Short Back And Sides

Feeling well-rested and supercharged today thanks to blue skies, sunshine, and time with my parents. I decided to visit my family, and in true Hoather fashion, there was no rest for the wicked. We made the most of the good weather and decided to tackle the evergreen hedge at the front of the property. I had a great time, learning how to use electric hedge clippers – and I am glad to report no fingers or thumbs were hurt in the process of taking of these photos.

Before my journey home, I had a wonderful time collaborating again with my two friends Jenny Martins (Pianist) and Roger Paterson (Tenor). We met one another last year when we were working together for Northern Opera on their production of Much Ado About Nothing. In May, we decided to join forces and find a way to perform together whilst we were in Lockdown. We had so much fun, we decided to do another duet from the same opera.

I am delighted to share with you the duet from Act 4 of Much Ado About Nothing. Leading up to this point in the story, Claudio has dismissed Hero. He publicly shames her on their ‘proposed’ wedding day, as he believes that she has been unfaithful. After this brutal condemnation, Hero is advised by the Friar, to act as if she is dead. This may seem very dramatic in modern-day, but perhaps it is similar to lying low on social media and disappearing from the public eye. In the time that passes, Claudio learns the truth and realises that his accusations are false. Claudio now feels tremendous guilt by his actions, which he believes has ultimately led to her death. Luckily for Claudio, Shakespeare doesn’t leave the desperate lover in mental-torture purgatory for too long, he soon finds out that Hero lives and finds redemption through her forgiveness and love. This is the moment that you see in the duet that I am thrilled to share with you. There is a modern editing twist in our version, as Jenny has re-imagined the meeting under Lockdown circumstances. The power of a Video Call!

I had a great time contributing to this project and I even developed my home editing skills through the use of a green screen and Adobe editing software. Picking the backdrop was a really fun challenge. It was too tempting to be underwater – but alas professionalism kicked in. As the play is set in Messina, a port on the island of Sicily, I thought I better pick a Romantic Italian Balcony. I would love to hear what you think!

63 thoughts on “Short Back And Sides

  1. My goodness that hedge is gigantic. Your duet was sublime. I liked your cafe scene. You did a great job there was no tearing in the greenscreen effect.

    1. The hedge has had a good growing year and was starting to overhang the pavement so it had to get trimmed.

      Thank you John, I prefer to sing live with an audience and look in peoples faces too so its been very interesting learning how to sing into camera, I usually don’t look directly down the lens so I’m trying out lots of different styles. We’re learning how to use an old green screen my Dad had the first time I used it there was a mirror behind it with a light above that I’d left on, so I learnt pretty quickly to turn that light off.
      Best wishes

    1. He’s working I’ll tell you all about it soon, so I decided as he is so busy to pop to my parents for a short visit as I can work and practice and get to use a garden too.
      All my best wishes

    1. My Dad has had to buy some new tools, they usually get someone in to do the hedges but they’ve not been available and unfortunately the hedges won’t stop growing for covid. I just held the platform steady for a while but I decided I wanted to have a go it was quite scary climbing up and lifting up the trimmer so I ended up cutting from floor level and left the high stuff to my Dad.
      Best wishes

  2. You make a lovely Caballero Andante with that lance of a hedge clipper. All hedges will bow down before you. I love the collaboration. Roger’s expression makes him look like he’s quite intimated by everything before he begins singing.

    1. My Mum told me off a couple of times for random swinging with the power tool 😂.

      I loved working with Roger on the stage with Northern Opera in Leeds last year and this was great fun, Jenny did all the work putting it all together I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Best wishes

      1. Your mom telling you off for being careless with your lance reminded me of having to get after careless students on the range. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to dangerous tools in the hands of wild people.

      2. 😂 so true wild thing … you make my heart sing…. you make everything groovy… easily distracted!!!
        the hat was to stop leaves and sticks falling on my head. She told my Dad she’d prefer me just to hold the platform.

      3. Only holding the platform? That would be no fun at all. I love Wild Thing. You should do a rendition of it.

      4. Exactly no fun at all!
        I only know the chorus but never say never!

      5. There’s not mouch more to it than the chorus. I just discovered it was originally title “The Wild Ones”. I like “Wild Thing” much better. George could groove on the piano and you could make everyone’s hearts song. Wild thing.

      1. I hope you had great weather too. If you look close my Mum made me take off the battery before I sat down ready to climb down the platform ladders I don’t think she trusts me hehe.

  3. Great, congrats for the garden work!!!!

    Nice video, but , do you really think it’s an romantic italian balcony ?

    If you haven’t a place near the sea, you could try with an orchard in bloom or with a vine and bunches of grapes – The symbolic romantic and reunion will be much stronger …..

    best thoughts my friend !!!

    1. Thank you Pascal.

      I appreciate your tips for the background, I hadn’t thought of involving some symbolism but I shall consider that in the future.

      Best wishes

      1. the rule is: if your background is in harmony with your song, people will watch you and listen to you.
        If your background is offbeat, off topic, they will be intrigued, and more think about why this background than to be attentive to your performance.
        Romantic song, romantic backround – Fantasy song, fantasy backround.
        When you don’t know what to choose, you can also put the background all white.

    1. Ha ha people did give us a wide berth and I don’t think it was all to do with Covid! The first side cut we didn’t put down dust sheets and it took Mum an age to sweep up all the leaves, so the second neatening up was better with the sheets so that’s a good tip.

      Best wishes

  4. As always, so much energy and beauty! Congratulations to you and your Dad for a well done job! And the music and sing are fantastic! Thank you, Charlotte! Best to you and George!

      1. Thanks so much, Charlotte! Your shoulders will be back to normal before tomorrow. Take care, my friend!

    1. It was the hedge on the roadside we were doing, the Council hacked it back last year but they haven’t been around this year. Climbing up on that platform wasn’t my best idea my knees were knocking lol 😂.

      Dads’ new cutters are ace, no cord because they have a battery and they have different cutting heads so you don’t have to buy lots of tools! Jim on Instagram said I should have had ear defenders on but they were very quiet.

      Glad you enjoyed the Duet from Much Ado.

      All my best wishes

  5. The 3 of you did a magnificent job, Charlotte. Thank you for sharing your original video.
    You mum and dad must have been happy to have your help with those hedges!

    1. We were a bit slow because we’re all perfectionists hehe my Mum even threatened to get the tape measure at one point! 😳 Just going too far hehe. It’s good to help out they’ve been working during lockdown so all the little jobs have been stacking up because my Grandad helps a lot with the garden but he’s still shielding.

      It was good fun to experiment with indoor recording, I’m working on improving them.
      All my best wishes

  6. With hedge trimmer handy, and bells on her toes, she will have music wherever she goes!
    Lovely to see you out and about! Freedom, even with a hedge trimmer!

    1. I love that nursery rhyme its a shame there aren’t more verses perhaps I should add some with the extra hours I’m going to magic up this week hehe.

      So good to be able to be active outside.

      Best wishes

    1. I enjoyed all the shaping but not so much the brushing up! Video editing backgrounds was fun, my Dad does all the hard work learning how to use the software then teaches us.

      Glad you enjoyed the duet thanks for listening Annette.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte 🙋🏼‍♀️

  7. I bet your parents were thrilled to have you home at last for a while. We are very impressed by the size of the hedge trimmer you are managing to wield – there is nothing like exercise and fresh air! That was a lovely take on the Much Ado scene, the music new to me, but very moving and I thought you had just the right appearance and demeanour for the part. I know it is difficult for you without the responses and warmth of a live audience, but your take on this scene is food for thought. How many other scenes could gain a new interpretation from Covid 19 restrictions? So many operatic moments depend on lovers being separated, or notes being sent or lost (Marriage of Figaro? Cosí?).

    1. The last two weeks have flown by, I’ve really managed to focus on plans and tasks that have been building up.
      It’s been lovely to have garden space.
      I’ve done another two scenes and a concert, its been very different but I’m getting more used to it now. I’d love to do more ensemble work too.
      Best wishes

  8. Charlotte Hoather gardening! Well then, with a nod to your mother, “you grow gherkins!”

    But seriously, nice to see you ramping up in your endeavors and production skills.

  9. Lovely to see you in ‘another life’ Charlotte; if I get a garden with tall hedges I’ll know where to come!
    Congratulations on your newly acquired editing skills. And on the duet – I enjoyed it a lot. x

    1. If its nice on Saturday I believe we have mowing and weeding to do 😬. Balcony gardening is about as much as I could cope with regularly hehe.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the duet.
      All my best wishes

  10. Looks like you’ve acquired not only hedging skills but techniques in editing. That sounds like a very useful tool esp. when you might produce music videos and even short films going forward. Have a wonderful rest of the summer, Charlotte! 🙂

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this collaboration of the three of you! I am glad you are getting to spend some time with your parents, and getting in some time outside. That family time is precious, especially these days. Stay well, and enjoy these summer days! 🙂

    1. Jenny did a fabulous job organising it all.
      It’s great being home in so many ways.
      We’re supposed to have a heatwave tomorrow I wish it was the weekend as I have to work tomorrow.
      Best wishes

  12. Coincidentally, here on the other side of the planet we’re into pruning season – grapevine, redcurrants, Bramley apple and more. No electric trimmer, alas, as I would be more or less guaranteed to injure myself with it!

    1. Our local blackberries are only just starting to ripen at the moment but the apples are doing very well this year. I love Bramley Apple pie and custard (lots of custard).

      It did feel a little scary especially when it was on the long pole.
      Best wishes

  13. Le gasp! I loved this… and I don’t mean the hedge clippers. (you look fab!!!)
    You, Jenny and Roger did a fab performance here. Haha…lol… underwater would have been funny, but I think you chose wisely, in the end.
    Also, considering. there is no sound mixer person, it does sound quite good. Technology and the virus is making pros of many laymen.
    Best to you, Charlotte! You are a whiz!

    1. I absolutely agree I’d have sent him packing too and when Hero’s Dad turned against her I just though NO.
      Best wishes

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