheers Trent.

      All the best,
      Charlotte

  5. 

    Wow, great new, congratulation for all !! – Nice to run – I just walk with MP3, listening your CD and some piano – Because, sometime I have to walk for 4 of 5 hours for make photo, and because It’s good for for my creativity to listen to you and Anna’s piano.
    For your bio, imagine you have to make a flyer , it could be helpful to choose the important words. Wish you the best !!

  6. 

    Brilliant Charlotte, I look forward to reading your new biography. Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. 😘

    • 

      I missed you and Terry in work this year the time went so fast, I hope you both had a fabulous Christmas with all the family. I’m working on dates for a couple of concerts in your area this summer and i’ll be at Llangollen performing in July if you can make it? Hope I see you before that anyway!
      Charlotte 🥰

  7. 

    Running (or routine exercise) is a great hobby if you can get to enjoy it. I know this can be hard to get to like it. I did not like exercise much before but I think I started to like it now (and of course if you also understand the benefits). Keep at it!

  8. 

    Wow, Charlotte what a year that you have had! Now, running, love the pink socks too.
    Keep up the great work Charlotte, and add to your biography…

  9. 

    Reading your bio it a reminder how much you’ve achieved 😊

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 6, 2019 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks Alex, it’s keeping the momentum up that can be difficult, it’s a case of continually auditioning and coping with that.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Happy New Year, Charlotte! What an outstanding biography – I hope it will continue to grow and grow. I like to have long term goals but in order to actually feel I am accomplishing anything, I do weekly lists of what I will do each day. For example, this year I have a long term goal of decluttering my house but am making weekly lists with one or two decluttering chores incorporated.
    I used to jog a lot when I was your age – not really run, but jog so I could build up my stamina and enjoy my surroundings. You need to be very careful with your body if you run – there are a good number of problems you can encounter and I would hate to see you impact your singing goals! So stretch a LOT and run in moderation!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you Noelle, I also need short term goals to tick off on my to do list too. Good luck with the decluttering it is so hard to do. I have boxes of stuff in storage and miss having loads of books and scores to dip into quickly and easily and I’ve only 20% of my clothes in London, now that’s what I call a sacrifice of living in London rental space!

      When I told my Mum I was starting jogging she said it was bad for my knees, pelvic floor and my ovaries! Eek, but I doubt I’ll ever get into vigorous jogging I just don’t enjoy it as much as a dance classes. I’m only planning on an hour each week just to make up for two dance classes I can no longer do and I do my yoga nearly every day. I see people jogging at night and in the rain and I just think nope – not going there – thanks for the tips of stretching though. This start up method means fast walking, then jog, then fast walking, then jog a little.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 
    Peter Alexander January 6, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Lots of really good suggestions here, Charlotte. As a writer, I know that you can almost always cut what you write. For an 800 word article, if I end up with 830 I can always pare it down to 780 or 790 with no loss of meaning. (If you know “The Little Prince,” the author, St. Exupery, once wrote that “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”) I too was going to suggest leaving out all the “the role of”s, but others beat me to that.

    A few other points: I never see bios with dates of degrees. I would also change “her performance of Uccelina” to “her Uccelina”; drop “production of” Bambino; drop “Charlotte’s” Professional performances include . . . and so forth. A good rule is to avoid progressive tense: change “will be performing” to “will perform.” Also, I think that using your surname is better than using your first name, but that may be different in the UK. In any case, here is my edited version:

    Soprano Charlotte Hoather holds a Master’s in Performance (Voice) from the Royal College of Music, where she studied with Rosa Mannion and Simon Lepper, and a First-Class Honours Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying under Judith Howarth.

    Following five-star reviews in 2017 for ‘Uccelina’ in Scottish Opera’s BambinO in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, she toured the role to Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and subsequently the Metropolitan Opera in New York for a series of sold-out shows in 2018. Hoather won first prize in the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in July 2018.

    Professional performances include ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Mansfield Park, and ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s production of Candide. In 2019 Hoather will perform the role of ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of Tim Benjamin’s new opera The Fire of Olympus, touring the North of England in Autumn 2019.

    As a consumer of artist bios, I observe that too many are very much the same, and I encourage people to include things that create some individuality—such as the pianist who loved to collect old typewriters. I have never forgotten that! I have words and phrases that I hate and encourage people to avoid. I won’t bore you with all of them, but every artist in the worlds is “much in demand” or “one of the most in demand”—which I believe means exactly nothing. Listing your performances should show that you are in demand. And in that regard, there is no such thing as operas companies “like” the Metropolitan or conductors “like” Simon Rattle, etc. Simply say that you have worked with companies, or artists, or conductors, “including.” Much better English.

    Another thing I observe is that a good variety of photos, updated at least annually, is very helpful, especially for young artists.

    Finally, I think it’s great that your are running. You are entering a very demanding profession, and keeping healthy and building endurance are very, very important. But God help all the other sopranos if you became any “more appealing for casting!” The way you project personality and enthusiasm is one of your great strengths and one reason I expect to see you go far.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      You know Peter when I was at School I can’t ever remember learning too much about tenses in a formal way and hadn’t even heard of progressive tenses, fortunately I took up the study of German, French and Italian and their grammar, verb conjugations and tenses are compulsory learning so it has helped me but I still make the same old mistakes in English.

      I’ve noticed that when program writers who write my short biography themselves from my website they always include that I’m a second dan black belt in karate, I always thought why would listeners of music be interested in that but like you say it’s just something different. I remember my older brother entering a dance competition once where he choreographed a karate kata (a pattern of movements) to music it was amazing.
      My Mum hates me saying ‘like’ for ‘such as’ and as you wrote I could just reword it better; I think I will blame that on my Northern English phrasing he he. I would love to organise another photo shoot my old friend is doing so well now I can’t afford his rates and he’s always fully booked which is fabulous I always knew he would do well after meeting him when we were 17 at a Youth Positive event. I enjoyed reading all your tips.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 
    Peter Alexander January 7, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Oops! I forgot to cut out some more redundant “production of”s. Make the last paragraph:
    Professional performances include ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s Mansfield Park, and ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s Candide. In 2019 Hoather will perform ‘Pandora’ in Tim Benjamin’s new opera The Fire of Olympus at Radio Opera, touring the North of England in Autumn 2019.

  13. 
    Peter Alexander January 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Radius . . . Radius . . . sorry.

  14. 

    As somebody who reads a lot of resumes/bios, the one thing I would suggest is that you lead with professional work and list your academic work towards the bottom. At some point, later in your career, you will simply cut the bottom.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      Yes I agree, thank you Ray, I actually pondered about this order of information recently.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  15. 

    You are bird whose wings will never be clipped.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      This lack of conforming used to cause me a few disapproving and negative vibes but as you say its inbuilt in me that I just like doing things different to the norm and on the edge, as long as I don’t do an Icarus!

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    I’m certainly not one who can edit another. You know how I feel about your career and the way you have handled your life so far. I can only say, trust the advice your parents raised you with to continue on.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      Seriously GP I don’t know how some singers get on without the support my parents offer me, picking me up after each bang against the rocks, dusting me down and pushing me off again. My Dad is the biggest optimist ever and my Mum the biggest pessimist a good team 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    You look super cute and fit, Charlotte. Remember the days when everyone thought Opera stars had to be corpulent? You blast that myth! <3

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks Beth, I don’t weigh myself I depend on watching out if my trousers and jeans get tight. I had a real blow out over Christmas lots of treats now I have to rein it back in again 😊. What I love about Opera is there is room for everyone, every size, height and so on, if you want certain roles though there seems to be an expected look.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  18. 

    Great for you!

    You have a nice looking body, keep up the exercise and home cooking. And I better not say too much else or the gals will ‘me too’ me.

    Yes, have a few bios of different sizes ready to roll. Saves you stress of having to fulfill different requirements all the time. For your full length bio, think about an ‘illustrated bio’ with photos. (If you have great photos.) Few people use illustrated bios. That is what I use. And put a link in your short bio to your long bio so they can easily see more about you if they like.

    You can put your long bio right on WordPress.

    Here is mine.

    nsfw

    https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/biography-of-daniel-d-teoli-jr/

    Now, I don’t care what I put in my bio. I’m not looking for a job. And it is sure to offend someone, somewhere. And as long as it is, it could be hundreds of times longer. It is just a small, snapshot of what I do.

    Good luck with your New Year’s goal and dreams!

    Mine is to look through and clean out 100,000+ photos I’ve taken from 2013 to 2018. (If I get though 50,000 of them I will still be happy.)

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you for the advise, it looks like I have plenty to work with over the weekend 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  19. 

    I hate trying to sell myself in a bio or cv, but it looks like you have made a great start. Good luck with the running. I am not built for running so I walk. Perhaps the new opera will come to the NW? If so I could try and catch it. All the best for 2019 I am sure you will achieve all that you set out to do x

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 8, 2019 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Christine, I believe that the opera will tour the North West of England but we haven’t been given the locations as yet. When I get them I will let you know as it would be lovely to see you in audience 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Congrats on all your accomplishments in 2018. Wishing you many more in 2019.
    My only suggestion would be to list things with bullet points making it easier for someone to see them at a glance. Looks quite impressive. Hugs xx

  21. 

    While I do not have a Planner, a regular Calendar hangs on my Wall. I also have a White Board with erasable markers. The Wall Calendar just helps me see the entire month at one time while the White Board sometimes becomes a jumbled mess of Reminders and random tasks I need to complete.

    As for exercise, I do not like running, but I typically walk a whole lot as I’m out taking photographs or on my day job. Other than that, I stick to various exercises with a dumbbell and push-ups.

    Finally, I don’t feel like I can help with your Bio because I change my own periodically throughout a year. Always looking for ways to improve through several revisions. Over the years, it has gotten better, but I’ve never perfected it. I used to write it in First Person, now I use Third Person as you have here. But yes, it’s helpful to include the most recent accomplishments (Awards), especially when you’re limited on Word Count.

    I use a Bio, CV, and Artist Statement. I used to separate my Artist Bio from my Writer Bio, but lately, more people have allowed me to combine the two.

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