Photograph: Opening night, The Barber of Seville, Brisbane.
Latest news! Opening Night at The Barber of Seville with OperaQ.
A little background first…
Finding my voice again, note by note, month by month.
In 2014, after losing my voice for two years as a result of surgery for thyroid cancer, I successfully auditioned for #ProjectPuccini, the largest regional arts project ever undertaken in Australia.
“Project Puccini was a world-first initiative by OperaQ giving 384 Queenslanders across 8 regional locations the opportunity to perform alongside internationally renowned artists in a brand new touring production of Puccini’s La bohème.” (Opera Queensland)
Almost 800 auditions were held to select 36 adults and 12 children to represent each local community, and, to be honest, I went in at last minute, not well prepared because I was a bit reticent about singing in front of a prestigious panel with what I can only describe as “half a voice.” I honestly didn’t think I would get through the audition, or be given a place in the chorus. My voice was still weak, and faltering, especially in the upper register where it would sometimes “lock” on me, and cut out altogether. (On this day, I was fortunate in that it didn’t!) So you can imagine that I was ecstatic to learn that I would be participating in the project and, as the weeks went by, even more thrilled when I discovered that the rehearsals were helping my voice heal rapidly. After a solid eighteen months of singing endless scales, vocalises, and studying the various effects of surgery on the voice, I had been at the threshold of returning to voice. Singing each week, performing this beautiful composition, in great company, with an accomplished repetiteur, in well planned rehearsals, was the turning point.
Throughout 2104, I was afforded the privilege of singing with Opera Queensland in Project Puccini, at the French Festival, and also on the balconies of the Treasury Building for “Colour Me Brisbane” as part of the G20 World Summit. I found that I was soaring over the highest notes with ease, and thoroughly enjoying every moment of the experience!
Music as a pathway to healing.
Their current project is Project Rossini, and I am much more than just a little wistful that I have not been able to take part in this one due to my own teaching and recording commitments; I did say that, if my voice returned, I wouldn’t waste the time, and I haven’t! I have been recording some of the bluesy Art Deco Jazz standards, the old romance songs, that I love so much. And an original song, “In Flanders Fields”, composed to the words penned by John McCrae on the battlefield of France in World War 1. This song has been released to commemorate the Centenery of the Battle of the Somme (1916 – 2016). When my students have completed their current workload of exams and eisteddfodau, there are others I will be back in the recording studio. For now, I am very well, and I have my voice back! Whether it be permanently or on loan I can’t say, but I will never take it for granted again. Regardless, you can be very sure that I will be present and hopeful at the audition for the next Opera Queensland project in two years time! These projects are wonderful for individuals, for the community as a whole, and Opera Queensland are an inspiration to us all.
Recently I was honoured with an invitation from Opera Queensland to attend the Opening Night of The Barber of Seville (a marvellous opera by Rossini), as a VIP guest. It was nothing short of sensational, a complete madcap riot, with a standout performance by Brett Carter as Figaro! If you haven’t had a chance to catch #TheBarberofSeville on tour, don’t miss out! It’s so much fun! And oh, do let’s keep the “glam” at the Opera … because we don’t always get a chance to dress to the nines! I chose an elegant Sacha Drake (Brisbane designer) evening gown for my very special night at the Opera. These, along with some glittering, authentic, 1940s American Eisenberg clip earrings, and understated Diana Ferrari pumps. It was just wonderful, a crisp winter night among the stars, and one to remember, rounded off perfectly by a little late supper at La Dolce Vita Ristorante, in Milton, in the company of my lovely former student, and fabulous singer in her own right, Faye. The antipasti and cannoli at La Dolce Vita are superb!
Please take a moment to read through the latest #OperaQ newsletter! It’s OUR awesome Opera Queensland!
Here is a link to my favourite Brisbane Designer, Sacha Drake.
And a link to the shop page on this site where you can purchase a copy of “In Flanders Fields” or the other tracks.
And – whatever you do – don’t miss the opportunity to catch The Barber when he comes to a city near you!