Learning from those who have 'been there and done that' is sometimes the way of educating yourself and also the best way of gaining advice on skill, technique, improvement and the future.
The music industry is full of young artists seeking just that - it does help. Connections in these creative industries are so important for development and work.
This spring Co-Opera Co. has brought together some of the profession's most eminent practitioners to work with professional opera singers, conductors, directors and répétiteurs at any stage of their career or training in a series of seven one day workshops on the essential skills needed to be a consummate artist.
The Co-Opera Co. is an innovative opera company which has at its heart the welfare and promotion of professional opera singers and orchestral players in the early stages of their careers, post-graduates nearing the conclusion of their course, budding conductors, directors, répétiteurs and people working towards a career in the technical side of the operatic profession.
Co-Opera Co. was founded in 2008 by Soprano Kate Flowers and Lighting Designer Paul Need and developed from their realisation that the career path of young singers entering the operatic profession today is severely hampered by the absence of the kind of small prestigious companies which were prevalent in the 1970's and 80's. It was possible at that time for singers straight from college to work alongside seasoned professionals, in top class productions in major venues, learning invaluable lessons by watching and working with experienced artists - earning whilst learning. Of course there are still some opportunities for emerging artists to do this but they are rare, and with so many singers entering the market place each year, unfortunately supply is outstripping demand.
Singers helping singers and musicians helping musicians.
The Co-Opera Co. mission is to provide aspiring artists with the chance to work with and learn from some of the most highly regarded singers, conductors, directors, actors and choreographers in the business today; to provide invaluable, paid performance opportunities; and, through the association with people of influence, give them a helping hand at the beginning of their career. This is done through a comprehensive training programme - Connections - where Co-Opera Co. members work on every aspect of opera in workshops, masterclasses, private coaching and the Summer Season.
The summer season is yet to come but most importantly their workshops are about to begin.
March 3rd: Jacquie Crago: A freelance voice coach, Jacquie will teach about connection with the text and acting techniques for singers as well as finding confidence and exploring your characters.
March 4th: Antonia Couling: Media Training for Singers Journalist and consultant to the music industry, Antonia Couling, until recently Editor of The Singer, is going to help you raise and maintain your profile throughout your career by working on PR basics, how to work with the press, unlocking your web presence potential, interview techniques and all the media tools necessary for the 21st century singer.
March 31st: David Parry: One of the foremost conductors in this style of operatic repertory Maestro David Parry, in this workshop, we will explore the use of the vocal line to articulate extremes of thought and emotion in music of the Bel Canto period. We will concentrate on control of dynamics and colour, the relationship between verbal and musical text, and the use of ornamentation to heighten emotional effect.
April 1st: Stephen Barlow: This workshop will concentrate on the essentials of preparing a role for musical and production rehearsal, from the basics of accuracy, style and background to the realities of the rehearsal room where the conductor and director expect to be able to focus their work on an interpretation that is personal and precise.
April 21st: Sir Thomas Allen: In this workshop you will explore the essential skills of listening and reacting by examining the intricate psychology of scenes, and in particular recits, from the perspective not only of your own character but that of your colleagues. The scenes will be chosen well in advance to take into account the participants involved, so early booking is advised. Sir Thomas Allen, of course is one of the world's most highly regarded baritones who recently made his 40th performance at Covent Garden.
May 5th: Janis Kelly: This workshop works at freeing the voice of things that inhibit its proper performance and response and activating those functions that are weaker and under developed.
May 19th: Yvonne Howard: In this intriguing workshop you will discover how your background, your personality - "Who you are " - affects your singing, your physicality, your self-image and ultimately your repertoire and career path.
Each workshop runs from 10:30 to 5:30 at the John Macintosh Theatre, Seagrave Road, London SW6; Numbers will be limited to 12 per workshop; Fees for each 6 hour workshop - £175 ( £125 student discount); 10% discount for 4 or more workshops booked at the same time.