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
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
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
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!!!
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
Yesterday was a good day. All was well with the world. Order reigned. Today? Not so good. A bit up and down, if I’m honest. People are pissed. Alberich is pissed because I took his Ring (and his finger). The Rhinemaidens are pissed because “their” gold has been stolen. And Fricka is pissed because… well, … More Walhall of a Mess
One of the toughest parts of performing a new role is learning the bloody thing in the first place. Note-bashing, that time-honoured tradition of parking yourself at the piano and hammering the role note-by-stubborn-note into your recalcitrant, protesting brain, is a curse familiar to all singers. And the words? Nothing for it but parrot-fashion repetition, … More Coach-building a role