I was a Finzi Trust Awardee in 2009 and my new direction was to make a fach wechsel from mezzo soprano to soprano in Berlin studying with Liane Keegan, principal dramatic contralto at the Deustche Oper. My new direction was motivated initially by mentorship I received as a member of the developing artist program OperaWorks at ENO.
A voice type change is a big technical challenge and requires much physical discipline to strip away old muscle memory and replace this with a new technique and a new tonal concept of how one should sound. Equally challenging is that the characters one potrays as a lyrico spinto soprano are psychologically quite different in temperament to the characters I had been used to playing as a mezzo.
Big transitions require great support and I really could not have made this transition without the support of the Finzi Trust. Berlin as a city that is still regenerating and repairing itself was the perfect location for me to have the freedom to work on changing my technique and repertoire.
Last year I was working as a professional singer again based in London (performing for the Onassis Foundation, Opera Novella, LiveArtsShow, aOperaUpClose and ROH) and felt the joy that comes from being able to express myself in the right voice type with the right repertoire. In essence, that is what the Finzi Trust Award did, it supported me to find my true voice.
Happily, the journey does not end there;
I have just moved back to Australia for a stint and coached with the Head of Music for Opera Australia last Monday, Tony Legge – former Head of Music at ENO and author of "The Art of Auditioning". He agrees I am a spinto soprano and is happy to coach me through roles like Leonora in Fidelio – in fact we worked on Lenora’s aria “Abscheulicher” which I began learning while in Berlin on my Finzi Trust Scholarship.
I am hopeful that I will get a chance to contribute to the Australian opera scene in some of the bigger soprano roles that I have started to learn and perform in the UK and Berlin. After being overseas for almost the last decade I am excited about contributing some of my knowledge to my home country and also loving being closer to my family. My experiences in Europe are firmly in my heart and inspire my dreams to sing the roles I have worked so hard to excel at, both here in the country of my birth and back in Europe.
My experience in Berlin and my voice type change was recorded in my blog: aussiesingerinberlin.wordpress.com