Opera Lives

Opera Lives

By Linda Kitchen Illustrated by Nobby Clark

WHAT MAKES AN OPERA SINGER?

And where in the making of a performance is the identity of the singer themselves?

Linda Kitchen goes behind the scenes with prominent voices who have valuable insight about the world of opera, discussing what it means to be a performer, how they got into the profession and how who they are affects how they perform.

Illustrated with photos of the artists in places that lend meaning to their lives by renowned photographer Nobby Clark.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos and information:
https://www.facebook.com/operalivesbook/

 

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WHAT MAKES AN OPERA SINGER?

And where in the making of a performance is the identity of the singer themselves?

Linda Kitchen goes behind the scenes with prominent voices who have valuable insight about the world of opera, discussing what it means to be a performer, how they got into the profession and how who they are affects how they perform.

Illustrated with photos of the artists in places that lend meaning to their lives by renowned photographer Nobby Clark.

“An intriguing and richly-detailed insight into the minds, routines, concerns and joys of being an opera singer. A must-read for all performers.”
Martin Duncan, Opera and Theatre Director

“Linda Kitchen has done a great job curating a fascinating insight into the professional lives of some of our best-loved singers and sure to be of interest to a next generation of young artists.”
Lynne Dawson, Head of the School of Vocal Studies and Opera, Royal Northern College of Music.

WHAT MAKES AN OPERA SINGER?

And where in the making of a performance is the identity of the singer themselves?

Linda Kitchen goes behind the scenes with prominent voices who have valuable insight about the world of opera, discussing what it means to be a performer, how they got into the profession and how who they are affects how they perform.

Illustrated with photos of the artists in places that lend meaning to their lives by renowned photographer Nobby Clark.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos and information:
https://www.facebook.com/operalivesbook/

 

Linda Kitchen: Opera Lives has emerged from a career in opera, which began in 1982. Being cast at a young age in soubrette and lyric roles, Linda Kitchen sang at major European opera houses and festivals. She was a soloist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden during a large part of her career, whilst singing major roles with Welsh National Opera, Opera North, De Nederlandse Opera and other European houses.

In 2004, Linda lost her voice, but she leapt off the stage into directing, teaching and writing. Bringing together voices in this book is the fruit of her journey – from a singer with a flourishing career, a hiatus and a moment of reflection, to her reinvention and a desire to continue to share the world’s great music and its artists with tomorrow’s audience. 

Nobby ClarkSince his prestigious career began with Michael Croft’s National Youth Theatre and Verity Bargate’s Soho Poly Theatre, Nobby Clark has also worked for many UK publications including The Observer, The Guardian, The Times and The Sunday Times, His work has also been commissioned by almost all the major British theatre, opera and ballet companies including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera, Northern Broadsides, Theatre Royal Bath and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Nobby has worked on a wide range of musicals, notably Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, Cats and Stephen Ward and the award-winning American production of Rent and Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! He has photographed Dave Allen and Billy Connolly for their live shows and he was the director of Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Australia for television. Nobby has also donated his time and photography in aid of Mencap, Charity Projects, Comic Relief and the Rumanian Angels Trust. His flair and wealth of experiences are far-reaching and have been captured in his photographs in exhibitions and film festivals and in his book on the Rolling Stones, Star F*cker, published by Oberon Books. Nobby has a great understanding of where art sits in the real world, and both he and his work express a direct and candid sincerity.

Biographies of contributors 

SIR THOMAS ALLEN is at the heart of this book. His career, voice and stage presence are legendary, and he will surely be heralded as Britain’s most successful baritone with performances in opera and recital and as a director, spanning 40 years. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music, and this year was given an honorary doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music. It is hard to find baritone repertoire that Sir Thomas Allen has not recorded – from Winterreise to Don Giovanni, H.M.S. Pinafore to his musical biography, Songs My Father Taught Me, with Malcolm Martineau.

SUSAN BICKLEY is one of the great singing actors of her generation. She sings regularly at Covent Garden and is consistently in demand by major opera houses, opera festivals, contemporary composers, baroque specialists, as well as directors and conductors. Susan received the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 2011. Alongside her many operatic recordings, her discs include songs by Ivor Gurney with Iain Burnside, Handel’s Serse, Theodora, Solomon; Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Dido and Aeneas; Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans; Reynaldo’s Hahn Songs; George Benjamin’s Upon Silence; Thomas Adès’s America: A Prophecy; Simon Bainbridge’s Ad ora incerta and Primo Levi’s songs.

PHILIP BLAKE-JONES created Opera Interludes, a company that combines his immense talent as a singer and musician with his passion for performance and for people. Opera Interludes places opera in beautiful settings around the world. His innate sense of aesthetic has brought him clients of the highest calibre with performances to match. At the same time as being a bespoke event manager, Philip has sung with Sadlers Wells and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and continues to be a key member of casts that grace the stages of many prestigious private events. Philip’s recordings include Iolanthe with the D’Oyly Carte, and A Night at the Opera, produced by his partner company, London Festival Opera.

MAUREEN BRATHWAITE has won many awards for her soaring and beautiful singing, including the Capital Radio Anna Instone Memorial Award. During her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama she also won the Ian Fleming Award, which allowed her to continue her vocal studies in Florence. Maureen is known for her interpretations of contemporary opera as well as being a regular concert artist. She is also a valued member of the teaching staff at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music.

SUSAN BULLOCK received a CBE in 2014, which was recognition for her outstanding career as a dramatic soprano, encapsulating Wagner, Puccini, Strauss and Britten roles with exceptional stamina, musicality and intelligence. She represented her success at the London 2012 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony and at the Last Night of the Proms. Her recordings include Britten’s Gloriana, Wagner’s Ring and Strauss’s Salome. As well as singing in recital, Susan continues her interpretations of Brünnhilde and other dramatic soprano roles in all corners of the world.

ANNA DEVIN has a flourishing career in opera and concert throughout Europe and the USA, including Covent Garden, the BBC Proms and Carnegie Hall. She is particularly renowned for her portrayals of Handel roles, which she is invited to perform at many baroque and Handel festivals. Her recent début at La Scala continues the list of major opera houses and festivals where Anna performs in her extensive soprano repertoire. She regards Susanna as her staple diet, but she has earned great acclaim for her Gretel, Governess and Countess Adele. She loves to sing in Ireland where she was born and has now made her début at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

CHRISTOPHER GILLETT has a major presence in many major opera house and festival programmes as well as online in his witty blogs. Chris has also written two opera-related books, Who’s my Bottom and Scraping the Bottom. His idiosyncratic writing comes from a wealth of experience on the international stage, where he has earned an extraordinary dramatic and comic reputation, reflected on the page. Chris’s recordings embrace much of Monteverdi’s and Britten’s repertoire, including the title role of Albert Herring for Naxos. Alongside his wife, Lucy Schaufer, he is co-creator of Wild Plum Arts, a foundation that supports living composers.

JOHN GRAHAM-HALL is frequently praised as Aschenbach in Death in Venice, a role that gained him the 2012 Franco Abbiati prize for best male singer from the Italian National Association of Music Critics. Johnny is often connected with Benjamin Britten’s music, having launched his prodigious career with the title role in Albert Herring at Glyndebourne Festival. He has a burgeoning international career as a Spieltenor, displaying his infinite skills as a singing actor. Much of his work is recorded and covers his wide-ranging repertoire, from Mozart to Taverner. Wit, musicality and eloquence, all of which are seen in Johnny’s work, have recently found a new channel in his hilarious book, My Wife the Diva.

EIDDWEN HARRHY is as revered in opera as she is in oratorio and recital. She has sung with many of the great conductors in leading opera houses around the world, in Promenade concerts in London, and in recordings with major labels, such as EMI, Deutsche Grammaphon, Erato, Virgin Classics and extensively for the BBC. Her beauty of tone led her towards the lyric soprano roles of Pamina, the Countess, Madama Butterfly and Katya, however she was also one of Britain’s leading Handel singers, having performed in more than 20 of his operas. Eiddwen is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and now her masterclasses, teaching and examining have taken her to the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and the Royal Academy as well as many other establishments in Europe and the USA. She is a regular and highly esteemed guest vocal coach at Indiana University.

RICHARD HILL has achieved as significantly as a countertenor as he has as a teacher. Beginning his career in the Renaissance group, Landini Consort, Richard became a member of York Minster choir alongside teaching at schools in the North of England. He regularly sent choral scholars through the Oxbridge system, giving him an inimitable outlook on the development of the young male voice and in particular church music. There are many recordings of the Landini Consort, as well as broadcasts of solo and choral works for the BBC from his appearances with English cathedral choirs.

SIR SIMON KEENLYSIDE received the Richard Tauber, Walther Grüner and Elly Ameling awards early in his career, followed by his Laurence Olivier and many other gramophone awards, but they were only portents of a career adorned by his knighthood in June 2018. Simon is known for his physical and versatile acting, as well as his lyrical and subtle singing. Seen on stage across the world, he sings, with equal power, roles by Mozart and Verdi, but his love of recital repertoire, in particular Lieder, is where his heart lies, as heard in his complete Schubert recordings with Malcolm Martineau. Simon has also recorded most of the operatic repertoire for baritone, English songs, and most recently a solo album, Something’s Gotta Give.

DAME FELICITY LOTT has had a hugely distinguished career as a recitalist and recording artist, and in opera, she is particularly associated with Strauss roles, as well as Mozart and Britten. Dame Felicity’s humour and musical finesse have also been fused with her love of operetta. She has been rewarded with many honorary doctorates, as well as the titles Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1990, Chevalier dans la Legion d’Honneur in 2001, Bayerische Kammersängerin, and in 2010 she was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. Dame Felicity’s abundant discs include Les Illuminations, Chausson, Poulenc, Fauré and Hahn chansons, Wolf, Schubert, Strauss and Schumann Lieder, a considerable collection of Mozart’s works, as well as a disc that demonstrates her gracious charm and wit: Call Me Flott.

ROSA MANNION has had a magnificent career, singing leading roles in opera houses and festivals of the UK and Europe. Her many recordings include Pamina and Dorinda with conductor William Christie for Erato, Dorabella with John Eliot Gardiner for Deutsche Grammophon and Nedda with David Parry for Chandos. Although particularly known for her Handel and Mozart roles, she sang a wide repertoire during her career, including Violetta in La traviata and all three of the leading female roles in The Tales of Hoffmann (Olympia, Antonia, and Giulietta). Rosa had a voice of unique quality enhanced by her effortless musicality, but her singing career was cut short by illness in 1998. With her boundless generosity of spirit and deep knowledge of the voice, she is a treasured teacher of singing at the Royal College of Music.

MORAG McLAREN’s   operatic and theatrical gifts unite with her diversity and flexibility to make her a powerful performer. Having sung Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera in the West End and A Little Night Music with the Royal National Theatre, she has created one-woman shows, at once comic and poignant. She is a member of Impropera and, like a chameleon, can change character seamlessly and with meticulous (and often hilarious) detail. She received an MA for her research into performance, giving her a unique view of singing. Along with humour, a fierce intelligence and a creatively generous mind, she has become, in her words, a facilitator and, in mine, an authentic director. Morag’s recordings include A Little Night Music with the Royal National Theatre and solo albums, which support her fundamental trait: I never do anything twice.

PAUL NILON is a lyric tenor with enormous agility, both in technique and repertoire. He is equally at home on the concert platform and the operatic stage. Yorkshire-born, he calls Opera North home, though he has sung regularly at English National Opera and major opera houses and festivals in Europe, interpreting many title roles such as Idomeneo, Tito and. He is a frequent recording artist having recorded more than 20 CDs, mostly with David Parry for Opera Rara, as well as many BBC broadcasts. Paul is an exceptional voice teacher and is a member of the vocal department at the Royal Northern College of Music.

JOAN RODGERS has inevitably gained a reputation as singer of linguistic intelligence and as an exceptional interpreter of song repertoire. She has a degree in Russian, and she won the Kathleen Ferrier competition in 1981. She has incorporated her expressive skills in the embodiment of operatic roles, which earned her CBE in 2001, the Royal Philharmonic Society award as Singer of the Year for 1997, an Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance of The Governess in the Royal Opera’s production of The Turn of the Screw and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Liverpool University. Joan’s extensive discography includes recordings of Russian song, Mozart trilogy with Barenboim, Chansons and Lieder, as well as several discs of opera and oratorio repertoire. These outstanding achievements give foundation for her teaching and master-classes.

PETER ROSE has an outstanding international career, singing at major opera houses the world overHis career has brought him success in concert as well as opera, having sung with the Vienna, New York and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras and Cleveland, London and Chicago Symphony orchestras. His main roles are by Strauss, Wagner, Britten, Verdi, Puccini and Mozart, and many of his performances have been recorded for posterity. Peter’s present career takes him to Munich, Bayreuth, Carnegie Hall and other prestigious places, where he will often be seen playing Baron Ochs.

NICKY SPENCE began his career as a popular artist and is now hailed as a true singing actor. Nicky’s main roles are in the Mozart, Rossini, Britten and Wagner repertoire, though his vocal prowess and musicality are such that he is gathering an astonishing reputation in recital with Malcolm Martineau. A winner of several awards, including Platinum discs for recordings, his solo album, My First Love, is a top-selling disc. His Complete Songs of Strauss with Roger Vignoles is being highly acclaimed as a tour de force. Nicky is also an ambassador for Musician’s Benevolent Fund.

KEEL WATSON is known for his comic timing, character portrayals and rich, resonant tones. He is as comfortable singing Mozart as he is Wagner and is a great interpreter of both Porgy and Méphistophélès. Keel has a wide-ranging concert repertoire and is sought after for many contemporary music works. His recording and film credits include the Second Armed Man in Kenneth Branagh’s film of The Magic Flute and the White House Cantata (with Kent Nagano) for Deutsche Grammophon.

LOUISE WINTER began her career at Glyndebourne Festival where she won the coveted Christie Award. Known for her intuitively beautiful stage-craft and singing, Louise performs internationally in concert and in opera, from Baroque to new works. She brings great intensity to her roles, such as Dido, and has been sought after by conductors such as Simon Rattle, Andrew Davies and Mark Elder. Louise’s recordings include L’enfant et les sortilèges and albums of songs by Shostakovich, Frank Bridge and Arthur Sullivan. Louise teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music alongside performing at the Royal Opera and other prestigious houses and festivals.

C O N T E N T S

Biographies - La favorite, Donizetti       

Prologue - Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs, Nyman  

Act One   ‘Shoving us from the jetty’

Scene One - Family background   The Captain’s Daughter, Cui     

Scene Two - School days              The Wandering Scholar, Holst     

Scene Three - Defining moment    Sonntag aus Licht, Stockhausen        

Scene Four - Singing study            Les arts florissants, Charpentier  

Scene Five - Preparing                  Bang!, Rutter 

Act Two  ‘Carry on – it’s going very well’

Scene One - The unfolding             The Rake’s Progress, Stravinsky         

Scene Two - Learning the score      La Conquista, Ferrero

Scene Three - Warming up             La Sonnambula, Bellini                         

Scene Four - The feeling of singing  La Rondine, Puccini    

Act Three  ‘No good playing Mime as if you’re Brad Pitt’

Scene One - Character, text, drama   The Jewels of the Madonna, Wolf-Ferrari  

Scene Two -  Body work                   The Nose, Shostakovich     

Scene Three - The essence                The Lighthouse, Maxwell Davies      

Scene Four - Problems                       Trouble in Tahiti, Bernstein      

Scene Five - Humour                         Comedy on the Bridge, Martinů         

Intermission -  by Thomas Allen    Paradise Lost, Penderecki     

Act Four ‘Goodies and Baddies’

Scene One - People around you         The Dangerous Liaisons, Susa     

Scene Two - Composers                    From Morning to Midnight, Sawer      

Scene Three - Conductors                 Der Corregidor, Wolf     

Scene Four - Directors                      Der Schauspieldirektor, Mozart      

Scene Five - Designers                      Powder her Face, Adès      

Scene Six - Agents                            Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Bizet        

Scene Seven - Reviewing reviewers    War and Peace, Prokofiev     

Act Five  ‘Bowls of sushi on a conveyor belt’

Scene One - Changing paths              The New Moon, Romberg       

Scene Two - Legacy                          Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Monteverdi     

Scene Three - Family                        The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Nyman      

Scene Four - Life beyond the job         Il rè pastore, Mozart     

Scene Five - The future                      The Medium, Menotti      

Scene Six - Advice                             Le donne curiose, Wolf-Ferrari      

Epilogue - Hänsel und Gretel, Humperdinck 

Product Format
Paperback
Dimensions
258 x 172
Publication Date
22 Nov 2018
Number of Pages
272
ISBN
9781910151709
Edition
1
Product Format
Hardback
Dimensions
258 x 172
Publication Date
30 Nov 2018
Number of Pages
272
ISBN
9781910151716
Edition
1
Product Format
PDF
Dimensions
258 x 172
Publication Date
25 Oct 2018
Number of Pages
272
ISBN
9781910151563
Edition
1