Archives For Glen Cunningham

A Week To Remember

January 21, 2018 — 80 Comments

It has been fabulous this week to perform in three separate events which were the culmination of several weeks of hard work and preparation.

On Wednesday afternoon I sang and gave a tribute to Gary Waller’s memorial service at St Stephen’s Church, Westminster, it was a beautiful and touching ceremony. As a friend of Gary it was lovely to see so many lovely people gather to remember and speak fondly about his lifelong achievements, passion for music and support for his colleagues in politics. It was also a pleasure to perform alongside the talented pianist Waka Hasegawa, and I hope that we find the opportunity to work together again in the future.

After meeting some of Gary’s family and sharing memories with them, I then traveled to the Lancaster Hall Hotel in order to prepare for the evening concert. Soon after I arrived, I had a rehearsal with Dr. Leslie Howard, he is the very talented and renowned pianist who specialises in music composed by Franz Liszt and I believe is the only pianist to have recorded all of Franz Liszt’s music for solo piano, which in itself is a huge achievement. The event began at 6:30pm and it was so lovely to perform alongside the talented Michelle Alexander, Andrew Yiangou, Dr. Leslie Howard, Simon Wallfisch, and Nigel Foster. We each represented a different music society, Wagner, Alkan, Mahler, Liszt, and Schubert. I represented the Gustav Mahler Society and really enjoyed telling the stories within the poetry and making music with Dr. Howard. The songs are truly beautiful and delicate and it was a great challenge to work on them. I look forward to performing them again. After the performance, we were invited to join the societies members for a meal and relax in each other’s company. At the end of the recital, we were presented with a gift of London Honey, which is a tradition of the event and one that I appreciated as locally sourced honey is a boon to a singer.

Me With Catherine

A Big Thank You To Catherine Who Helped Organise The Event

The Cast For The scenes

The Whole Cast Of Our Opera Scenes

A few days later, I presented my opera scene along with my accomplished colleagues at the Royal College of Music. On Friday we had a technical rehearsal at 10:00 am, which involves plotting the lights, practicing the scene in Costume and using any props/scenery. It was very useful especially because my costume isn’t usual daily attire, I had to practice moving, kneeling and hearing with my full habit on. It was very interesting and added another layer to the drama. At 14:15 we had a dress rehearsal in front of a few friends and teachers. Then we opened to the audience at 17:30. I performed alongside Glen Cunningham, who some of you may recognise from previous projects I have done with Scottish Opera Education. It was wonderful to work together again and build on our relationship on stage. It was also a great opportunity to be on stage with Davidona Pittock who I went to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with, she was Mother Marie.

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Glen and Me On Stage In Our Scene From Dialogues des Carmélites

Photo credit of Stage scene provided by Laura Pearse who also designed and selected the costumes for this year’s scenes, thanks, Laura.

Davidona Glen and Me

Davidona, Glen, and Me backstage

That’s A Wrap

April 20, 2015 — 57 Comments

Wow what a whirlwind of a week, on Friday evening there was the performance at St Mary’s Cathedral of the RCS Choir from the BMus course.  From Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’, Michael Bawtree accompanied on the Cathedral’s Henry Willis organ and played C.P.E Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, followed in the second half with John Rutter’s folk song suite ‘A Sprig of Thyme’ conducted by Frikki Walker.

After-The-Final-Performance

On Saturday I had two shows and Sunday a final matinee performance with Scottish Opera Connect’s company at Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow.   Our double bill ‘The Walk from the Garden/Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow’ had a lovely review in the Sunday Herald by Mary Brennan.

              “Give the young singers and musicians in Scottish Opera’s Connect Company a cleverly balanced double bill, full of musical contrasts and intrinsic drama – like the one they presented across the weekend – then sit back and enjoy, as they deliver something special, sparked with a mix of keen energy and mature focus.

Stephen Deazley’s piece, Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow, was first aired by Connect in 2011 when they filled the Citizens main stage with a technicolour whing-ding reminiscent of the Land of Oz. At Webster’s – an altogether more intimate black box space – Deazley’s witty romp through some of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales arrives in (mostly) black and white: the colour comes from the performances.

Our Dr Ferret is Andrew McTaggart, an avuncular presence whose baritone warmth promises that his elixir can make bad children good…

The Connect chorus (ages ranging from 14 to 21) revel in the mischief of Belloc and the jaunty, quirky humours of Deazley, while the Connect orchestra kept pace with the snap and rhythmic crackle of the score.

The opening piece, Jonathan Dove’s The Walk in the Garden, thrummed with a sombre intensity that demanded much, of the soloists especially. Inspired by Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dove uses the expulsion of Adam (Glen Cunningham) and Eve (Charlotte Hoather) from Eden into an earthly wasteland to echo our own self-inflicted loss of natural habitat through climate change.

The chorus, who bookend the piece in thundering volume (as God, then Milton) sit on-stage as Adam and Eve, garbed like jet-setting holiday-makers, scale Dove’s heights of remembered joys, despair and resignation.

A fierce, compelling work to which young voices gave a touching truth.” 

Whole-Cast

It was fabulous for me to watch  Scottish Opera’s emerging artist Andrew McTaggart   as Dr Ferret, he is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and attended the Alexander Gibson Opera School,  the chorus sizzled through the entire production and didn’t let up in energy and colourful expression for the entire performance.

I also met the composer of the opera Jonathan Dove on Saturday, he enjoyed our first performance which was fantastic and he signed my score which I’m going to treasure.

It was great to see staff from the RCS vocal department who came along to watch including the head of vocal performance Professor Stephen Robertson, Judith Howarth and my singing teacher Kathleen McKellar Ferguson   I would like to say a big thank you to my friends and family who came along to show their support, several of them travelling quite a distance which I really do appreciate and for the cards and messages of support from my friends who could not make it.

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Programme-01

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An Exciting Week Ahead

April 12, 2015 — 60 Comments

Just before I finished for Easter I thought that I would try my hand a little baking.  Having seen so many lovely looking cakes on baking blogs I thought I would give it a go.  Now I can cook two or three dishes really well, another four or five passably but baking has never been my strong point.  I had a great time having a go but I don’t think Mary Berry has got anything to worry about.  It didn’t quite come out how I envisaged but I was told that it tasted great, I baked it in a roasting tin because I don’t have a proper tin haha.

Chocolate-Cake

It Really Did Taste Good.

I travelled to my Parents for the Easter weekend and after a few days relaxing I spent the last week preparing my final essay of the year for submission when College opens again tomorrow.  However it will be great to put my reference books away and immerse myself in the coming week of rehearsals.

Glen-and-Charlotte

Glen Cunningham ( Adam ) Me ( Eve ) and the fabulous Beth Jerem who  accompanied us both on piano during our rehearsal.

It is going to be a packed seven days but so worthwhile, the culmination of several months preparation and practice.  Throughout the week I will be taking part in the final rehearsals for Scottish Opera Connect’s production of “The Walk From The Garden”.  It is so exciting to see all the individual elements come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Though I have a good idea of how Glen, who plays Adam and myself, playing Eve fit in to the production it’s not until everyone involved is in the same place at the same time that you get the full picture.

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Paradise Lost – John Milton – Published 1667

The opera was composed by Jonathan Dove with the libretto written by Alasdair Middleton and runs for about 50 minutes and draws inspiration from “Paradise Lost” by the great English poet John Milton ( 1608 – 1674 ).  The story follows Adam and Eve as they come to terms with the enormity of their actions after eating the apple from the “Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil”, having being told by God that doing so would lead to their death.

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Cole Thomas;s Depiction Of The Expulsion Of Adam & Eve From The Garden Of Eden – 1828

But to see what happens you have to wait as I am not giving away any spoilers before the opera opens on Saturday.  But I can say that one of the great things about being involved with a live production is the way in which the Director interprets the opera and injects a little of their own personality in to the way we portray the story.

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Jonathan Dove

Jonathan Dove has written many wonderful operas and is a fabulous contemporary composer with over twenty works to his name.  You can read his biography over on his website, it’s very impressive.

jenufa

Last night ( Saturday 11th April ) I went to see Scottish Opera’s production of “Jenufa”.  I thoroughly enjoyed the opera which was full of dramatic vocals, great performances and enough vocal colour to create a musical rainbow.  It was wonderful to watch the opera sat next to Lesley, a lady I got chatting to who was there to experience live opera for the first time.

Scottish-Opera-Jenufa

Jenufa – Scottish Opera

If you missed the production during it’s run in Glasgow you can catch it in Edinburgh from the 16th April to 18th April.  The opera is sung in Czech with English surtitles.  Scottish Opera: “Jenůfa, a young woman living in a remote rural village, is pregnant, though as yet unmarried. Her stern stepmother, worried for the family’s reputation and her own status as the leader of their village, hides Jenůfa away to bear her child. Months later, the river thaws and a gruesome secret is uncovered. Suspicion falls immediately on Jenůfa, but the truth will out”.

Sir-John-In-Love

I have several evening rehearsals this week for the RCS production of Sir John In Love which opens on Saturday 8th May 2015.  It is a privilege to be involved as a member of the chorus with all my friends and fellow students, it’s shaping up to be a fabulous production.

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St Marys Cathedral – Glasgow

On Friday evening, 17th April as a member of the RCS Choir we will be performing at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow conducted by Frikki Walker.  A great way to start what I hope will be a memorable weekend for me as I have two performances of “The Walk From The Garden” on Saturday 18th and one matinee on Sunday 19th April.

The Walk From The Garden

January 4, 2015 — 65 Comments

Adam-And-Eve-Blog

I’m excited to announce that in April 2015 I will be performing the role of ‘Eve’ in Jonathan Dove’s Opera “The Walk from the Garden” with Scottish Opera’s Connect Company.

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Alongside me performing the role of ‘Adam’ will be the lovely tenor Glen Cunningham from Nairn in Scotland.  After accepting the role in September, I have had the pleasure to work with him whilst learning the score.

Glen-Cunningham

Glen Cunningham

 

The Scottish Opera Connect team have been wonderfully welcoming and it has been fabulous working with Chris Gray, (who is our conductor for the project), Laura Baxter, (who has been coaching us), Lliam Paterson, Iona Jack, Roseann Gross and Donna Macpherson. I am extremely excited to begin production rehearsals with Scottish Opera Connect Company and our director Julie Brown this month.  I will tell you more about it as we progress.

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The Scottish Opera Connect Chorus are a very talented bunch, last year I heard them preparing for Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow, which will be performed in the same billing.  Both are ‘New productions’ and it’s exciting to be working on an Opera by a British Composer which hasn’t been performed regularly before.