Today was the end of an era, and the beginning of a new Chapter. I can now proudly say that I have completed my Masters degree in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music with Distinction!
Time to pour the champagne and celebrate.
I must have collected a few letters after my name by now. I would be very interested to find out what they are and quite how many...
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through my years as a student. Thank you to all of my friends, family, and sponsors - without you I would never have made it.
See you at the next adventure.
Join us for a wonderful evening of Opera arias with Jennifer Coleman, and allow her to dazzle you with her beautiful voice..
Enjoy a three course set menu and entertainment all night for the cracking price of £25 per head, to view the set menu CLICK HERE.
For bookings please contact us at the restaurant and please note a £5 per head redeemable deposit will be required to secure your booking for this event.
The Fighting Cocks Inn, Red Lees Road, Cliviger, Lancashire BB10 4RQ
Last night, on Sunday 25th June, I sang for an open air charity event to raise money for the Grenfell Tower victims. It was organised by the community around the tower and in an open air space that directly faced the blacked out and charred remains of the tower. This was such an emotional performance for me - especially knowing that so many people had died inside of that building.
The crowd loved it - many of them had never heard an opera singer live before. And when I sang "You'll Never Walk alone" everyone was singing along with me. It was a very eclectic event, before me was a Blues band, and after me a reggae band. There had also been steel drumming and community gospel choirs.
It was a performance like no other I had ever experienced before and like none I will probably ever experience again.
"When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone"
I was privileged to to be a Britten-Pears Young Artist this June. And wanted to write a blog about my experience now that I have returned from the singing Britten Course.
If you don't know who Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) is - here is his wikipedia page. In a single sentence; he was (and still is) one of the most influential British composers for vocal music and opera of the twentieth century.
He was mostly based in Aldeburgh, Suffolk where the course took place. It was fascinating to surround myself with many of the sights and sounds that he would have been inspired by. It really helped me to understand his song writing better.
We were also privileged to watch the opera production of A Midsummer Night's Dream while we were there. It is so interesting to compare the way he wrote for piano and voice with the way he wrote for opera.
The repertoire I was working on and performed in the masterclasses with my wonderful pianist Keval Shah, was:
On this Island (Op. 11)
I.Let the florid music praise!
II. Now the leaves are falling fast
V. As it is, plenty
Britten Folk Song Arrangements
Ca' the yowes
O can ye sew cushions
She's like the Swallow
The Last Rose of Summer
The Salley Gardens
Who are these Children? (Op. 84)
II. "A Laddie's Sang"
IV. "Black Day"
XII. "The Auld Aik"
I learned a great deal about music and artistry while I was on the course. I think the main thing I will take away is that it is important to be very specific when singing a song. You have to have an idea for every word and syllable that you sing. That is what will make the text come alive and really mean something.
I'm not finished with singing music by Britten (even if the course has now ended). I will be performing some of the songs that I worked on during my time in Santander, Spain. And in August I will be singing 2nd Niece in Britten's Peter Grimes for Dartington.
As part of my job as a professional singer I am always travelling for work and taking photos of the places that I go and wonderful things that I experience. I then post these on social media so that my friends can follow my adventures.
But... my Mum doesn't do Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, so she never sees my posts and photos like this one from when I performed at the V&A Museum.
I have decided that I want to send some of my experiences, as personalised photo postcards to my Mum. I did a bit of research on the internet about which was the best mobile app to use on my phone. I have come up with my top 2 UK Postcard apps to use. I'm mostly writing this blog for my other musician friends as I hope that they can spread some love via good ol' snail mail to their Mums and Dads also. (I noticed that all the other blogs on this topic were for people posting to the USA.) Plus I'm secretly hoping that after writing this, people will post things to me too.
There were loads of apps to choose from; some had bad reviews so I discounted them, others didn't have all the features I wanted, others I didn't like the quality of the final thing, and most of the good ones cost as much as £2.99 per postcard. I was looking for the best quality for the best value and I have decided on my top selections.
The BEST app: MyPostcard
App: Free to download
Cost per postcard sent to UK address: $1.99 (when I ordered via paypal it cost £1.60)
This is great because you can customise up to 6 shots on one postcard. You can also send online via their website. The paper and printing quality is excellent and it is literally half the price of their rivals at touchnote.
PLUS: They are currently doing a deal where if you recommend a friend then you both get £3 to spend in credit. This will get you nearly 2 postcards free! If you are interested in trying it out for free, use my friends-code: EMXQTA
You can also design postcards from your computer via their website: https://www.mypostcard.com/en/
The Cheapest app: Swapshots (by Royal Mail)
App: Free to download
Cost per postcard sent to UK address: 89p
The cards aren't quite so fancy and look more like a polaroid photo, but they are really cute and cheap.
I hope you send lots of postcards to each other!
Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion is certainly his greatest dramatic masterpiece. Especially magnificent are the opening and closing choruses – the first immediately establishes a scene of power and drama and the final chorus is one of the composer’s most glorious pieces, richly scored and most beautifully melodious. Between these two great choruses there is a continuously strong dramatic musical sequence, only changed in mood by some famous chorales and a selection of some of the finest of Bach’s arias – especially the intensely memorable alto aria ‘It is fulfilled’. Every performance of Bach’s St. John Passion provides a unique musical experience and is sure to be a special occasion at Eton on March 18th.
This performance will be sung in English using Novello's edition by Neil Jenkins
I have to confess that the past few weeks have been a challenge. Combining my full time Masters Degree, a cabaret Recital, a lieder Recital, a couple of auditions, rehearsals every weekend for a Production of Mozart's the Magic Flute which we successfully performed last weekend (28th and 29th January), and a huge 20 minute assessed opera scene as The Vixen in the Cunning Little Vixen only 5 days later (3rd February) - and not forgetting a couple of Funerals (including one which I organised with a String Quartet and Mezzo).
BUT I DID IT! I have not had a day off, and I have had to really look after my voice and be smart about balancing my workload. Sometimes I felt very overwhelmed with it all - but when you chunk it down and take it day by day, anything is achievable. I am so proud of myself for accomplishing all this.
The scene last night was lots of fun - how can you not have fun when pretending to be a Fox! It was really interesting playing with the physicality of being a fox - sharp sudden movements, no thumbs because of having paws instead, imagining super sharp hearing and intense sense of smell. All of these things added to the character.
I was high energy and very playful. I have posted some photos of the scene here for you to view. It's the love scene when she meets the Fox and they awkwardly fall in love - I get to sing a fun aria about living with humans and how horrid they were to me. In this production I also got to eat some KFC on stage!
One day I would love to sing the full role.
Hopefully I will have a couple of photos from the dress rehearsal of Magic Flute soon.
Until then, I am off to prepare for a Concert tonight in Reading, Berkshire, an audition tomorrow, and a recital on Monday in Buckinghamshire with my clarinettist Piotr Dec.
See you soon! x
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.