Archives For Recital

On the train back to our London home via Paddington this evening after performing my first concert of 2019 with George Todica. What a thrilling way to start our musical performances for the year.

We performed as part of the Stonevale Recital series, near Swindon an intimate venue where we were warmly welcomed by the concert organiser Lynette and later by the generous and kind-hearted audience of the local village. The audience was made up of all ages and it was lovely to see everyone engage with our performance as we traveled throughout Europe with our musical program.

Blog 200119 02

At the venue, we had the luxury of picking between two pianos for the concert, and George was in a little torment as both pianos were exquisite to the touch and being mindful of the repertoire we were performing he decided to play the Steinway because of its crisp colours and position within the room. Although the Yamaha was a very strong contender with its vibrancy of sound.

Blog 200119 01

It was lovely to travel outside of London bringing our practice to performance level and having fun in the joy of creating live music. We performed a few new pieces and took lots of risks and shaped the stories told by our music based on the reactions of our audience. I also sang a great number of arias which put my stamina to the test! We were really happy and can’t wait to perform more concerts and recitals in this new year!

Blog 200119 03

Earlier in the week, we took inspiration from Diana Damrau and Helmut Deutsch’s Lieder concert at the Barbican this week. The duo looked like they had so much fun on stage seamlessly crafting the music and the poetry. We both thoroughly enjoyed their interpretation along with the rest of the audience who encouraged Damrau and Deutsch’s to perform three encores! Which in turn left George and me with two sets of very red yet enthusiastic hands!

Blog 200119 04

We both wanted to take this joy and energy and try to share it with those who came this afternoon and we hope that in some small way we were able to achieve this.

Friends Making Music

June 4, 2017 — 60 Comments

As my Recital Exam approaches this week I had the pleasure to perform alongside my dear friend Prajna Indrawati in her exam on Friday. Prajna is wonderful to work with and I was so happy for her when earlier this year she won the accompanist prize in the Brooks-van der Pump competition.

 

Prajna

Prajna Indrawati

 

Our mutual friend Manu Brazo, a saxophonist, also performed a beautiful sonata by Fernande Decruck as part of the recital. Manu is an accomplished saxophonist with several notable achievements so far, this year.  They include winning the Saxophone competition at the Royal College of Music, the Jellinek Award in the 2017 “Guildford Symphony Orchestra Competition for Young Soloists” and he has been selected to take part in the 2017 London Sinfonietta Academy.

 

Manu Brazo

Manu Brazo

 

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to perform some of my repertoire under exam conditions ahead of my own recital on Wednesday. The exam is open to the public, and there will be an examining panel of three judges who will sit centre stage at the back of the venue with copies of the music at hand. As this will be an open performance we are expected to create programmes and perform under the rigors of strict time restrictions to prepare us for professional engagements in the future. The exam criteria are very strict which demands high technical singing and an entertaining dramatic portrayal.

Singing as with any art form is very subjective, the level of critique following an exam is very thorough and can pick up on the tiniest of details. I find comfort for this high level of critique by watching a program on BBC2 called ‘Creme de la Crème’ in which teams of patisserie chefs battle to win the grand prize. The judges are so particular, expecting high standards from the competitors, they often award very tough marks for what to the untrained eye is a beautifully presented batch of pastries.  Just like singing at this level expectations and standards are so high and we do everything that we can to be at our best on the day.  I can’t wait for my performance and I know that I will enjoy the opportunity to showcase what I have learnt during my first year here at the Royal College of Music.

As a surprise treat and quite unexpectedly I was given tickets to watch an evening performance at the Royal Albert Hall.  It was amazing to celebrate with Prajna and Manu as it was our first time visiting this magnificent venue and it was lovely to share the memory together.

Inside The Albert Hall

Albert Hall

scroll

To close my post tonight I want to say how saddened I was last night after another terrorist attack here in London, it left seven dead and many more injured, with several still in a critical condition.  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost a loved one and to everyone who was so tragically touched by the attack last night.  I also want to express my thanks to the first responders and police for their fast response. I know that we are supposed to be strong and carry on as normal but I must admit to being a little scared and apprehensive when leaving home this morning. For me, like so many others here in London and in Manchester tomorrow will be another day and we must get on with our lives and remain as positive as possible, hoping that the end to these atrocities will not to be far away.  My prayers are with you all, stay safe wherever you are in the world.

A Night At The Opera – Sophie Kochanowska

On Saturday the 24th May, I had the pleasure to attend ‘A Night at the Opera’ featuring Sophie Kochanowska (Soprano), Christian Schneeberger (Tenor), Kamilla Dunstan (Mezzo Soprano), accompanied by Liam Lees and Zosia Mazurkiewicz. The concert took place at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral on Great Western Road at 19:30. The evening’s sky was a softly lit navy blue and the relaxing atmosphere was extended into the idyllic fairy-light lit interior of the church. Jessica Hurst and Lynn Bellamy sat alongside me and I thoroughly enjoyed their company all evening.

Me and my friends Lynn Bellamy and Jessica Hurst

The concert began with the performers entering the space with an enchanting charisma. Everyone was beautifully presented, from sweetheart red satin dresses to terrifically tailored suits. I was eager to immerse myself in the beautiful music and Christian opened the program with a beautiful rendition of “Vi Ricorda O Boschi Ombrosi” from Monterverdi’s L’Orfeo. The concert included 15 pieces ranging from Mozart to Moore, providing a contrasting and an exciting program.

This fabulous event had been organised by Sophie Kochanowska and it ran so smoothly and professionally that it made for a very enjoyable evening. Sophie is currently fundraising to help finance a trip to Germany to further her studies and I wish her every success.

Church001

A Beautiful Venue – St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral

Apart from the lovely singing it was great to see Christian and Kamilla in action. As a second year studying music at the RCS I understand that I am training towards a future where I will be constantly learning and I am only on the first leg of the journey. So it is refreshing to escape from the practice room and see students from the Masters course take to the stage. One of the areas of my singing I have been working on this term is my character representation. Having this in mind I was watching how the artists used gestures and facial expressions when trying to depict different emotions.

It was interesting to note that for different songs and genres they used different levels of acting in their performances. For example, Kamilla sang “Mon Coeur S’Ouvre A Ta Voix” from Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saens and she performed it with a sense of power behind her stillness that captured and held your attention, then contrastingly she took to the stage later in the concert with Ben Moore’s “I Can Be A Sexy Lady’. Where she employed large gestures and exaggerated facial expressions that exploited the comedic genius of the text.

From this I now feel that I have to let the piece lead me to the correct level of acting required, utilizing the drama provided in the text and the music to provide the inspiration for my performance.

Christian-Schneeberger-01

Christian Schneeberger

Kamilla-Dunstan-01

Kamilla Dunstan

So sad that I can’t see the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s MMus Opera Scenes this week due to rehearsals. The first year masters students perform a varied mixture of opera repertoire, piano accompanied and simply staged. The performance is open to the public in the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio. Great for newcomers to opera.