Where did it all begin? Why music?
At eight years old I began singing as a chorister at primary school, and music continued to form a huge part of my education as I grew up. Alongside that, my parents both work in the arts, and with my father being an actor and movement director, I spent a lot of my childhood in rehearsal rooms and watching theatre, where my mother, a photographer, would often be photographing the production too! I did a lot of theatre during my school days (more often than not playing women!) but it was always when I was singing that I felt most at home on stage.
Was there a big ‘lightbulb’ moment?
Not particuarly, but I think I have had a series of ‘mini-lightbulb moments!’ There are a few that have stayed with me; the Fauré Requiem as a treble, singing my first Bach solo aria with orchestra, getting a place at music college, my first operatic production at university, successfully auditioning for the ROH Jette Parker programme, and even my ROH debut in December – all were moments which re-enforced my love for performing and to pursue this career path.
What do you love most about your career?
I think being surrounded with people from different artistic disciplines is not only good fun, but inspiring. In opera meeting musicians, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, movement specialists, stage managers – all bring different expertise and energy. I love seeing hard work transform into a piece of theatre, both my own personal work and the work of the whole production team. I love meeting new people and sharing ideas on whatever it is we might be working on. Primarily, I love being in the rehearsal room, experimenting and enjoying the experience of trying things out/creating a new piece of theatre to finally then perform!
Best musical advice received?
Sing words not notes. (The mantra of Martin Lloyd Evans and Dominic Wheeler at GSMD)
Most memorable live music experience as a performer?
Running on stage as Marullo in Rigoletto, with the banda blazing away, for my ROH debut was an unforgettable moment, but performing in Barrie Kosky’s Saul was an amazing experience too.
…and as an audience member? Peter Grimes at ENO – the noise and vibration of the entire ENO chorus singing out ‘PETER GRIMES’ right to the audience… it was breathtaking.
Last thing you listened to?
Malin Byström singing the last 20 minutes of Strauss’ Salome. Incredible performance from her and the orchestra!
First record you ever bought?
I think it was By the Way by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
David Bowie, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Fleetwood Mac, The Who.
Favourite book? The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov.
Jerusalem – having studied theology at university, spending time in this city was a really fascinating experience.
The National Theatre.
Which non-classical musician would you most like to work with?
Intergrating completely different musical genres with opera would be fun – mixing the genre with Ólafur Arnalds/Moby/Daft Punk for example!
Which other talent would you most like to have?
Tap dance like Gene Kelly…! (particularly the scene where he is in roller-skates)
[Skip to 1.15 for the tap dancing!]
If you were given a time machine, what period or musical event would you travel to and why?
Well a little hobby of mine is flying a remote-controlled Spitfire and I often wear a sheep-skin coat and get called Biggles – so probably the 1940s!
How do you relax when not working?
I have an assortment of hobbies I’ve picked up along the way… rollerskating, whittling, collecting vinyl, flying drones to film landscapes, hiking, making plum gin, yoga, origami, watching theatre and dance.