Thursday, 9 February 2012


I was lucky enough to attend two masterclasses recently. The first was the Terence McNally play starring Tyne Daly as Maria Callas [link] (that's like two legends for the price of one !!). It is a very enjoyable production, and even if you are not an opera fan, the interaction between a flawed but charismatic master and her students is always a fascinating one. I saw the play on a Monday night when you would expect an audience to be quite subdued but Daly received a standing ovation - so you can imagine how impressive her performance is. The second masterclass was a real one - mezzo soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter and students from the Guildhall School of music. She is quite different to Callas -in fact in her trainers & casual clothing she doesn't really correspond to the idea of an opera diva at all ! Funny & inspiring - it was a real privilege to watch her. I noticed that Von Otter is a much more physical singer than the the young students - I wonder if that is something that a singer acquires with confidence & experience or is it an actual 'approach' to singing ? Obviously, in a masterclass the singer can't really talk much about technique - the focus seems to be on the interpretation of an aria - but I was curious to ask about this as I'm sure the physicality of a singer completely changes the sound. Anyway, there is one thing of which I'm sure - standing up & singing in front of your peer group &  being critiqued must be completely terrifying !! lots of love tt