I would like to thank Diana Roberts of the Royal College of Music for inviting me, and my fellow ‘Women in Music’ students, to perform at the Royal Academy of Arts last Friday. The event entitled “In Tune with Feminist Futures” was supported by Dasha Shenkman and we were all thrilled to see how well attended the recital was.
Diana Roberts, Dasha Shenkman, Leanne Singh-Levett, Esme Hurlbert, Me, Lisa Burgess, Katy Thompson. My thanks to Esme for sharing this photograph.
My friend Jane had traveled from Manchester to London for the weekend and it was lovely to spend time with her before the recital and to see her in the audience. After the event, there was a drinks reception and we got the opportunity to mingle with the audience and spend time talking with them.
The recital was held in The Reynolds Room in the Royal Academy of Arts which housed some amazing paintings, we were not allowed to take pictures in the room itself but if you are visiting London I would recommend adding the Royal Academy of Art to your places to visit.
Sonia Lawson – Behind is the picture “Night in a private garden”
We were asked to select a work by one of the artists from the Royal Academy to be displayed whilst we performed. I chose a picture by Sonia Lawson “Night in a Private Garden” which she painted in 2010. Sonia Lawson was born in 1934 and has had a prolific career, she was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1991 and at 84 continues to paint in her studios in Bedfordshire and North Yorkshire.
The songs that I chose for the evening were “In Meines Vaters Garden” and “Laue Sommernacht” by Alma Mahler whose father, Emil Jakob Schindler was a famous Austrian Landscape painter who greatly influenced her work.
Leanne Singh-Levett and Me
A big thank you to Leanne Singh-Levett for accompanying me, it was lovely to work with her again for this recital having performed with her the previous day for my “Women In Music” lecture-recital.
Thank you to everyone who joined with me to celebrate my blogging anniversary last week, it was lovely to read all your comments. I will be drawing up a list of everyone who liked or comment on the post during the coming week and then select 3 people at random to receive a signed copy of my “Haugtussa” album.
I would also like to share with you the news that I will be performing the role of ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Jonathan Dove’s opera ‘Mansfield Park’. The performances will take place at Waterperry House, Oxford on the 18th and 19th August 2018. I am really looking forward to meeting and working with the rest of the cast and taking this production to this picturesque venue.
This weekend has been a key milestone for me in more ways than one, firstly it is the fifth anniversary of my first steps into the world of blogging, secondly it has seen the culmination of many months work as I try to finalise the PowerPoint presentation for my lecture recital on Thursday 8th May for my academic module entitled ‘Women In Music’.
When I selected the module at the beginning of the year, I had no idea how it would affect me, the deeper I researched, the more it drew me in. We were asked to prepare a 20 to 25 minute lecture recital on a female composer. Initially, I thought that this would be quite straightforward but after several months of reading, research and mentoring sessions it has proven to be more difficult than I expected. Not because I can’t fill the time, on the contrary, I have ended up with such a weight of research and information that I am finding it hard to cut it down to just 25 minutes in total !!
But cut it down I must, so I have been burning the midnight oil, wrestling with myself as to what information should be removed and what should remain. It is such a difficult and time-consuming process, as I find myself both arguing for and against each small section that I try to isolate and remove from the presentation.
At one point after reading through my work and decided that to try and preserve as much of my work as possible that I will perhaps post the initial un précised presentation as a blog post after I have completed my lecture recital. It may be a little longer than my usual posts, and I need to figure out how to record attach the spoken word to the PowerPoint presentation but I do hope that some of you find it as interesting to read as I did researching it.
One of the key points that I have taken away from my research is the importance of encouragement and positive reinforcement to the success of an individual’s creative endeavours. This is especially so if the creative arena in which you wish to forge a career for yourself has few gender or racial precedents for you to emulate or against whom you can measure your progress. Over the years on my blog many of you have contributed so much to my progress, encouraging me just when I need it, being supportive of my choices in an uncertain world, and most important of all just being there as a constant for me as I face every new challenge. I know that many of you have had your own creative struggles and by being there with you, sharing your experiences, as you individually overcame the obstacles you faced has been truly inspirational.
Part of this module included selecting and working closely with mentors, individuals who gave me their time, advice and the benefit of their experience and I would like to thank them:
My singing teacher and friend Rosa Mannion for consistently reinforcing the sound foundations, technical necessities, and good vocal health needed to sing at the highest levels.
Rosa Mannion and Me
Dr Natasha Loges and Diana Roberts for providing the lectures which guided my research for this module at the Royal College of Music. I would whole heartedly recommend it to any future students when they come to choose their options. Both Natasha and Diana have provided the necessary support needed for a module like this to succeed, and I can’t thank them enough.
Judith Howarth for her frankness and honesty during our sessions, and for her invaluable insight into the operatic world, advice which I will carry with me as I try to build my career in the years to come.
The composer Lisa Illean who has been so patient with me, providing feedback and guidance on the format and timing of my lecture recital, giving up her own time to talk me through the difficult process of how to decide what to keep and what to cut ( which I am still working on ).
Leanne Singh-Levett for coming to my rescue and stepping in at the eleventh hour to accompany me during my lecture recital, it has been fantastic to work closely with her even if it has been for such a brief time.
Simon Lepper for his skilled accompaniment and creative input during our coaching sessions, and for his patience and understanding as I had to change my repertoire just weeks before my recital lecture due to circumstances beyond my control.
A special thank you to all my friends that I have picked the brains of while preparing my reseach.
Just before I finish I want to wish the best of luck to all my fellow students presenting their recital lectures this Thursday; Eloise MacDonald, Lisa Burgess, Katy Thomson, and Esme Hurlburt.
Overall this has been both a difficult yet rewarding experience, one that has made me think differently about the challenges that I will face in the future. It has hardened my resolve to push on with my ambition to make a career for myself as an Opera Singer, to work more effectively to achieve my goals, to be thankful to my professional coaches and teachers, and to recognise that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well.
By way of a thank you I will be putting all the names of everyone who comments or adds a like to this post here on my blog into a hat and I will pick out three names at random. I would then like to send signed copies of my Haugtussa album to those selected along with a personal message of thanks.