Archives For Christmas

2017 has been an eventful year for me, with so many new things for me to experience and learn, thank you to my wonderful teachers this year for sharing your knowledge and friendship. I started the year performing “La Dolce Speranza”with the RCM classical orchestra, conducted by Ben Palmer. The summer brought with it the opportunity to be involved with the premiere of BambinO at the Manchester International Festival, followed by a tour around the North West of England and then on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, finishing in the Autumn with performances in Glasgow.  This was such an exhilarating show to be involved with and I loved every minute of it.  My year ended with two performances of Handel’s Messiah, one with Chamber Orchestra and the other with a Baroque Orchestra. In between the performances, I sang my first cantata, Handel Psalm 112 ‘Laudate Pueri Dominum’ with the Thames Philharmonic and Choir.

Christmas Festivities start tomorrow and I’m going to enjoy a well-earned holiday.  To close off the year, I wanted to share with you one of the arias that I have been working on over the last few months which I hope you enjoy.  It is Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen, Ännchen’s aria from Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber.  I have also included the original lyrics and a translation by Robert Glaubitz. Thank you to George Todica for his wonderful accompaniment on this recording.

Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen,
Blond von Locken oder braun,
Hell von Aug’ und rot von Wangen,
Ei, nach dem kann man wohl schauen
Zwar schlägt man das Aug’ aufs Mieder
Nach verschämter Mädchen Art;
Doch verstohlen hebt man’s wieder,
Wenn’s das Bürschchen nicht gewahrt.
Sollten ja sich Blicke finden,
Nun, was hat das auch für Not?
Man wird drum nicht gleich erblinden,
Wird man auch ein wenig rot.
Blickchen hin und Blick herüber,
Bis der Mund sich auch was traut!
Er seufzt: Schönste!
Sie spricht: Lieber!
Bald heißt’s Bräutigam und Braut.
Immer näher, liebe Leuchten!
Wollt ihr mich im Kranze sehn?
Gelt, das ist ein nettes Bräutchen,

And the youth isn’t any less beautiful?
When a slim youth walks by,
Blond of hair or brown,
Bright of eye and red of cheeks,
Indeed, you can definitely look at him.
Of course, you lay your eyes on your bosom
After the manner of a modest maiden;
But by stealth you raise them again
If the boy doesn’t notice.
If you should catch his glance,
Then, what’s that matter?
You will not be blinded,
You become just a little red.
A little glance here and a glance over there,
Until the mouth is also as bold!
He sighs : beautiful one!
She says : beloved!
Soon, they will be Bride and Bridegroom.
Always nearer, beloved glow!
Do you want to see me in a (bridal) wreath?
Don’t you think, she is a nice bride,
And the youth isn’t any less beautiful?

Pascal Post 24th Dec 2017
Wherever you are I hope that you have a wonderful time over the Christmas Holidays and that as 2017 draws to a close that you have a fabulous New Year in 2018.

Back Home For Christmas

December 18, 2017 — 66 Comments

It is wonderful to be back home preparing for Christmas, a time to relax with family and friends, eat lots of tasty homemade treats and dress the tree 🎄. It’s also a real treat to be able to calmly sit with a warm cup of tea and a delicious mince pie, whilst I begin to make plans for next term at College.

Last Saturday was particularly a lovely day, as my parents, grandparents, and my supportive friends including Gill and Terry came to the Royal Northern College of Music to watch my final Messiah of the season and celebrate my Dads birthday. It was very special to return to the RNCM, which I haven’t had the opportunity to visit since leaving their junior department, nearly six years ago to start my undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. I could not believe how much this area of Manchester had changed. So many new homes and buildings, a great sign of regeneration, bringing new life to this area of the city. Inside the RNCM, the familiar layout brought back memories of my introduction to the fabulous world of classical singing. However, like outside, there were some exciting new improvements to the internal layout of the Conservatoire.

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Alex Grainger, Tom Newall,, Matthew Mannion, Emma Stannard, and Me

I arrived in the afternoon for the rehearsal the Salford Choral Society was running through their pieces and it was magical to hear them in full voice. I was thrilled to have been asked to join the mixed voice choir this year alongside fellow soloists Emma Stannard, Alex Grainger, and Matthew Mannion. We were accompanied by the fantastic Northern Baroque Sinfonia, with Tom Newall doing an excellent job conducting. The concert hall had a wonderful acoustic and I hope that the audience enjoyed the performance as much as we did.

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RNCM Concert Hall

 

At the end of the evening, I was able to see my wonderful family and friends for lots of cuddles, snuggles, and kisses. The best part of visiting home!

I really hope that if you get the opportunity to support an event such as this in your local community or nearest city that you jump in and take a chance on it. Because my Nana and Grandad had never been to an event like this before in over 70 years and both of them found it really uplifting and nothing at all like what they expected.

Ave Maria

December 18, 2016 — 95 Comments

It was such a treat to travel home yesterday with my brother Matt for the Christmas break, Tom my younger brother was also driving home at the same time from Glasgow. This year the timings were perfect as we were all able to make it home in time to celebrate my Dad’s birthday yesterday.

When we are all together it reminds me how lucky I am and gives me time to reflect on what has happened over the year and to plan and set my goals for the year to come. It is also a time to think about my friends, many of whom have started out on new paths of their journey through life. Some starting new careers, some studying towards their own personal goals and some starting families of their own. I wish each and every one of them a magical new year filled with happiness and contentment.

To all my friends here I want to thank you for your boundless enthusiasm, thoughtful advice, and sincere encouragement. You have helped make the last four years so enjoyable and personally rewarding and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.

Sadly 2016 also was the year that I lost my Mema (Grandma) who passed away in April. My Pepa (Grandpa) asked me to record a song to play at the funeral to help celebrate her life as the family gathered to say their farewells. It was a difficult song for me to perform and one of the last that I recorded quickly at the Royal College of Scotland. Because of the emotions that the song evoked, I found it difficult at first to listen back to the recording but now as I sit here with my family, having reflected on the blessings that we have all received throughout 2016 I felt it was a good time to share the recording with you.

Ave Maria – Schubert

Seasons Greetings

December 4, 2016 — 53 Comments

This is my first Christmas living in London and the festive spirit is everywhere you go, lots of lovely carol singing everywhere from the shopping streets to the tube stations.  It is quite magical to walk around the city after dark and admire the beautiful Christmas lights and to soak up the atmosphere.  I am such a child at heart and have put up a Christmas garland in my room to get into the spirit, but I can’t wait to go home once we break up from College in a couple of weeks time as I know my Mum and Dad will have the tree’s dressed and the lights twinkling.

It was such fun last weekend, while Caitlin was staying with me I took her along to Portobello Road market to have a rummage around and explore some of the shops and stalls.  Then as the sun set we traveled back into the City center so that I could share with Caitlin some of my favourite places to view the lights and enjoy the buzz. I managed to grab a few pictures to share with you as we walked around.

I would love to know what your favourite part of the holidays are and what you are most looking forward to. Mine are meeting up with family and friends, with no cooking, cleaning and laundry for a couple of weeks!

Yesterday I went to watch the Royal College of Music’s production of Mozart’s opera “La Finta Giardiniera”.  The students from the opera school really embraced their characters and it was exciting to watch them perform their roles with such enthusiasm and skill, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some very funny moments which were well adapted to the modern era in which it was set.  One of my favourites was during the first act which was set in a large gazebo for a wedding, similar to the marquee that they use in the Great British Bake Off.  The singers showed their diversity as they multi-tasked, rolling out tables and organising place settings whilst singing.  I think I need to start practicing whilst I am mopping the floor or using the vacuum 🙂

 

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Me and Caitlin Redding ( she performed the role of Carmen this summer with me )

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File-13-03-2016,-19-00-16_ppThanks to a notification from WordPress I just realised this week in March is my third blog anniversary! This will be my 290th post.

At the end of March 2013 I was advised by a blog friend to set up a Twitter page to share my blog posts and music which I did that month, in July 2013 I joined Facebook, then Google+ what an adventure, so many connections, thank you all for visiting with me, I appreciate you all spending time here.

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I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing when I first started writing my blog, in fact there were several months delay from when I first thought of keeping an on-line diary to actually publishing it.  Who’d have guessed how much I’ve enjoyed it, meeting all of you wonderful people, learning about all your passions and seeing so many of you successfully publishing books, your art turned into silk scarves, clothing and bedding, wall art, graphics. I’ve learnt about POWs, life stories, crystals, photography, gardening, cooking, DIY, music, farming, Greece and Greek mythology, India, Bollywood, China, surfing,  I could go on and on so much information, the community on WordPress is just amazing.  It helps me to be a more reflective thinker and encourages me to have a real awareness of myself. I would recommend blogging even if you just want to post very infrequently but still want to keep in touch with on-line friends.

This training I do is hard and very challenging and on some days when I’m emotionally drained I can always read the messages on my blog and read your blogs and get a positive boost of energy from you all.  I’m very thankful and I miss it if I’m too busy to visit as much as usual.

Can you believe my undergraduate course finishes in just over three months! It’s all coming to a head.  My ballet module was completed successfully, I’m so happy about that. Now I’m working on a module in Italian Opera History. I also have a performance/oral examination on my submitted research project. I have no academic writing scholars in my family to pick the brains of so I have to hit the books it’s been a really steep learning curve for me but very enjoyable.

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The Four Gravatars That I have Used Since Starting Blogging

One tip to any new bloggers reading, please, please, please put your blog information in your gravatar so when fellow bloggers are exploring we can click through the links easily.  Some of your blogs have disappeared and I hope it’s not just the link that’s missing so if you haven’t heard from me in a while let me know.

Thank you all once again I couldn’t do it without your support and encouragement.

A Magical Holiday

December 27, 2015 — 91 Comments

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I do hope that your Christmas was as enjoyable as mine and that you had a fantastic time.  I love to spend the holidays with my family and friends, meals together, relaxing afterwards, playing games, laughing and enjoying the moment.

One thing though is always guaranteed, that you never quite know what is going to happen next.  This year has been no different, following our trip to the Harry Potter studios my brother Matt was inspired to put together a party for his friends when he returns to London based on the “Harry Potter” stories. As anyone who knows Matt will tell you when he decides to organise a party with a theme then he goes all out to make it as fun as possible for everyone.  He loves games but there is one thing that he loves more, organising games 🙂  So this year as part of the theme he wanted to make wands for everyone who is coming so that they can get into character and enjoy all the other little ideas that he has planned.  But I am not saying what as that would spoil the surprise.Back to the wands, Matt searched around craft shops in Glasgow when he came to watch me last weekend and found what he needed for the project.  Some dowling for the wand stems; glue, for Mum’s glue gun, to add texture and shape; paint to add a little realism and to all this we added a sprinkle of imagination.

Once we were all back home one of his friends from university, Ali came around and we all got together to set the plan into motion. It took a lot longer than we expected but it was great to see the wands start to take shape.

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On day two it was Matt, my Mum and me who got stuck in and finished off the shaping of the wands, applied the first coat of paint and then left them to dry.

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Then yesterday we finished off the second coat of paint, added some extra detail and a few embellishments and then we had to take them to the garage to apply the fixative ( too many fumes for the house ).

This morning before we went out for a walk we took photos of the wands which I have added to the post and we love to know which you’d choose.

Maybe you could help with some names for the wands or character names for those who you think would use them.

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Number 1

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Number 11

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Number 12

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Number 13

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Number 19

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Matt, Me and Tom getting into character

Well the New Year is approaching fast and I hope that you all have a wonderful time and that 2016 brings you everything that you wish for 🙂

Christmas Cracker

December 21, 2015 — 71 Comments

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This years final performance was in the annual ‘Christmas Cracker 2015’ on Sunday 20th December at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with my friend Jessica Hurst, the program features the City of Glasgow chorus and the orchestra of the Scottish Opera. It’s a real privilege to have been asked to appear and we had a lovely audience reaction to our piece which we’d been asked to keep as a surprise element which is why I didn’t say too much about it in advance and we had some fantastic feedback after the show.

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When I arrived home following the performance I was thrilled to read that one of my favourite and long term blog friends, the author Janice Spina who won my 12 days of Christmas art and one off cd two years ago, has framed my drawings most spectacularly take a look. I’m truly speechless in a fabulous way.

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Last Tuesday, following my final audition, my brother Matt took the day off work to treat me to a day out at The Harry Potter World, I was sorted into Hufflepuff house and wore my house tie, we had a brilliant day.  This week Matt also discovered that he had passed his final actuarial written exams, he just has a final presentation to pass before he becomes a fellow after seven years of intense training, I’m so chuffed for him.

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I received offers of a place on the Master’s program from three of my four Conservatoire applications by Wednesday, the first reply of the day was an ‘unsuccessful’ but the day got better.  I have a lot to plan before the end of January 2016 when I must make my decision for the next two years study. There’s a lot to consider from financing, accommodation, travelling, teachers/support, and opportunities. I’m going to have to seek out scholarships and sponsors if I’m to achieve my goals of four years further training.  I’m very grateful to everyone who downloaded my cd Canzoni D’Amore and played my tracks on the music streaming services it helped me to fund my Italian training course this summer and will kick start my savings for my tuition fees or accommodation costs so I’m eternally grateful for you believing in me and helping me out and I hope that you enjoyed my music this year.

I hope that you’re all enjoying the seasonal holidays and that 2016 is a good year for everyone.  

End Of Term

December 13, 2015 — 77 Comments
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Me and My Big Brother Matt

Goodness, this past week marks the last teaching week of 2015 for me, and with it I started to question the changes and decisions that I know I may encounter in the New Year. However, just for now, as I travel to London on the train for my last audition I am enjoying the moment and feeling full of the spirit of Christmas.  It makes me reflect on the things that I am grateful for, good health, awareness of myself and for this wonderful life that I am lucky enough to have. On a more immediate note I am also thankful to my parents for help with travel costs and my big brother for putting me up a couple of nights and for the Christmas treat that I know he is planning for me when my auditions are finally over, can’t wait 🙂

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Beth Taylor, Me and Susannah Bedford

Last week I had the joy to perform , alongside my friends and fellow RCS students, Handel’s ‘Dixit Dominus ‘ at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing this challenging work and the triumphant manner it has to stir up energy.

I’m looking forward to visiting home and my family at the start of next week, and taking some time to catch up on cuddles and kisses. I can’t wait! 🙂

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A Little Bit Of Research

However , there is no rest for the wicked, I have plenty of exciting new music to prepare such as my part in my 4th year opera scenes. I will be performing the part of ‘Fiordiligi’ from ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ in the Act 1 finale, which is a fun and marvellous scene full of drama. I will also be preparing for my performance of ‘Zerlina’ in Bowdon Festival opera’s performance of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ in a mix of English translation and Italian. A project that I’m very excited about.

But most important of all I want to wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas season and I hope that it brings you as much happiness as it has always brought for me.

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Happy Holidays

December 24, 2014 — 89 Comments

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It’s been lovely relaxing at home with family and catching up with old friends that I miss when I am up living in Glasgow.  It is also a great opportunity for me to spend a little time connecting with my friends here on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  During term time being able to read your comments and advice is so helpful and can be a real boost.  2014 has been a good year for me and I want to thank you all so much for being part of it.

I wanted to record a Christmas Carol to share with you all and pass on a little bit of love, joy and my very best wishes.  I have chosen to sing ‘The First Mercy’ by Peter Warlock, it is not as well-known as many of the carols that you hear at this time of year.  It is a lovely carol whose lyrics portray the nativity through the imagined eyes of the animals in the stable.   I do hope that you enjoy it  🙂

 

I wish peace and joy to you all and whatever you believe in, or celebrate at this time of year, may the coming days bring you good health, love and happiness.

 

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My Dad and two brothers have always been keen football fans. When we are all home for Christmas it is a tradition for us to all go and watch a match together.  It is something we used to do quite a lot when we were younger and living at home but now it takes a lot more organising.  One of the things I enjoy about Christmas is that you can inject a tiny little bit of glitz and glamour into any occasion. It was great way to spend the afternoon with my brothers especially as Manchester City won.

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Here in the northern hemisphere the 21st December brings with it the shortest day of the year. This marks the mid-way point of the winter months; with the promise of a new year and with it the beauty of spring and the warmth of the summer.

If this is the shortest day, I wondered why the mornings did not start to get brighter. My brothers explained that this was due to the tilt in the earth’s axis and the gravitational effect of the sun on the speed at which our planet rotates. Apparently we spin faster when we are closer to the sun and slower when we are further away. This causes our clocks to appear to be slightly out of sync with the solar day and so the mornings still seem to get darker as we play catch up.

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Anyway enough of the science, I wanted the reason to be all mystical and magical. Perhaps with a princess or two somewhere in there and maybe a dragon who was stealing the suns powers, trust science to bring that all crashing to a full stop.

The solstice has always intrigued people over the centuries and the strong emotional feelings that it provokes have made this date an important date throughout history.  For many people over the generations the winter has marked a period when little could be done as the weather worsened, the days grew shorter.

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Sunlight On Earth, During The Winter Solstice

There are many legends surrounding this time of year. The Norsemen who saw the sun as giant wheel whose rotation changed the seasons would light bonfires and gather around in the warmth to tell stories and drink sweet ale.

The ancient Romans celebrated this time year as the birth of the new year in their festival Saturnalia which ran for seven days from the 17th December. Which coincidently is my dad’s birthday! Spooky! During the festival it was common to turn convention on its head with men dressing as women, masters dressing as servants, the giving of gifts or presents and houses being decorated with greenery to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

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Our Yule Log “Colin The Caterpillar”

The Druids who are understood to have started the tradition of the Yule log did so as they believed that each year at this time the sun stood still for 12 days.  To overcome the darkness they would select a log and set it alight to banish evil spirits and welcome in the new year with the hope that it would bring with it good fortune.

It really is amazing to see just how many of these older traditions have been incorporated into our celebration of Christmas.  This is a special time of year to so many people of different faiths and cultures from all corners of the world. This festive season I believe that whatever you celebrate, do it with love in your heart and kindness in your thoughts.