The Flying Scotsman

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

Hola! Bogotá!

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!

Don’t push it!!!

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!!!

Guardian article on Meistersinger

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:- Enjoy!

Getting it wrong

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

Acquired Instinct

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

The Fear

We’ve all been there. Cold sweats. Pounding pulse. Butterflies. Clammy palms. Dry mouth. Sticky throat. And then the orchestra starts playing a completely different opera from the one you were expecting. Thankfully, most of us wake up at that point and thank our lucky stars that it was all just a horrible performance anxiety nightmare. … More The Fear

Blowing smoke

I’m often asked, “Isn’t smoking bad for your voice?”, and I always reply, “I don’t smoke.” This can often provoke the most amusing expressions of confusion and befuddlement, particularly as I usually happen to be puffing away merrily when the the topic comes up. People, on the whole, don’t wish to be offensive and belabour … More Blowing smoke