Made it. My five-month non-stop Wagner extravaganza is finally over, and, as I wait for the BA check-in desk to open, there’s a little time for reflection. Back to back role debuts of Kurwenal, Hans Sachs, and Walküre Wotan were always going to be a tall order, and, now that we’ve finished our final show … More Hugs all round
America is a big place. The “land of the free and the home of the brave” was conceived by the founding fathers as a place of equality, idealism and opportunity, a land of plenty, a fresh Utopia where everything would be better, fairer, and, apparently, much, much bigger. I’m always startled by the sheer bloody … More Don’t push it!!!
They say you never forget your first time, and it’s absolutely true. I was an 18-year old music student in Glasgow the first time I heard Wotan’s Farewell. Sitting in the music library, headphones on, listening to an LP (that’s a Long-Playing vinyl recording, for those who are too young to remember, or so old … More The Old Bastard
The old AyePatz bleurgh has been sporadic at best these past few months, owing to a hefty/borderline insane schedule that has seen me taking on Kurwenal, Hans Sachs, and Walküre Wotan in just five hectic months. All three roles have been new to my repertoire, and, unfortunately, whenever I’ve had the urge to set down … More Genug der Wort’!
Previously on Walhall of a Mess :- Walhall of a Mess Women. Can’t live with them, can’t smite the bejesus out of them. Normally, I’m no misogynist. I like the ladies – I’m a lover AND a fighter, after all – but I’ve been drowning in a tsunami of estrogen all day here. First … More Walhall of a Mess – Part Dieu
“What advice would you give a young singer starting out on a career?” the little boy asks the mighty Odin. He ponders for a moment. “Get out on the stage as often as possible and build experience.” Aaaaaaand… <scene>. He probably didn’t know it at the time, but with these words, John Tomlinson described for me the arc that my career … More God Almighty
Not everyone who approaches a mammoth role like Hans Sachs has the luxury of knowing several famous exponents upon whom they can rely for advice and support. Normally you’re lucky if you know one person with the first hand experience necessary to help you avoid the pitfalls that such vocal marathons contain. I’m in a … More Sachs-pertise
In the finest, self-established tradition of taking the piss out of whatever show I happen to be currently working upon, I would like to present “Beckmesser’s Bunker”. I realise that I’m several years too late jumping on the “Untergang”-substitute-subtitle bandwagon, but I hope it may raise a smile or two nonetheless. If you are even … More Beckmesser’s Bunker
After several months of silence, where any free writing time was devoted to the mammoth task of re-translating Hans Sachs into English, I finally managed to find enough free time and energy to put down a few thoughts on Meistersinger, which the Guardian newspaper kindly published. Here’s the link:- http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/feb/04/i-hope-our-artistic-leaders-will-heed-sachs-advice-the-survival-of-eno-may-depend-on-it Enjoy!
There was a moment this afternoon when my larynx nearly escaped through my forehead. Like a fighting bull suddenly unleashed from its pen, it charged around the inside of my skull, pounding and pummelling, bruising and battering, and gleefully goring the previously proud, pompous matador of my vocal technique. Minor haemorrhaging from ears and nostrils … More Getting it wrong
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an opera singer in possession of a bit of spare cash, must be in want of a motorcycle.” Jane Austen, petrolhead, 1813. I love motorbikes. Always have. However, like most seventeen-year-olds with terrified mothers, I wasn’t allowed to have one. A car was fine, even when driven with … More Zen, and the art of opera detox
If you want to succeed as an opera singer, it’s vital that you have a good relationship with your singing teacher. In that regard, I was very lucky indeed. Jeffrey Neilson Taylor was more than just a teacher to me – he was a mentor, and, in many ways, a surrogate father. He would have … More Acquired Instinct