For the Love of Opera – A Reflection
With The International Opera Awards fast aproaching, we thought it would be good to hear from this years director and previous bursary winner Ella Marchment. An inspirational talent, this young woman really knows how to get things done! She sugar coats nothing. This industry can be brutal but the rewards are there when you stick to the 'WHY'.
For the Love of Opera – A Reflection
Aged 16 you will be forced to sing on stage in a production of Dorset Opera’s The Pearl Fishers. This experience is going to transform your life. You are going to be emotionally overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of the form, the poignancy of the music and the thrill of the spectacle which sends excited chills through your entire body. You will want to create art in order to instil the same sense of wonder that you experienced in others and it is going to become your prerogative to make this genre as accessible and fun and moving as possible to a diverse audience. You are going to make your dreams a reality and live your bliss.
"You will sometimes resent opera because the industry is brutal and can hurt."
It is not going to be easy. The road is one less travelled by and many fall off the wagon along the line. You will consider doing this on a regular basis and wonder what life would have been like if you hadn’t fallen so head over heels impulsively and compulsively in love. You will sometimes resent opera because the industry is brutal and can hurt. You will make mistakes, you will cry rivers, and – most importantly – you will have failures. You will struggle at times to make ends meet, you will feel lonely, you will be told how to dress, how to act, be criticised from left right and centre and shut out by others. It will cause you a significant amount of worry, it will land you in scrapes, it will force you to defend yourself, and it will exhaust you. You will meet people who disrespect you, who discriminate against you because you are female, and who take advantage of you.
"You will travel the world. You will see amazing places and meet incredible people."
You will travel the world. You will see amazing places and meet incredible people. You will fall in love because of it, and you will fall out of love because of it. You will be working in an industry that simultaneously honours tradition and strives to constantly innovate and re-invent itself. This life will not be boring by any means, and you’d be surprised how many other of your peers feel equally that they are also riding the same rollercoaster as you.
The most important thing is never forget why you do what you do. Never forget that moment when you were knelt onstage singing the ‘Brahama Prayer’ with tears rolling down your face because you felt more alive than you ever had done before. Never forget the people who inspire you to keep creating – artists, friends, family, partners, lovers, and thank them whenever you can for supporting you even when times are tough. Never forget the people you create for and the experience you want them to take away from seeing you be great.
"The most important thing is never forget why you do what you do."
When you are happy smile, when you are sad cry, when you are angry tell people. Communicate and tell others what you want to do. You will be constantly surprised by the amount of people out there keen to back your madness.
Reach out and ENJOY IT. This career is about indulging in a beautiful love every day that you can embody and share with others, and don’t forget that!
If you can dream it then chase it.
Best wishes and an enormous hug,
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
As you can see from the above, I have gone on a slight tangent away from audition advice, but there is a simple crux to this matter. As a director and producer the most important thing when I meet any individual in an audition context is their display of their WHY. I want to be inspired by a singer’s energy, and I cannot emphasise how important it is to know exactly why you create and who you create for. If I can sense this then you will be infectious. I personally do not care if you are wearing a smart dress or suit, what colours you have used on your CV (as long as I can read it), or where else you have auditioned recently. I want you to want to work with us and to know why.
"As a director and producer the most important thing when I meet any individual in an audition context is their display of their WHY."
Be positive. If I told you all the failures and rejections I have had along the way then we would need a trilogy of entries. In moments when you feel disillusioned with the industry, or someone has made you feel as small as a mouse remember why you chose opera….
It’s the beginning of a a good exercise in staying positive even when the skies look gloomy.
What to see more of Ella Marchment's work? Her next projects include...
– Rethinking Grand Opera (Aarhus, Denmark, International Festival of Living Theatre, May 2017)
– Il Letto (Buxton International Festival, and Copenhagen Opera Festival, July/August 2017)
– The Marriage of Figaro, (Longhope Opera, July 2017)
– L’Occasione Fa Il Ladro (On tour in Scotland, England and Italy, August 2017)
– We’ll Meet Again, (Teatro Tuoro del Lago, August 2017)
– A MInd’s Lively (Grange Park Festival, September 2017)
Mad King Suibhne, Bury Court Opera 2017