SoundWave Opera Studio in partnership with Rosehill and BlueJam Arts offers local people from across Cumbria the chance to discover and explore their vocal talent. A broad mix of people regularly meet on Tuesday evenings in either Penrith or Workington, some have never really sung much before, but had an inkling that they had a voice to explore. Some sing regularly in a wide variety of other vocal groups from jazz to folk, to pop, to rock and wanted the unique chance to explore classical singing. Some are already professional musicians, singers and actors in their own right looking to add a new string to their bow. Others have already had classical vocal tuition but no outlet for their skills. So the Opera Studio’s mission is go boldly where no other Cumbrian project has dared to tread. It aims to develop and nurture the classical vocal talent and potential of anyonewho wants to give it a whirl and give equal opportunities to everyone for performance and training. And it wants to offer long term training and performance opportunities alongside pathways to progress further by building relationships and opportunities with visiting professional singers and coaches.
Developing a classical voice is not something that can be done over night. The Opera Studio is over a year old and whilst it attract new members all the time, many have been with the group from the start and are committed to the long haul. Classical singing and opera is definitely a case of the more you find out, the more you realise you don’t know! But it’s an exciting journey and it’s one that each individual embarks on for themselves and with the support of the whole group. All the singers empathise with everyone else and it’s a completely non-competitive environment that celebrates bravery and wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Each Opera Studio project is conceived as a short term commitment both to give new people a chance to get involved, and also a chance for people to feel OK about not being involved all of the time given that we all have busy lives. Each project begins with a period of exploration on a given style and group technical development. Mission accomplished; attentions turn to rehearsing and polishing with a professional pianist to prepare for performance.
No one has to perform in the Opera Studio – many want to perform and that’s why they’re there. But many don’t and they have other outlets and milestones along the way that are every bit as vital for them as stepping out on stage.
Coming to the Opera Studio for the first time is bound to feel a bit nerve-wracking and the group leader, Sarah Wallcook is always pleased to have a chat in advance and alay any fears. You won’t be made to sing solo in any session, but you will have the opportunity to as well. You don’t have to worry about people listening to you – most people say that the sessions are like patting your head and rubbing your tummy and that they’re so busy trying to concentrate and apply all the technical pointers that they can’t concentrate on anyone but themselves!
The new block of sessions is due to start soon, so join the e-mailing list now to be first to receive information as it comes out.
Katharine Davis, Opera Studio member
“As a group singer the Opera Studio has given me some of the skills and the confidence to have a go at solo singing. I have made some interesting new friends, had great singing experiences and have pushed the boundaries of my knowledge and performance capabilities. I didn't need to go to Glasgow, Edinburgh or London to do this but found the Opera Studio on my doorstep in West Cumbria.”
Emma Jones, Opera Studio member
“Since I joined the opera studio I have developed the confidence to do other things. I find that my voice really suits classical music and with the classical singing you have to express and act more and I bring that into my other singing. A lot of people are catching on to the fact that I like singing and I’ve been asked to sing at a few events there. I’ve been a part of ‘Let Them Eat Jam’ and I played the character Annie and needed to sing a lot in the production. Singing gives me a focus and it’s what I love to do.”
Opera Studio Hansel & Gretel 's Christmas Feast Performance...