I am thrilled to announce that I finally got my letter to go to Hogwarts (a.k.a The Royal Opera House)! I knew it would happen eventually if I didn’t give up faith. I will be performing as a soprano in the chorus of Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in April and May 2024. Come and watch if you can get hold of tickets and are in Laaaaaandan. Otherwise you can check your local cinemas across the world to see if you can watch a live screening, or a replay. I will be a little blob in the corner of a crowd somewhere having the best time of my life, but also pinching myself as my lifetime dreams come true!
This will be my third production of Carmen in my life. The last time I sang this opera, I played the role of Frasquita and thoroughly enjoyed all the trios and quintet that she gets to vocally skip above the other voices.
The first time I performed this opera was in 2010 - yes the same year as instagram was born. It was my third year as an undergraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and I remember having huge amounts of fun with the other cast members whilst the curtain was down and the overture was playing. Here are a couple of photos of my costumes from 14 years ago. I wonder what I will wear this time around...
I will update my blog again once rehearsals get more into motion!
Nurse Jenny is back again after 5 years since she last made an appearance in this production of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. All the performances have long been sold out. We are now coming towards the end of the run, but I can’t express how immensely I adore Bizet’s music. When I am hiding inside of the stage while it is rotating, or in the wings preparing for my next entrance, or during my quick changes backstage, I seem to always find myself dancing to this music. I just can’t help but move my body when I listen to these beautiful romantic melodies being played by the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Orchestra. It is a sublime experience every show, and I am so grateful that I get to do this as my job. I will be sad when the run of 14 shows comes to an end. Last time we had 16 performances because we also took it to Luxembourg, so that is a total of 30 performances of the same opera - I think this is my record for the most performances of the same production!
It was like one massive street party out there! I was high-fiving the crowds all the way round. What a perfect end to a perfect week in the city where dreams are made of. I am so blessed that we got to share this experience together. I will never forget crossing the finish line hand in hand and the feeling of complete awe and wonder that was so poignant and overwhelming throughout the entire experience. Thank you New York City for coming out and supporting us. These memories will stay with me forever.
I would like to say a huge thank you to my coach and mentor Tom for putting my training plan together for me and for inspiring me to keep going throughout the long training block in every possible type of weather. I couldn't have achieved any of my running triumphs without him. I never thought that I would ever run 4 marathons in my life. But I am totally addicted now and looking forward to the next one. I am quite happy that I can take a few weeks off from hard interval training sessions, but I know that I will be back and have already booked on to do marathon no. 5 in the new year!
It just goes to prove what a little bit of practice every day can achieve. Small habits don't add up, they compound.
Hello friends, many of you have asked if I could let you know when I am next performing somewhere nearby my hometown (South Bucks). So here you go… it’s a short lunchtime concert (circa 30mins of music) at the pretty church St Mary and All Saints in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, UK. I am going to be experimenting with trying out some new opera arias. It’s a very ambitious programme and a fun challenge to put together. I will be performing with the very talented Andrew Gallacher on piano.
See you there?
Saturday 23rd September at 12:30
Just turn up - no ticket necessary.
And so here it is the start of the 23/24 Season with OBV! We have opened Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito in Antwerpen, and soon we will be travelling to perform the show in both Gent and Luxembourg. The director has added some strong undercurrents of Belgium’s colonial past in the Congo with the way he has directed this production. My favourite thing that he has done is to recreate the famous painting from the French Revolution, but instead of the red flag, there is a carrier bag tied to a stick. And each of the parallels and props has a softy behind it and a nuance. Very thought provoking stuff, and the reviews are raving about it. Come see it before it goes!
Fri, Apr 21 2023, 19:00 - 20:30h, Opera Gent
Sat, Apr 22, 2023 19:00 - 20:30h, Opera Antwerpen
Here is a clip I just found from when we were rehearsing Fauré’s Les Berceaux for the concert entitled “Friede auf Erden”. We performed this concert the two nights before I had the London Marathon. Immediately after the concert in Antwerp I had to drive to Calais to get the final Eurotunnel crossing to the UK so that I could make it to the start line on time. What an adventure! I remember getting very little sleep that night.
Anyway in the video, you get a little video, you can get a taster for what it is like for use behind the scenes in the chorus rehearsal room in Opera Antwerpen. This is where the magic all begins!
Choral music by Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schönberg, Fauré, and Hugo Wolf e.a. by the chorus of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen
"It is perfectly possible to compose a peace hymn without believing in eternal peace," Arnold Schönberg reported about 'Friede auf Erden' in 1906. This spellbinding choral work, in which peace figures like a hard-won dream, is accompanied by Johannes Brahms' 'Vier Gesänge, opus 17', in which the women's choir is enveloped in a gloriously romantic sound with horns and harps. Other gems from the German romantic repertoire also make an appearance.
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen 2023/24 Season Programme Announced
Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito (Antwerp/Gent/Luxembourg, September-October 2023)
Fauré: Requiem (Gent, 30th September / Antwerp, 4th October 2023)
J Strauss: Die Fledermaus (Antwerp/Gent November 2023)
Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Antwerp, December 2023/ Gent, January 2024)
Daan Janssens: Brodeck (Antwerp/Gent, February-March 2024)
Bach/Mozart: Ombra (Antwerp/Gent, March-May 2024)
Janáček: Jenufa (Antwerp/Gent, June-July 2024)
Beethoven: Symphony 9 & Strauss: Metamorphosen (Gent, 22nd June / Antwerp, 23rd June)
At the end of last season, we performed OBV’s brand new production of Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro with direction by Tom Goosens. It is quite a non-traditional setting for the opera, in a deconstructed castle. The chorus are used throughout the opera and walk into many different scenes to add a playful charm and interest to some of the set arias. I have 4 different costumes to wear during the production, and they are all quite playful and unique. The concept for the costumes, was to go back into Opera Vlaanderen’s costume archives and dig out all the costumes from those that had previously been designed and mad for other productions, but never used. The costume department said that they really enjoyed this brief because there was so much to choose from, and they were glad that many of their previous working hours were finally going to be showcased. My costume begins with a corset and petticoat underneath. As if I have just woken up in the morning and am still undressed yet. Then we wear a soldiers/military jacket and accessories. Next we are all dressed as judges for a German courtyard scene (that was added into the opera by Mahler), and finally I wear a beautiful deep red party dress for the wedding party celebrations.
It was a very fun production to be a part of, even if the rehearsal process felt a little intense at times. You can currently watch the full show on OperaVision, it is currently live!
I am very excited to have been asked back for The York Proms 2023 after my performance there four years ago. This year’s prom will be at York Museum Gardens on Sunday 18th June at 7:30pm.
I will be duetting with Tom Smith, an incredible tenor from Opera North who has performed solo roles at Glyndebourne and at all major U.K. opera houses.
Alongside some new pieces, will be reviving the ‘Tonight’ duet that I performed at the proms in 2019 and was an audience favourite. You can watch a clip from that performance here.
The theme for this year is Musical Theatre, and I am delighted to be able to channel my inner Julie Andrews to some of my favourite songs at the event ranging from Bernstein to Rogers & Hammerstein. Of course, the finalé will be the traditional Last Night of the Proms patriotic classics that the crowd can sing and wave flags along with. Plus there will be an incredible fireworks display to close the even with a bang (pun intended).
It promises to be a wonderful evening. There are only limited tickets still remaining, so book now to avoid disappointment.
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.