I had a fantastic time at this year’s Southampton Music Festival, held in Thornden School, Chandler’s Ford. It’s always a pleasure to sing alongside such talented performers – and also to receive valuable insight into new repertoire. I was accompanied once again by the lovely Gilly Slot – so I felt in very safe hands!
I entered the Adult Vocal section for the first time, having competed previous in the Junior Vocal section a few years ago. There was a wide selection of classes – and it was difficult to choose which ones to go for!
I was thrilled to come first in the operatic aria category, receiving honours and the Mrs. E. Emmanuel Challenge Cup for my performance of “Nobles seigneurs, salut!” from Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots. Comments from the adjudicator, Julia Dewhurst, included: “[Caroline provided] an immediate sense of drama and character…impressively accomplished with a fluid coloratura, even across the range. A stimulating and persuasive performance, technically secure and dramatically utterly convincing. Brava!”
I also came first in the open 19-25 years event, with “O mio babbino caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and in the Gilbert and Sullivan category, with one of my favourite arias, “The hours creep on apace…A simple sailor, lowly born” from H.M.S. Pinafore. The two trophies I received in these classes were the Evelyn Sibley Challenge Cup and the Horace Taylor Challenge Cup.
Following these classes, I came second with distinction in the French song category, with Debussy’s beautiful “Romance”, and in the oratorio event, with “Tu virginum corona” from Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate. Interestingly, I have since learnt that this Mozartian motet is actually secular – something I’ll definitely remember before considering oratorio choices in the future!
I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of this year’s festival – and I met many singers I hope to see again in the future. Julia gave some brilliantly useful feedback, which I’m sure left all the performers feeling rewarded from the weekend.
Congratulations to all who competed – and many heartfelt thanks to my friends and family for their support!