We’ve recently has the pleasure and privilege of producing three short films featuring young opera makers and their mentors as they collaborate to learn, develop and perform at this world class facility on the Suffolk coast.
Starting in September we witnessed some remarkable learning when 12 soprano and mezzo soprano singers and various accompanists undertook a week long masterclass with Angelika Kirchschlager who is internationally recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of Richard Strauss and Mozart. Pianist Malcolm Martineau is recognised as one of the leading accompanists of his generation having worked with many of the world’s greatest singers.
It was our first close up experience of opera and a enlightening one it turned out to be. As Peter observed, “When you have a clear powerful soprano voice and a fabulous piano both creating concert level sound a few feet from you … that’s pretty close to rock and roll!” With his history, he should know.
Every inch the “rock-chick” with her Titian hair and leather jacket Angelika Kirchschlager set the perfect tone for participants to explore their approach to Strauss and to experiment to find their own voice in confidently interpreting the music.
This was the first of three events that we filmed in 2017. All are sponsored by enoa (European Network of Opera Academies) through their Young Opera Makers programme. With the backing of the European Commission’s Culture Programme the Creative Europe programme, enoa has been working to train emerging artists and promote their mobility, while encouraging the creation and performance of new operas all over Europe.
Masterclass participants travel from all over the continent to be at Snape. In the film, French soprano Sarah Théry describes the value of experience in both raising skills and confidence and in opening doors around the European network.
Totally defying the cliche image of the opera diva, Angelika Kirchschlager inspired and uplifted the performers with her enthusiasm, energy and repertoire of teaching techniques which included “catching students doing it right” and reinforcing what they were doing.
Her co-mentor on the masterclass, Malcolm Martineau also setting very high standards and coached the musicians (both singers and accompanists) to achieve them whilst exuding sheer joy in what he and they were doing together.
Full credit has to go to the team at Snape Maltings whose enthusiasm and efficiency makes the events run both smoothly and in such a way that participants derive amazing benfits from the experience.
We really are so lucky to get to work with such inspiring and creative people.