The second half of the year, I had more opportunity to work with others and I really relished working with a team again. In July and August, I travelled to Scotland to rehearse and perform in Scottish Opera’s Pop-Up Opera Tour. We performed Derek Clark’s arrangements of “Pirates of Penzance” and “HMS Pinafore”, two fantastic and witty operettas written by Gilbert and Sullivan. During the tour we popped up in Stirling, Drumnadrochit, Fort William, Kingussie, Ullapool, Isle of Lewis, Ayr, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Musselburgh and Glasgow. I had a wonderful time working with generous colleagues, who continuously gave 100% and I adored the playfulness of story-telling together. It was also a joy to explore new parts of Scotland; I tasted delicious food, walked scenic routes, and learnt new historical facts. Link To Blog Post
In the middle of the tour, I married my best friend, George, in London. It was a magical day as we were able to finally celebrate our marriage with friends and family. My amazing Mum transformed the Clayton Hotel in Chiswick into a romantic paradise. She worked tirelessly and whole-heartedly to create thousands of decorations; she reinvented our childhood hula-hoops into a floral cake-stand and the beautiful ceremonial arch began its life as a garden arch. I am in awe of her creativity and ability to stay within a budget thanks to timing, recycling, and bargain hunting. The venue styling was a family effort, many hands certainly made heartfelt work. My parents, brothers and their partners and lifetime family friends Gill and Terry worked as team alongside George, his family and best man Daniel to transform the hotel ballroom. On the morning of the wedding, my fantastic bridesmaids kept me calm and distracted so that when I walked down the aisle, I was mesmerised by the sight of George in his elegant morning suit surrounded by decorative gestures of love and support from our two families. My Dad, who lovingly tousled my veil into position held my hand and walked me down the aisle, a moment I have dreamt about since I was a little girl. We were serenaded by our dear friends Nino, Jobine and Maria. We were treated to scrumptious delights thanks to my brother Matthew, who baked an outstanding wedding cake and also taught and I the choreography for our first dance, which was a Viennese waltz. We shared the beautiful photographs taken by Lloyd Dobbie with our dear guests who were not able to be with us in person and I hope that you enjoy them as well.
Two days after the wedding, I returned to Glasgow to start rehearsals for the last leg of the Pop-Up Opera tour. I am hugely grateful to the Scottish Opera Education Team, as they were so understanding of the difficulty of rescheduling a wedding and securing performance work in 2021. They made every effort to be flexible and I feel very lucky to collaborate with them. At the start of September, I rehearsed with a new team and together we re-worked “Pirates of Penzance” and staged a new show “Bubble McBea”; a playful musical adventure for primary school children inspired by the Scottish mythical creature Selkie and the dangers of water pollution. We visited many primary schools around Glasgow and held family friendly performances in Glasgow and Kirkcudbright. It was special to bring the magic of live performance to children again. I especially enjoyed performing to an audience of children at one school, who all watched through handmade flamboyant opera masks on lollypop sticks. Link To Blog Post
Shortly after the Pop-Up Opera tour finished, I was able to pinch a few days of rest-bite with George in London. I really enjoyed watching “Romeo and Juliet” together at the Globe Theatre. A few days later, I began rehearsals for “The Magic Flute” with Arcadian Opera in Buckinghamshire. I sang the role of Pamina and shared the stage with friends old and new.
In November I returned home, and happily acted as a cheerleader for George as he performed solo piano recitals. We then presented our first concert as a married couple in Torrington, Devon. It felt electric to share the stage together and I loved every minute. Whilst in North Devon, we attended a local high school to perform and speak to their young students about classical music and the life of a professional musician. We also gave a masterclass to a cohort of older students, who had taken Music GCSE, in this group we focused on performance techniques and ensemble skills to help aid their upcoming examinations.
In December, I worked with Improbable on their production of “BambinO at Home”, a digital adaptation of their opera, which was created for babies aged 6-18 months and their Carers. I returned to the role of Uccellina and sang alongside a great team of musicians and artists. As well as singing, I was invited to manage the audience development and social media marketing for the project. This was a new role for me, and I enjoyed applying the knowledge I have gained from running my own social media accounts and blog. It was also a great opportunity to apply the sales skills I learnt through telesales training, but in a different way.
I hope that you can look back on this past year and find memories and landmarks that make you look back in fondness or look forward to what the new year may have in store.