L'année en vain chasse l'année!

A masterclass in mental resilience for all emerging singers

I wanted to share this masterclass for a few reasons.

1) This aria is a stunning piece of music and one that doesn't get sung or performed even nearly enough - Why? Well, it opens a very short one act opera/scene composed by Debussy for the Prix de Rome - L'Enfant Prodigue. It's not a commercially viable piece for most houses - but The Opera Makers are going to bring it to life in a new English version and adaptation as part of a moving new drama - Hopes and Fears - to be debuted at the Grimeborn Festival 2021.

2) The Opera Makers has a mission to help singers who are bridging from training to professional life, and what Joy says to Francesca in this masterclass is unbelievably important. So much of our journey as performers is mental. We have to free ourselves to make mistakes and we have to learn to do what feels good for us. We have to dance naked to weird music...

3) We all have to dare. This is as true of singers as it is of actors as it is of all people doing all things. If being locked down during 2020 should have taught us everything it should be that life is too short to be trapped by rules. We need to be brave enough to be ourselves and let our creativity and individuality shine through. Get naked now, and dance to weird music.

4) As someone with a background in improvised comedy, what Joy says about doing improv classes is really important for singers. Get a stage experience which isn't based in the rigour and technique and singing... In fact, I believe everyone needs to try improvisation once to help them escape from planning and perfection. If you fancy it... is your place.

In this aria, Lia is expressing her grief at her son's absence and finding sorrow in the joyful scenes she watches as they remind her of all she is missing. It encapsulates why The Opera Makers chose this work, and framed it as a mother's experience waiting for her frightened son to visit her in the hospice where she is living with an incurable cancer diagnosis.

Since we began creating the new work, our partner charity, Shine has had to furlough most of their staff at a time when those living with cancer risk becoming most isolated and afraid.

If you hear the Hope and Fear in this aria and feel so moved, please do head to their website and donate whatever you can to help them continue their really vital work.

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