Archives For The Walk From The garden

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

2nd Anniversary

March 18, 2015 — 125 Comments

2nd-Anniversary-Blog

It has been two years since I first decided to start my blog and record the experiences and opportunities that I would face as a student here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. So here I am 230 posts later and to everyone that has joined me here, supported my endeavours, shared in my experiences and provided invaluable advice I just want to say thank you.

I just love this time of year as all the rehearsals are coming to fruition and the performance dates are just around the corner.
On the 17th April at 7:30 pm I will be taking part with my fellow students at the RCS in our chamber choir, conducted again this year by Frikki Walker at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

Double Bill Opera Image
The following day I am very excited that my family and friends will be traveling to Glasgow to see me take part in the Scottish Opera Connect production of Jonathan Dove’s opera “The Walk From The Garden”. This will be my first lead role playing Eve alongside a fellow student from the RCS, Glen Cunningham who will be performing the role of Adam. The dates of the performances are 18th April 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm and 19th April at 3:30 pm. This opera is part of a double bill, the second production is “Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow” which was inspired by “The Cautionary Tales” by Hilaire Belloc.

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As a member of Les Sirenes Female Chamber choir we have been working on Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Thursday 14th May at the City Halls Glasgow.

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Sir John In Love – RCS Glasgow

Then as the end of the academic year draws to a close I will be performing as a member of the chorus in the RCS production of Vaughan Williams’s opera “Sir John In Love”. With shows on the 9th, 11th, 13th and 15th May starting at 7:15 pm.

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The rehearsals for the Scottish Opera Connect production of “The Walk from the Garden” are gathering pace.  Glen Cunningham (Adam) and I were there this afternoon.

Scottish Opera through their strong community links have developed a great education programme that sets out to introduce the beauty and artistry of opera to a wider and younger audience. These include visiting schools with touring productions aimed at primary aged children, their “Opera Unwrapped” events providing a sneaky peak into the world behind the scenes of an opera production and finally Scottish Opera’s Connect Company for aspiring 14 to 21 year olds helping through workshops and coaching sessions to improve performing skills and develop a love of this wonderful art form.

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Scottish Opera Head Quaters

Our rehearsals today were in the impressive headquarters for the Scottish Opera in Glasgow which was originally owned by the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders and the beautiful stained glass windows around the building have a strong maritime theme.

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The Lusitania Window In The Rankine Hall

 

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The Rehearsal Room

 

I’m enjoying every minute of the preparation and as April approaches and the performance dates get closer my excitement surrounding the production grows.  There are two operas being presented in the same program, “The Walk From The Garden” and “Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow”.  This will be the third full production of Jonathan Dove’s opera “The Walk from the Garden” since it was first commissioned by Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival.

To see the production listed in the Scottish Opera “What’s On” list is quite a thrill.  There are to be three performances, two on Saturday 18th April at 15:30 pm and 19:00 pm and one on Sunday 19th April at 15:30 pm.  Tickets are available through the Scottish Opera website.

I cannot believe that the auditions were back in September 2014 as the time has just flown by and there are ten weeks to go which seems like a long time away but I’m sure it will be here in a flash.

The Walk From The Garden

January 4, 2015 — 65 Comments

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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.

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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.