Archives For Michael Vincent Jones

This week marks the 5th week since the lockdown in the UK on the 20th March and you can catch our 5th Balcony Concert at the bottom of this post. It has been great to see how my friends and inspirational sources have taken on these turbulent times and turn to creativity to stay positive and stay afloat financially. This week I have interviewed my friend and colleague Michael V. Jones, who has taken up inks instead of arpeggios to release his imagination and try to build a business.

Michael and Me In The Fire Of Olympus

I have worked with Michael on two different projects, ‘The Fire of Olympus’ with Radius Opera and ‘Christmas Elf’ with Northern Opera. He is a delight on and off stage and this week I received a special gift from him in the post! An intricate ink painting of one of my favourite streets in Greenwich! I love this street as it leads to the Historic Greenwich Market – a pleasant place to visit at the weekend – something to look forward to in a post-Covid19 World. I have immediately ordered a frame and I cannot wait to hang this ‘one of a kind’ piece in my music studio.

It was such a delight to connect with Michael virtually and I really enjoyed learning and discussing his process and I thought I would share it with you on my blog.

When did you first start creating these fantastic drawings?

Well I took GCSE and A Level Art in School, and before going to Music college to pursue Opera I had every intention to pursue an Art career, however music and singing won in the end and I haven’t painted seriously for about 10 years. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve had all my singing and teaching work postponed and so have had much more time on my hands. I started painting again a couple of weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised at the response to my work.

What medium do you use to create these one of a kind pieces?

I mainly use Black Indian Ink and paint it on watercolour paper, using water to vary the tone.

How long do they take you to make?

It completely varies, but on average about 6 hours for an A4 piece and 10 hours for A3.

Do you listen to music whilst you are drawing?

I actually listen to audiobooks, usually something I’ve already read so I can ‘zone-out’ and get into the artwork. For your piece I was listening to Circe by Madeline Miller.

What is your personal experience of the Lockdown?

At first it was a massive adjustment as I’m used to working 6 days of the week with various teaching and singing jobs, so trying to find things to do with that massive amount of time was hard at first. Finding and using Art as a creative outlet has been a godsend, I actually feel calmer than I usually do!

Have you got any coping mechanisms to share?

Finding little tasks and completing them, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, really helps me. The feeling of having finished a job really makes me feel better. Baking has also helped.

Is this something you have always been interested in, or is this a newly acquired skill?

I’ve always been quite good at drawing and painting, however experimenting and using solely ink to create the effect is new and is definitely something I want to continue to pursue.

Have you found a platform, where people can see and purchase your art to help to get you through the Lockdown?

I’ve actually sold most of my work through social media. On Facebook I have an MVJones – Art page detailing prices and works that I’ve already sold, and on Instagram I also have an MVJones – Art page. I’m in the process of setting up a website for my art separate from my singing one, so watch this space! My email is m​ vjonesart@gmail.com​ for all art related queries.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/mvjonesart/
https://www.instagram.com/mvjonesart/

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

As I mentioned before I’m also an opera singer, so please feel free to visit my website www.michaelvincentjones.com​ to see what else I can do 🙂

I wish Michael the best of luck with this new venture! I miss singing and performing with him and all my other colleagues. But in the meantime, here is our 5th Balcony Concert where we performed a musical cocktail featuring a little bit of Musical Theatre with a sprinkle of Rachmaninov and Dvorak.

Here’s our program:

Dream Valley (Roger Quilter)

I Dreamed A Dream (Claude-Michel Schönberg, Les Miserables)

Home (Maury Yeston, Phantom)

Сирень, Lilacs (Rachmaninov)

они отвечали,They Answered (Rachmaninov)

Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku, Song to the Moon (Dvořák, Rusalka)

Non ti Scordar di Me

Christmas cheer has certainly been in the air of our rehearsal room this week. With Singing Trees, Elves, and Angels. Northern Opera Group organised our rehearsals to take place at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama. This venue is a great space for rehearsals as it has been converted into different sized practice rooms. We rehearse in a large studio that hosts a lovely grand piano and plenty of space for staging the drama.

Michael Vincent Jones who plays Frieder and Me

‘Christmas Elf’ involves both spoken dialogue and music and I have had a lot of fun working with my colleagues to tell the story. 

The Whole Company

To finish off our first week of rehearsals, today we are blocking the finale with the wonderful Community Chorus who completes our company.

During a little bit of downtime yesterday, I visited Harewood house’s Christmas attraction: ‘A Night at the Mansion’. It was extremely magical and full of Festive cheer, tinsel, and finely decorated Christmas trees.

I don’t want to give away too much about the experience, but I will explain that the concept was inspired by the Hit-Movie franchise ‘Night at the Museum’ starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. It is after hours, the doors are shut, and no humans in sight, so the statues, paintings, and household objects come alive! (using a little bit of Christmas magic).

There are even little characters similar in size to the ‘Borrowers’ which took me straight to my childhood, searching for them in cupboards. It also made me reminisce about the times I went looking for dragons and fairies in the forests and mountain valleys of North Wales with my Mum, Dad, and brothers.

Here is their trailer to give you a sneak peek!

I thoroughly recommend a visit to the attraction if you are in the Leeds area over the Christmas period. Next Saturday (21st December) If you fancy a real Christmas treat perhaps you can visit Harewood House during the day and then come along to our performance of The Christmas Elf in the evening. What a way to start your Christmas off, I am sure that you will go home with a huge smile on your face full of Christmas cheer and delight!

Last night, Saturday 14th September, was the premiere of Tim Benjamin’s The Fire Of Olympus at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre.  It was a lovely venue with a fabulous stage and a wonderful audience.

Michael Vincent Jones as Hephaestus and me as Pandora

After all the hard work put in by everyone involved over the past few months it was such a thrill to finally bring the piece to the stage. It was a wonderful experience to perform such a different character role alongside the rest of the cast and the orchestra to bring Tim’s music to life.

As the tour is still ongoing, I don’t want to give too much away about the production and what we have in store for the audience.  But if you can attend one of the shows I do encourage you to come along and witness the spectacle first hand.

Next Saturday, 21st September, we travel to Huddersfield for a performance at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP.

Then on to Manchester on the 28th September at the RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD.

With further performances in York on the 12th October at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA.

Finally, we bring the tour to a conclusion with two performances one at The Repertory Theatre, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 2TR on the 30th October and your last chance to catch the production on the 9th November at the Todmorden Hippodrome, 83 Halifax Rd, Todmorden OL14 5BB.

Backstage and ready for the evening’s performance