News & Views

Member Spotlight: Matthew Mannion - Bass-Baritone

Audition OracleTue 21 May 2024 @ 10:38

Thrilled to introduce Irish bass-baritone Matthew Mannion for this week's member spotlight.

 Matthew Mannion - Bass-Baritone

1. How do you describe yourself as an artist?

Young, dynamic and adventurous.

 

2. What other skills or passions do you have that help shape you as an artist?

I really love cooking and experimenting with flavours! I also love reading fantasy as it keeps my imagination sharp and expansive which I need for my singing.

 

3. What has been the most memorable and rewarding experience you have had an artist?

It was actually one in the audience, I saw La bohème after a breakup and cried for the entire thing and came out feeling so much lighter. It was realising art can help and touch people which led me to fall in love with performing on a deeper level.

 

4. What role, company or performing situation would be a dream come true for you as an artist?

I would absolutely love to perform Don Basilio (Barbiere) and Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) as they are such interesting and chaotic characters with so much scope for play. It’s my dream to perform these roles in the Wien Staatsoper.

 

5. What do you like most about being a creative artist?

I love the sense of play and exploration throughout the rehearsal and learning process and then performing and sharing that sense of joy with the audience.

 

6. If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell myself to look for belief intrinsically rather than looking to be fed by others' belief in me. To take up space unabashedly and believe in myself and what I have to say as an artist.

 

7. Three words that are the pillars you shape your career by:

Courage, Joy, Determination

 

8. Where can our followers watch you perform next?

I’m currently touring in La traviata with Irish National Opera and you can see us now in Dublin and Cork!
https://www.irishnationalopera.ie/whats-on/current-upcoming/la-traviata
I am also performing as the bass soloist in CPE Bach’s Magnificat with the Dublin City Choral Union on June 9th (https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/dccu-present-cpe-bach-magnificat-mozart-te-deum-tickets-877346365597) and premiering a role in the new opera “The legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill” in the Ballaghaderreen Arts Festival in August.


Find out more about Matthew by visiting his Audition Oracle profile https://auditionoracle.com/singer/matthew_mannion or his website at matthewmannion.com.

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Member Spotlight: Ben Knight - Bass-Baritone

Audition OracleTue 14 May 2024 @ 12:45

We are delighted that British bass-baritone Ben Knight has joined us for this weeks Member Spotlight. 

Ben Knight: Bass-Baritone

 

1. How do you describe yourself as an artist?

A multi-passionate creative!
 

2. What other skills or passions do you have that help shape you as an artist?

I am passionate about connecting to a community and just recently joined a running club in Margate, Kent. It has been utterly brilliant to meet fellow creatives who go to the club and I feel completely inspired by hearing their stories. Being a multi-passionate creative, I am enjoying the variety in my work, whether this is singing, teaching, workshop leading or coaching-mentoring. I need that variety as it is so deeply connected to all my passions.
 

3. What has been the most memorable and rewarding experience you have had as an artist?

I am part of the Create and Sing team at the Royal Opera House and I am totally filled with joy when I am part of the online culmination days ROH offer schools. It is a chance for schools across the UK who have been using the online resources in their classrooms to join online together and share their work. It blows my mind to experience so many young people, from all parts of the country, from different walks of life coming together and sharing their creations that have been connected to the music and stories of operas! It is this work that really sets my soul on fire!
 

4. What role, company or performing situation would be a dream come true for you as artist? 

My dream role would not actually be performing... My coaching and mentoring work with creatives has completely changed my prospective of how we as artists operate in the industry. So my dream role would be working with all the companies that offer Young Artist programmes across the world and working one to one with them to ensure they are able to find balance in their lives and bring their goals and reality closer together!
 

5. What do you like most about being a creative artist?

As I mentioned, I love the variety in my work. What also brings me joy as a creative artist is collaborating with artists and finding convergence within our skills to share something that moves audiences. The flexibility of being a creative can have its challenges but also brings great adventure! I get to travel with brilliant colleagues to places I thought I would never visit to share work that is so close to me.
 

6. If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

To not doubt your abilities... I am dyslexic and because of my way of learning being different from others, I experienced a dip in confidence and imposter syndrome at music college which meant that I only applied for one competition or opportunity. That one competition I applied for resulted in a prize and a boost of confidence that I needed, I just would have advised myself to have done that sooner.
 

7. Three words that are the pillars you shape your career by:

Community, Multi-passionate, Resourceful
 

8. Support Ben Knight and our Audition Oracle community by attending one of his performances:

Ben will next be appearing in English Touring Opera's 'Under the Little Red Moon' at the Royal Opera House on the 26th of May 2024- tickets are available here https://englishtouringopera.org.uk/productions/under-the-little-red-moon#dates-and-times
 
You can find out more about Ben by visiting his website www.benknight.org.

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Member Spotlight: Contralto Gráinne Gillis

Audition OracleTue 7 May 2024 @ 15:49

This weeks Member Spotlight falls on Irish contralto Gráinne Gillis

 
Gráinne Gillis, Contralto

1. How do you describe yourself as an artist?

A multi-hyphenate
 

2. What other skills or passions do you have that help shape you as an artist?

Actor, writer, yoga, politics, long morning walks, Transcendental Meditation, Kirtan, movies, Shakespeare, cabaret
 

3. What has been the most memorable and rewarding experience you have had as an artist?

Toss up between singing Wagner with the late Keel Watson and putting on my own shows - one show specifically, The Contralto Cabaret. It was devised with the late Su Cullen, who was in the chorus at ENO around the same time as Keel, and thinking of it allows me to remember both Keel and Su and how the investment in chorus members extends beyond the ENO...
 

4. What role, company or performing situation would be a dream come true for you as artist? 

Singing at the ROH - the big dream!
 

5. What do you like most about being a creative artist?

Stepping into other people's shoes, creating my own universes
 

6. If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Listen to yourself more than you listen to other people's opinions
 

7. Three words that are the pillars you shape your career by:

Kindness, Authenticity, Fun
 

8. Where can we see you perform next?

Role debut and first German contract as Klytämnestra at the Brandenburger Theater in May!

You can catch Gráinne in several productions over the coming months:

Margret in Wozzeck for Regent's Opera Orchestral Study Day: www.regentsopera.com (May 12th)
Klytämnestra in Elektrahttps://www.brandenburgertheater.de/theater/musiktheater.html (May 24th/26th and June 1st)
Schwertleite for Regent's Opera Die Walküre (Ring Cycle Feb 2025)
Wagner/Holmès - a new show by Gráinne Gillis about the Irish diaspora composer Augusta Holmès, kindly supported by Culture Ireland and the Irish Embassy Berlin as part of Zeitgeist Irland 24 - September 2024, details tba

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