Archives For Italy 2015


My Sort Of House – Fiera di Primiero, Northern Italy.


Fiera di Primiero, Trentino in the northern Italian region.

Having spent a beautiful day exploring together with my family in Fiera di Primiero on Sunday 9th August, Dad drove down to Bologna early on Monday, hairpin bends, narrow roads edged with mountains (you get the picture!), breathtaking scenery and a thunder storm on our arrival! We continued south on the Tuesday afternoon and arrived in the busy port of Civitavecchia near Rome in the late afternoon and found the hotel and decided to try out the restaurant as it specialised in locally caught seafood and fish.


The Port Of Civitavecchia in the central Italian region of Lazio.

After joining the ship for a seven night cruise at Civitavecchia (the port of Rome), our first stop was at Livorno, Italy where we travelled inland to Florence.  It was great to go back and enjoy the beauty and history of the city.


The Streets Of Florence


The ‘Ponte Vecchio’ over the Arno River from the aria ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’.

We then travelled to Cannes in France and went ashore by tender (one of the ships many lifeboats) into the small port.  It was great to explore the old part of the town and visit the market and practise our French.


Cannes – In The Old Town


Cannes – The Flower Market

From Cannes we made the trip to Palma, Majorca, we only had four hours in the port so had a short time to walk around before it was time to leave for Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona was an interesting mix of old and new with some beautiful buildings and interesting sites.  We left the main tourist area and had a search for a quieter restaurant.  I plucked up the courage and sampled a local paella which I shared with my Mum it was delicious.



The Gaude Museum – Barcelona

Following Barcelona we had a day at sea to rest and relax before arriving in Naples, Italy on Tuesday 18th Aug.  We had all been looking forward to this stop as we were to see the ancient city of Pompeii.  I had read about the site and was curious to see the excavations and get a feel for the way the city must have been back before the eruption in 79AD.  It was both interesting and a little unnerving at the same time, especially when we got to see the artefacts and plaster casts of the remains.


The Gladiator Training Arena – Pompeii in the Campania region, once a thriving Roman city.

Pompeii – In The Musical Amphitheatre – so tempted to burst into song.


It Got Really Hot, our tour guide was a fabulous archaeologist, very interesting.


I Finally Found Some Shade.


The Day At Sea – On Our Way To Naples

We arrived back at Civitavecchia on the 19th and then travelled in to Rome for the last couple of days.  It was lovely to walk around at our own pace and explore a little more of the city.


Rome, it was raining when we arrived but it soon got very, very hot!



Renovations At ‘The Coliseum’ also known as the Flavian Ampitheatre in the centre of the City of Rome


Playing Statues with my brothers Tom and Matt who looks like he’s about to somersault off


On The Spanish Steps

It was fabulous to spend a little time with my family, relaxing, celebrating birthdays and enjoying exploring the languages, arts and culture.

I missed my train back to Glasgow on Friday afternoon, we were delayed at Rome airport two hours and I had to drive back quite late, which was exhausting, as I had a recital in Edinburgh on Saturday (the header picture is me just before the concert), but I’m now back in Glasgow and raring to go, batteries recharged and feeling energised for the start of the new term and my final year as an undergraduate.


Tim Edmundson, Beth Jerem, Robert Forrest, Me and Michael Gibson

Well after five weeks of coaching, vocal technique, stage direction and language classes my Summer Opera School here in Italy drew to a close yesterday.
It was a fantastic day for me personally as my family flew out to watch my last two performances which made the day feel just that little bit more special.

Everything seemed to come together for me as I had been asked if I would like to perform the role of Gretel in the first two acts of the Englelbert Humperdink opera “Hansel and Gretel” in the final performance.  I could not believe my luck as this meant that not only did I get to play a lead role but on the same day that my family would be here to watch 😊. I had a fantastic time playing the role and the audience who were very supportive seemed to enjoy the production too.  My parents and brothers then took me out for tea and they all said how glad they were to make it in time to watch as they thought it was fabulous.  

I had to leave them in the restaurant and dash off back to the theatre for a rehearsal call at 20:15 for the last opera performance of the course. It was Puccini’s “Sour Angelica” and I again played the role of a pregnant novice.  It was a different more somber atmosphere for this production and quite a change from my afternoon role of Gretel.

When the curtain closed for the last time I could not believe how the time had passed so quickly and how much work we had all got through in the time we had. It has been a wonderful experience and I will take away so much from my time here. The help and guidance from the fabulous staff, the support and friendship of the students and for reinforcing in me my love of opera and my desire to pursue a career in this beautiful art.

As I am writing this I am about to go down for my evening meal with my family, tomorrow we make the trip south driving down through Italy on a family holiday.  Time to relax and recharge my batteries before I return to Scotland to start my final year of under graduate training. 

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments and for sharing this amazing experience with me, I will catch up with you all as time and the Internet permit😊



A Quick Selfie Taken Just Before I Performed the Puccini Aria “Qunado M’En Vo” In A Concert On Wednesday Night.

Time flies so quickly here! It’s hard to keep track of what is accomplished per day let alone summarise a week! Hopefully I can reflect and provide a snippet of the activities that have occurred this week.

Hansel And Gretel

Hänsel and Grete

It has been such a pleasure working with David Gately on the character portrayal and staging of Gretel in Humperdinck’s “Hänsel and Gretel“. A very lively and energetic movement that includes dancing on tree stumps, sewing socks, teasing brothers, hiding from an angry mother, weaving a crown of flowers and much much more. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy on a stage! I love it and I have learnt so much from this process. I have found that the most important thing that I’ve learnt is to always have your feet facing your focus, I sometimes sing at such peculiar angles and it’s as if my feet always want to face centre stage (whoopsie!) maybe it’s a dancers thing or perhaps I have rather Divaish feet! Haha 🙂   this has actually improved my control and my breath support and also allows me to be free to move at any moment I wish.


Die Zauberflöte – The Magic Flute

During this week I have also worked alongside a great cast under the direction of Ophelia Wolf and together we have staged the entirety of “Die Zauberflöte” by Mozart, which culminated with a smooth run last Friday. It is very exciting and I like the twists that she has made to the plot and how our personal lives from this modern era can affect a great libretto and form a new interpretation. I am a second Knabe in this piece and it is lots of fun, I get to be childish and have quite dramatic emotions from frantic and worried to cheeky and playful. However I am seeing that perhaps my cheerful manner is encouraging me to get cast as young child. But to be honest I don’t mind a bit as I’m having loads of fun!


Suor Angelica

The third opera that I am taking part in is “Suor Angelica” which has been fully staged by the fabulous Patrizia di Paola, whose exciting energy is both intoxicating and contagious! It makes for a brilliant opera which swings between tragic and comedic moments similar to the musical “Annie”. As part of my role as the Novice I get to play a pregnant nun. I’m quite enjoying my role and the fact I have to wear a big yellow belly which I can rub, I feel like I’m playing house! Haha.  But Mum and Dad don’t be worried I’m not broody! 🙂


We begin performances next week, so hopefully I will try to grab some pictures and possibly get a friend to tape some performances. All the best for the week ahead! Xxx


My Aida Adventure

July 19, 2015 — 49 Comments

I’m finishing off writing this post as I wait to catch my coach which leaves for Verona at 4:20 pm.  I am planning a wonderful adventure this evening, a visit to the Verona Opera Festival to watch the marvellous opera “Aida”.


The Aida Set From My Visit In 2010

This is a special trip for me as a few years ago I visited Verona for the first time and I went to the arena and I watched the stage hands prepare the set for Aida.  I have a vivid memory of a huge golden and blue sphinx head being lifted into position by a huge crane and I was so excited.


Down By The Stage – 2010

At the time I was just venturing into the world of opera and now I am so excited that I get the opportunity to go to watch the production. I wonder if the set will be similar or whether it is a completely different adaptation.


Outside The Arena – 2010


The View From Down By The Stage – 2010

We have just arrived at 8:40 pm in Verona as it took ages to get here 🙂
Here are a couple of pictures outside the arena.


Outside Waiting To Go In – 2015


Here’s My Ticket


Inside And Getting Ready For The Opera To Start

I have been so busy that I have not had time to write my own synopsis of the opera so I have borrowed the one below to give you a flavour of the story:

Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi

Aida, ACT 1
Outside of the royal palace near Memphis, Ramfis (Egypt’s high priest) informs Radames (a young warrior) that armies from Ethiopia are making their way towards the Nile valley.

Radames expresses his hope of being appointed the commander of Egypt’s army where he can lead his troops to victory, as well as rescue Aida, his Ethiopian lover captured by Egyptian troops. Unbeknownst to him, as well as the rest of Egypt, Aida is the daughter of Ethiopia’s king, Amonasro. Since her capture, Aida has served as slave to the Egyptian princess, Amneris. Amneris is in love Radames, but senses he is in love with another woman. It isn’t long before Amneris figures out who the mystery woman is when she sees the longing glances shared between Radames and Aida. Able to hide her jealousy, Amneris continues to keep Aida as her slave. The king of Egypt arrives and announces that Ramfis’ information was correct and that Ethiopian troops, lead by the King of Ethiopia himself, have already made their way into Thebes. The king appoints Radames as the leader of the army while simultaneously declaring war on Ethiopia. An overjoyed Radames makes his way to the temple to complete his coronation ritual.

Left alone in the hall, Aida becomes distraught as she is forced to choose between her lover and her father and country.

Aida, ACT 2

After their victorious battle, Radames and his troops are returning from Thebes. Inside Amneris’ chambers, she has her slaves entertain her in light of the battle. Doubting her suspicions of Aida and Radames, she decides to test Aida. She dismisses all of her slaves except for Aida. She tells Aida that Radames has died in battle. Aida breaks down and confesses her love for Radames, to which Amneris becomes furious and vows revenge.

Radames makes his triumphal return to Memphis as he and his troops march through the city. The captured Ethiopians follow. Aida rushes to her father, but he makes her promise not to reveal their true identities. The king of Egypt, so delighted with Radames performance, honors him by granting him anything he asks for. Amonasro declares that the King of Ethiopia has been killed, and asks the Egyptian king to set them free. The people of Egypt, however, chant for their death, and the King gives in to their desires. In order to save his lover’s life, he cashes in on the King’s generosity and asks the King to spare the lives of the Ethiopians. The King happily grants him his request and declares Radames his successor and future husband of Princess Amneris. Aida and her father remain in custody to prevent any Ethiopian revolt.

Aida, ACT 3

As preparations are made for the upcoming wedding between Radames and Amneris, Aida waits outside of the temple for Radames in an previously agreed upon spot. Aida’s father, Amonasro, pressures Aida to find out where the Egyptian army is kept. Feeling nostalgic for her homeland, she agrees to her fathers wishes. When Radames comes out of the temple to meet Aida, Amonrasro hides and eavesdrops on their conversation. Aida and Radames talk about their future lives together, and after Aida asks, he tells her where the army is located. Amonasro makes reveals himself and his identity just as Amneris and the high priest come out of the temple. When Aida and Amonasro escape, Aida pleads for Radames to follow them. Instead, Radames submits himself to Amneris and the priest as a traitor.


Aida, ACT 4

Frustrated with Radames, Amneris pleads with him to deny his accusations. Full of pride and love for his country, he does not. He accepts his punishment, but is happy to know that Aida and her father have escaped. This hurts Amneris even more so. She tells him that she will save him if he renounces his love for Aida, but again, he refuses. The high priest and his court condemn Radames to death by being buried alive. Amneris begs for their mercy, but they do not budge.

Radames is taken to the lowest level in the temple and is sealed away into a dark tomb. Moments after being locked away, he hears someone breathing in a dark corner; it is Aida. She confesses her love for him and has chosen to die with him. The two embrace as Amneris weeps several floors above them.



I have also added some pictures from our first our first performance last Wednesday ( 15th July ) as part of the Trentino Music Festival for Mezzano Romantica, it was a Broadway Gala held on the new stage in the square at Mezzano.

We had a tremendous audience and all the performers had a fabulous time. It was wonderful to work with such talented and lovely musicians and I even got the chance to get a little sassy on the dance floor during the performance of “America” from West Side Story.

For my duet I performed “All I Ask Of You” from the Phantom Of The Opera, with Piotr from Poland as Raoul and myself as Christine Daae.




Jessica Hurst and Me On Our First Day In Italy

Jessica Hurst and Me On Our First Day In Italy

Wow! What an incredible and busy week I have had in Italy whilst participating in the Music Academy International.


On The Balcony Of Our Apartment For Six.

I have attended and performed in many master classes, at one I received a great wealth of knowledge and advice from the amazing opera singer Deborah Voigt.  I learnt some great vocal technique tips from Jean-Michelle Charbonnet and I discovered the poise available in the legato line from Mitchell Piper and exercises in how to achieve this.

The Language Centre

The Language Centre

Before arriving here in Italy I had been selected by the tutors to perform in two operas “The Magic Flute” by Mozart, and “Suor Angelica” by Puccini.  So I was thrilled to be approached whilst studying here and asked to also learn the role of Gretel from “Hänsel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck and so I thought that if I work my little butt off I might get a chance of performing at least the first act :).  So you can guess what I’ll be doing in my free time!


Yesterday I was translating the score word for word over my first English Breakfast tea here in Italy, hehe!  It was certainly a treat to indulge myself in a home comfort whilst studying this beautiful music!


Blue Skies And Beautiful Views Very Inspirational

I will try to take lots of pictures of the rehearsal process as we begin staging, to be a part of the process of putting together an opera over a few weeks is an exciting challenge and one that I know will be so much fun as I have the pleasure to be working with amazing Staff who have incredible imaginations and enthusiastic students who have come here from all over the world to be part of this amazing opportunity.

Being here in Italy reminds me that it is good to be around people who motivate us to be better and help to bring out the best potential in all of us. I would also like to thank ‘The Hope Scott Trust’ for a grant to help with the flight, transfer and travel insurance I’m very grateful for the award which has helped me to participate in this fabulous opportunity.


Out And About, Such A Beautiful Day