Today is our final performance of Cardillac. This is quite a spooky murder story with music that is both highly romantic and lyrical, and at the same time dramatic and angular. The production has been set in the 1920s. The set and many of the costumes are all in Black and White. The designers have clearly been inspired by film noir. I love the coat that I get to wear, with it's fur collar and cuffs: it makes me feel like a diva! However, the makeup is a little on the scary side for my taste, but it works very well on stage in the context of the opera. It makes the chorus look unidentifiable as individuals, and more like duplicates of the same person. I find it very funny when I am in the wings of the theatre in the dark, and I can never quite tell which of my colleagues I am standing next to!
Photos: Annemie Augustijns
Nurse Jenny was in the Belgian Newspaper “De Morgen” on Thursday as part of their article on our production of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs des Perles! I love this photo - I think it shows off my depressed acting very well. Just look at the expressions on all of our faces. Anyone would think that this nurse really does hate her job!
My favourite performance with Opera Vlaanderen so far has to be this unique production of Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Set in an old people's care home, this production looks back on the lives and loves of the past. Instead of physically and literally diving for pearls, the characters in our production are diving for pearls of memories within their own lives' journeys. I play a nurse who works in the morgue. So now all of my colleagues have nicknamed me "Nurse Jenny". And one of my friends who came to watch said that I was like "an Angel of Death".
Photos: Annemie Augustijns
My second production with Opera Vlaanderen was the mind boggling, tongue twister of an opera: Satyagraha. It was a fun challenge to learn this opera (in Sanskrit) in a shorter time than the rest of my colleagues. When I first got the score, I remember thinking that this opera would be impossible to memorise. All the companies that I know have performed this in the past, have had a prompt screen or a person mouthing the words at them. But we performed the whole thing from memory without it. I was extremely proud of the work that we put into this performance. It was extremely difficult, but that is what made it so rewarding.
Photo: Rahi Rezvani
My first opera production with Opera Vlaanderen was Wagner's Epic Masterpiece Lohengrin. This opera lasted nearly 5 hours and was full of glorious music. With a chorus of 80 people, it was extremely loud to rehearse and be on the stage in the middle of it all. After this performance, I realised how loud opera can really be. I've had tints ringing in my ears ever since. This taught me an important lifelong lesson- wear earplugs to work; especially when your work is performing Wagner.
I have put a couple of links to videos from our rehearsal process and my favourite photos from the production. With such a big cast, it's hard to spot me. It's like playing Where's Wally - but instead looking for me!
Back in September I made my first performance in my new job singing with Opera Vlaanderen. It was a fun and enjoyable way to begin the season. The sun was shining on us in Sint-Jansplein for our open air concert in front of several thousand people. We sang some opera classics such as the Torreador song from Bizet's Carmen, and Brindisi from Verdi's Traviata. But we were mostly showcasing some of the excerpts from the upcoming season, from Lohengrin, to the Pearl Fishers, and Macbeth.
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.