This was the fourth year that the School has been running and, to date, the longest and most intensive program. Six days a week for four weeks, sometimes 12 hour days, it was a true Operatic Boot Camp. Top coaches and singers from all over the world with pedigrees from the likes of Covent Garden, La Scala and The NY Metropolitan Opera came together to instruct and inform, including John Fisher, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Robert Lloyd, Richard Hetherington, Giovanni Reggioli, Phillip Mayers, Stuart Maunder, Norma Marschke and of course Lisa Gasteen. As well as one on one coaching, we prepared scenes for the Gala Concert and Liederabend, participated in public masterclasses, and had lectures, Alexander Technique sessions, auditions for industry representatives and Italian (and Russian) language lessons.
It was such a luxury to have so many encouraging experts (“They’re nice, but not necessarily kind”, I heard someone comment, a good balance when teaching at that level I think) but also the luxury of having such a warm, supportive and collegial group with whom to study and learn – often not the case in a competitive industry. I met so many gorgeous and talented characters this month (both singers and repetiteurs) in amongst the Euco-steamers, neck vibrators and youtube clips of Anna Russell, with whom I am very grateful to have made a connection, and we had a lot of fun both onstage and off.
(On the left here are Lisa and I, with "Dave" and her Brünnhilde spear from the 2004 Adelaide Ring Cycle: "Nobody ever asked how Wotan lost his eye!" she says, waiving the spear around wildly. She is such a hoot.)
I want to thank the organisers of the School, most especially Dominique Fegan, who is an absolute powerhouse, and the generous sponsors of my scholarship to the School, Dr & Dr Ritchie, without whom I most definitely would not have been able to afford to attend. And to all my fellow LGNOS participants, whom I miss already, “Bravi tutti!”