Beer is good. It’s particularly good after a long, hard day at the office. It enters another realm of significance entirely when you are attempting to sing a contemporary opera for the first time. Today is the dress rehearsal of Ryan Wigglesworth’s first opera, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Ryan, with whom I … More Exit, in pursuit of beer.
Scrolling through Twitter this morning, I came across a post which suggested that opera singers feign a preference for popular music over classical music in order to appear cool. This immediately caught my interest, not least because the post was in response to a newspaper interview in which a good friend of mine expressed his … More What are you listening to?
Having spent my summer singing all three Wotans and Kurwenal, I’ve finally plucked up the courage to have a stab at The Flying Dutchman, or Der fliegende Holländer, as it’s known in German. I say “finally” because it is a role I have studiously avoided for a long time. With good reason. Both Norman Bailey … More The Flying Scotsman
Bad nights. We’ve all had them. I’ve certainly had my share over the last 25 years. For as long as I’ve been singing, I’ve dreamed of one day singing Wotan at Bayreuth, and, last Tuesday, in Das Rheingold, I finally got my chance. And I sucked. Big time. Why? I simply couldn’t breathe properly. When … More Suck it up.
The world is reeling today from the powerful haymaker that is the death of Muhammad Ali. You can’t open a newspaper without reading eulogies to this remarkable man, a legend in his own lifetime, and an inspiration to generations. Growing up in Glasgow in the late seventies and early eighties, you simply couldn’t escape boxing. … More The Greatest
Gud singin’ needs support, placement, technique and passion. Now, I might be an ever so ‘umble cabbie, but I reckons tha’s xaclee wots needed to run a Opera comp’ny. Az I sit, like ev’ry ovvur internet “expert”, wieldin’ the anoneemus power ov me finger and me mouse, I wunduh wot it’d be like if I … More Taking it up the octave
Previously on Walhall of a Mess :- Walhall of a Mess Walhall of a Mess – Part Dieu So I went for a walk. Not your average Sunday afternoon stroll, mind you, but a proper walk. Real Forrest Gump-style stuff. Not exactly sure how long I’ve been gone, but I reckon it must be … More Walhall of a Mess – Sieg3d, The Final Insult
Anyone who knows me, knows the high esteem in which I hold English National Opera. It’s home. It’s where I learned my craft. It’s the place where I have enjoyed some of the proudest moments of my professional career. A year on the Jerwood Young Singers Programme, followed by three years as a full company … More A few thoughts on ENO
As I sit here idling away a free afternoon, sipping on a tasty local artisan ale in a deserted Colombian bar, Chumbawumba playing on the jukebox, the swell of the city ebbing and flowing around me, two intrepid little ladies have just dived headlong into the middle of heavy traffic and started waving their arms … More Hola! Bogotá!
If you asked people to close their eyes and try to picture a typical opera house in their head, I suspect that many would immediately conjure up an image of the Vienna Staatsoper, so iconic is this wonderful old building. Opened in 1869, and restored after severe damage to the auditorium and backstage areas during … More Oh, Vienna…
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve dreamt of singing at Bayreuth. To us Wagneraks (Wagner-anoraks) this place is, well, it’s Valhalla, the home of our vocal gods, where the spirits of our singing heroes and heroines, past and present, are forever celebrated. If popular wisdom is to be believed, then heading to a place … More Wagnerak Valhalla
This morning, as I do most mornings, I was checking out my Twitter feed as I munched on my cornflakes. It was the usual mixture of seemingly innocuous rubbish that you tend to find on social media these days – cute animals, second-hand advertising, and endless self-promotion. The competitive mourning, the “ooh, look what I’m … More The Sickness of Social Media