Archives For Scottish Opera

The Magic Flute

May 5, 2019 — 51 Comments

On Saturday night I had the wonderful opportunity to join my singing teacher, Rosa Mannion, to watch my friend Gemma Summerfield debut as Pamina in the Magic Flute at Scottish Opera in Glasgow. It was a spectacular production and she particularly sang with poise and mellifluous tone just exquisite.

Scottish Opera – The Magic Flute – Photos By James Glossop

It was an extra special production for me as it was a revival of the original 2012 Sir Thomas Allen production, which I happened to see during the first year of my studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. It was just as I remembered a magical production, I could vividly remember the steampunk costumes and set design which only improved with time.

The Three Ladies and the Queen of the Night’s costume were also inspiring – bejewelled with either hundreds of Swarovski or delicately placed LED lights – they truly looked like stars in the nights sky.

The fantastic detailing in all the props brought added flair to the mystical realm we, the audience, had been transported to. In particular I liked the clockwork birds, which glistened as Papageno unluckily missed them with his net.

Scottish Opera – The Magic Flute – Photos By James Glossop

Sir Thomas Allen, directed the opera full of wit and joviality. The audience all around me were sniggering and laughing in perfect timing with the singing actors due to their wonderful delivery of a particularly humorous English Translation. However, the company were able to balance these moments with seriousness for the suicide arias and lessons learnt during the trials.

Kitty, Gemma, Rosa , and Me

My rehearsals have started well here in Glasgow and I have enjoyed meeting everyone involved in the Pop-Up Opera production.  I hope that in some small way our abridged version will whet the appetite of our audiences and encourage them to go and watch the full production as it is a true delight to the senses.

Pop-Up Opera Tour

April 28, 2019 — 48 Comments

This week as April draws to a close I am really happy to share with you that I will be working with Scottish Opera again on their Pop-Up Opera tour around Scotland in May and June.  This year we will be performing three separate shows aimed at audiences of all ages:

A Little Bit of Iolanthe │Gilbert & Sullivan arr. Derek Clark

“ Iolanthe is banished by the Fairy Queen for marrying a mortal. Now, 25 years later, two worlds again collide when her son announces he’s in love. Unfortunately, his beloved is a popular girl and he has some serious competition… Light-hearted satire at its best, Iolanthe is full of fun.”

A Little Bit of The Magic Flute │Mozart arr. Derek Clark

  “Tamino is in love with Pamina, the daughter of the mysterious Queen of the Night. When she is abducted, he sets off to rescue her but soon realises all is not quite as it seems. A beguiling mix of comedy, fantasy and pantomime, The Magic Flute is also a profound story of the search for love, wisdom and truth.”

Puffy McPuffer and the Crabbit Canals │Music Marion Christie Words Allan Dunn

  “A tale of the five waterways that link Scotland from the North Sea to the Atlantic. Like most families, each one is different: Caledonian – the longest; Crinan – the most beautiful; hard-working Monklands; Union – the fastest; wise old Forth & Clyde. Each one thinks they’re the best. Can an ordinary little puffer boat make them think again?”

The tour will include dates at the Perth Festival of the Arts, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Old Kilpatrick, Barrhead, Giffnock, Borders Book Festival, Dirleton, Callander, Cupar Arts EDEN, Aboyne & Deeside Festival, Haddington Show.  You can see the times and dates for the shows here:

For these productions, I will be performing alongside Jessica Leary ( Soprano ), Aidan Edwards ( Baritone ), Ross Stenhouse ( Storyteller ), Lizy Stirrat ( Accordion ), Sharron Griffiths ( Harp ), and Yorke Sinclair ( Harp ).

Some Of The Places We Will Visit On The Tour

If you have the time I would appreciate it if you could please check out the new Kickstarter page of my friends at Improbable who have been responsible for some really amazing and innovative projects. Watch their video and if you can spare any amount to help them to bring their imaginative plans to life I can assure you that it will be gratefully received as they only have until May the 15th to hit their target.

The Scottish Tour Continues

September 9, 2018 — 52 Comments

One of the great things I enjoy about my work is visiting new places, traveling to locations that I may not otherwise have had the opportunity to visit.  Last Thursday, 6th September, I traveled North from London to Aberdeen to join the new cast of BambinO, Hazel McBain ( Uccellina ), Samuel Pantcheff ( Pulcino ), Andrew Drummond Huggan ( Cello ) Michael D Clark ( Percussion ).

It was exciting to watch them perform together on Friday before putting my Uccellina costume back on again to take over from Hazel, who leaves to take up her place on a Young Artist Programme in Salzburg.

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Today we moved on to Inverness where we have four more performances on Monday and Tuesday at Eden Court Theatre, Bishops Road, Inverness at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day.

You can get the details of the rest of the tour here:

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Earlier this week I received an email from the Editor of WordPress Discover to let me know that I had been selected to be showcased as an Editor’s Pick on their Discover page and Home Page.   It was quite exciting to be chosen and to share my blog with visitors to the WordPress site.  They have also asked me to take part in a question and answer session which will hopefully be featured on their site, I will let you know if it gets published.

But it got me thinking, that after five years blogging about my studies that it would be interesting for me to ask you if you have any questions that I could answer for you on my profession or expand on in a future blog post?  For example, maybe you would like me to interview a Stage Manager to find out more about the role they play in an opera production.  Or interview an instrumentalist to see if there are any parallels between their study path and that of an opera singer.  Perhaps you may want to know more about costume design for the stage, or where the costumes are stored after each performance.

Whatever the question I will try my best to answer it and hopefully add some new topics that be suitable for blog posts to share with you all over the coming year.

My Summer Reprise

September 2, 2018 — 72 Comments

As the summer draws to a close and the autumn approaches I wanted to put together a short reprise of what I have been up to since graduating from the Royal College of Music Masters course at the beginning of July.

The first event of the summer was my recital with the Tideswell Male Voice Choir on the 29th June 2018, such a joy to sing alongside my old friends.

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Followed on the 3rd and 4th July with my entry into this year’s Llangollen International Eisteddfod for the Pendine International Voice of the Future competition. What a fabulous place to perform, and being selected as this year’s winner was the icing on the cake. I have added some extra pictures to my original post and hope you get the chance to check them out if you haven’t already seen them.

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Then on to the Minack Theatre, near Lands End in beautiful Cornwall where I performed the role of Cunegonde in Surrey Opera’s production of Candide 16th to 20th July 2018

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The Minack Theatre reviewer Jenni Barlow wrote that ‘her ears were ringing and singing with sheer ecstasy and my head is still spinning with delight after watching one of the Minack’s most exhilarating musical productions….the voices of its nine principle singers are sublime…, with Charlotte Hoather giving a remarkable performance on the opening night, effortlessly hitting the top, very high notes, as well as achieving perfect comic timing, in partnership with the impeccable Stephen Anthony Brown.’ I was thrilled when this was sent to me.

After traveling back to London for rehearsals, it was on to Waterperry House in Oxfordshire to perform the role of Maria Bertram in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park.  The production received a five-star review in Bachtrack this week by Charlotte Valori,    “Waterperry Opera Festival has broken new ground in its first season, opening with an ambitiously broad programme which presented four different works in four different spaces […] The jewel of these four was the chance to see Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park in the period-perfect setting of Waterperry House […] Charlotte Hoather’s precocious, determined Maria Bertram displayed a deep and sensitive understanding of her complex character […] Mansfield Park sparkled with wit and ingenuity from start to finish.”

Mansfield Park - Jonathan Dove - Waterperry Opera Festival - 17th August 2018 Director/Designer - Rebecca Meltzer Musical Director - Ashley Beauchamp Maria Bertram - Charlotte Hoather Julia Bertram - Sarah Anne Champion Aunt Norris - Andrea Tweedale Mar

Now having had such a wonderful summer full of learning, I have to start preparations for next year, starting the audition process all over again.  I have a couple of smaller projects underway at present and can’t wait to share them with you as Autumn progresses. But until then I have my return to the role of Uccellina in BambinO for Scottish Opera in their tour this September.

One of the locations that we will be visiting is Lerwick in the Shetland Isles and I was excited to see my blog friend Cindy Knoke’s blog post today on the Town, the most Northerly town in the UK, with some amazing pictures.

BambinO – Scottish Tour

August 12, 2018 — 51 Comments

We have had a productive week of rehearsals here in London for Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Mansfield Park. Next week we travel over to Oxford to start the staging at the venue.  I can’t wait to see where we will be performing and soak up the atmosphere of the house to see if we can bring a little something extra to our characterisations.

I will try and get some pictures over the course of the week and share them with you once the performances are over or put them on Instagram.

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Scottish Opera are putting on a Scottish tour of BambinO this autumn and I have been asked back to perform alongside Samuel Pantcheff who will be taking on the role of Pulcino, with Andrew Drummond Huggan on Cello and Michael D Clark on Percussion, they are currently performing at the Edinburgh Fringe if you are in Edinburgh next week with your baby check it out with Hazel McBain as Uccelina.

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The tour will start in Aberdeen where I will join up with the cast and my first performances of the tour will be in Inverness on the 10th and 11th September 2018.

We then travel to Perth with performances on the 14th and 15th September 2018.

The next stage takes us back down to Motherwell with performances on the 17th and 18th September 2018.

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Motherwell

Finally, we fly from Glasgow to Lerwick, on the Shetland Islands for our final performances on 21st and 22nd September 2018.

Hopefully, there will be opportunities to get some pictures with the new cast members to share with you as the tour progresses. I am looking forward to meeting and working with

the new cast and also catching up with old friends, especially David Sneddon our tour manager, who always keeps things running so smoothly for us all.

 

New York, New York

April 29, 2018 — 39 Comments

After weeks of anticipation, Saturday finally arrived and team BambinO set off to New York for a week of performances at the Metropolitan Opera House. If you would have told me twelve months ago that working with this amazing team of creatives would lead me here I would never have believed it.

I was up bright and early, packed, and excited for the day ahead, eight hours after leaving Edinburgh we landed in Newark, collected our luggage, and met the drivers who were to take us to our hotel. The drive in from Newark Airport was a great way to see some of the City and I couldn’t wait to check in and explore the area around the hotel.

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The Metropolitan Opera House

With a five-hour time difference, I was keen to stay awake as long as possible and not let the jet lag take hold. After a quick freshen up I arranged to meet up with Lliam Paterson, and together we set off walking to explore the area around where we were staying. It wasn’t long before we found the Lincoln Centre Plaza and I found it hard to contain my excitement as we approached the Metropolitan Opera House. It was only just sinking in that we would be here on Monday for the first of our performances.

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Lliam Paterson, the Composer of BambinO and Me

This morning after a great nights sleep I met up with David Sneddon and Laura Sergeant and we set off to enjoy our free day in the City. Amongst some of the things we managed to do today were walking across Brooklyn Bridge, catching The Staten Island Ferry, and we walked through Times Square. I wanted to finish off tonight’s post by sharing some of the pictures we took.

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I Can’t Believe That I Am Here On Brooklyn Bridge, New York.

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Laura Sergeant, David Sneddon, and Me On The Brooklyn Bridge

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Laura Sergeant and Me On The Brooklyn Bridge With The New York Skyline Behind Us

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Statue Of Liberty

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Times Square

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New York County Court House

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New York City Fire Station

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Madison Square Park Looking Down 5th Avenue Towards The Empire State Building

Check out the trailer for BambinO on the Metropolitan Opera’s YouTube Channel:

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Laura Sergeant, Tim Connor, Ruth MacKenzie ( Théâtre du Châtelet ), Me, and Stuart Semple

The venue for our final week’s performances of BambinO is the CentQuatre, it is a huge exhibition and performance space owned and financed by the City of Paris.  We are using one of the many smaller performances areas within this amazing building, which in total covers over 25,000 square metres and can accommodate over 5000 visitors per day.

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Outside one of the great halls at the CentQuatre

I discovered that the building has over 200 artists in residence and provides a varied and intriguing mix of both live performances and static Art exhibitions.  It is hard to visualise that this building originally housed the city undertakers for Paris, for over 120 years it employed over 1000 people who arranged over 150 funeral processions each day.  In 1993 the municipal monopoly on the provision of funerals came to end and the building finally closed in 1998.  Luckily the building was registered as a historical monument and with the backing of the people of Paris, the Mayor went about finding out the best way to both safeguard and reuse the space.  In 2008 I think that they achieved both when it reopened in its current configuration, and I hope that it continues to provide Parisians with a place to socialise, a grand exhibition space, and somewhere to enjoy a wide variety of live performances.

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Inside CentQuatre

Our run here at CentQuatre finishes on the Friday 20th April, which will also mark the end of our short tour here in Paris for the Théâtre du Châtelet. It has been a wonderful time with some amazing venues and I will be sad to say goodbye when we have to leave next Saturday, so instead, I’ll just say au revoir.

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After One Of Our Performances Last Week at Bibliothèque Jacqueline de Romilly

 

Some press links :

France Musique

Seneva.net

MSN Video

 

 

I arrived in Paris with the rest of Team BambinO and we were immediately welcomed by everyone at the Théâtre du Châtelet.  The French audiences have been amazing and with the first few shows successfully completed I can’t wait to continue the run.  It is crazy to look out across the city skyline from each of the venues and see so many iconic landmarks.

I have managed to practice speaking French and more importantly understanding replies and been happy to walk around Paris in the Spring sunshine. Here are a few photographs that I have taken for my scrapbook that I wanted to share with you all.

 

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Tim Connor, Alison Reid, David Sneddon, Stuart Semple, Lissa Lorenzo, Me, and Laura Sergeant on the balcony of our changing room at the British Consul, Paris.

 

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The set laid out ready for our performance at the Conservatoire Municipal, Les Halles, Paris

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The three pictures above are from the Flower Market on the Île de la Cité, Paris.

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Stravinsky Fountain, 2 Rue Brisemiche, near the Pompidou Centre, Paris.

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This stunning iron-work sculpture is on the wall of the building next to the Le théâtre de la Tour Eiffel, Paris.

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The view of the Eifel Tower across from the British Consul, Paris

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Basilique Sainte-Clotilde, 23B Rue las Cases, Paris

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At the bottom of the Rue des Dechargeurs as the Paris marathon passes on the Rue de Rivoli

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The Metro at Place Colette, close to the Musée du Louvre, Paris

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In the Jardin Nelson Mandela near to the Chatelet Les Halles, Paris

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Inside the In the Chatelet Les Halles, Paris

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Inside Galeries Lafayette,Paris.

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The view from the roof of the Galeries Lafayette Paris

BambinO Takes Flight

March 25, 2018 — 66 Comments

Bonjour Paris text with tower eiffel and bicycle. Romantic postcAs the Easter Holidays approach, I have some great news to share with you all, I have been asked by Scottish Opera and Improbable to join my friends Tim Connor, Stuart Semple and Laura Sergeant to perform ‘BambinO’ in Paris for the Théâtre du Châtelet this April.

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Back Row: Laura Sergeant & Stuart Semple Front Row: Me & Timothy Connor

But before leaving London I had to make sure that I returned all the books that I borrowed from the RCM library for my recent project ‘Women In Music’, my backpack was a lot lighter on the way home 🙂

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I arrived back in Glasgow late on Thursday night and it was great to team up with my friends again on Friday morning for rehearsals to refresh the show for the French audiences.  It is amazing to see how this wonderful mini-opera, written by Lliam Paterson and directed by Phelim McDermott, has progressed since we first got together back in December 2016.  I can remember seeing the set and the costumes for the first time, designed by Emma & Giuseppe Belli, trying to visualise how the babies would respond to their imaginative use of props and move around the fabulous space created for each performance.

Following our performances in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow last year I can’t believe that we will now get the opportunity to perform in several venues around Paris organised by the Théâtre du Châtelet, who have embraced the idea of making this production accessible to a wider audience.    We will start the tour on 6th April performing twice a day in various locations until the 11th April.  On the 13th April through to the 20th April, we will perform twice daily at Cent Quatre.  The shows are free for babies with a small charge of four euros for each accompanying adult.

It will be such fun to practice my French with the audiences after each show and I hope that the babies can cope with my pronunciation.  I’ve already started revising my French conversation skills and I would love to hear of any recommendations for nice walks, places to visit, French meals I should try to cook over the course of my visit. (The perks of having a self-catered apartment).   It is such a fantastic opportunity for me to spend some time in Paris and experience the French culture which will hopefully influence my interpretation of French song.  I will let you know how it goes and hopefully get some pictures to share with you.scroll

Following my blog anniversary, I said that I would select three people from those who commented or placed a like on the post and send them a signed copy of my ‘Haugtussa CD’.  There were 139 people in total so I used a random number generator to select the winners.

Randon Numbers

I am pleased to announce that the three-people selected were John Howell, Peter Alexander, and Dora Buonfino.  I managed to contact John and Peter and have posted their CDs to them which should arrive this week (fingers crossed).  I have just received Dora’s forwarding address and will try and post it to her before I leave for Paris.

BambinO, That’s A Wrap

November 5, 2017 — 54 Comments

As I sit on the train traveling down to London this evening looking through the window as we travel south watching people celebrate bonfire night with the most fabulous firework displays. It is great to reflect on our last two performances of BambinO today which like the displays I have witnessed tonight concluded in spectacular fashion.

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This has been a fantastic production to be involved with and I have enjoyed every second working on stage alongside Timothy Connor, Laura Sergeant, and Stuart Semple. With over 70 performances this year at venues around Manchester, Edinburgh and now Glasgow David Sneddon our brilliant Stage Manager has played a huge part in allowing us to bring a little music and magic to the wonderful audiences that came to join us.

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Back Line: Laura, Tim, Lliam, Rachel, Stuart Front Line: Me and Julie

With each show, our front of house colleagues have made sure everyone who comes to watch has an amazing experience and I can’t stress enough the importance they play in making each performance feel special.

From the fabulous and inspiring set and costume designed by Emma and Giuseppe Belli to the free-flowing and imaginative direction inspired by Phelim McDermott, this production has been a real joy to be a part of.

But for me the cherry on the top has been the music composed by Lliam Patterson which I have loved singing and which will stay with me forever.

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To those of you who came along to watch one of the performances this year I want to thank you for joining us, it has been fantastic to meet you all and I will take away with me some very special memories. The most amazing thing about performing in this production is that each and every audience has been unique. The babies and toddlers have brought with them their individuality, interacting with us in unpredictable ways and making every show just that little bit different.

Not forgetting Scottish Opera, The Manchester International Festival and Improbable who made all of this possible sincerely thank you very much.