A weekend at Opera North

Photo credit: Sam Clarke

Photo credit: Sam Clarke

Since commencing my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, I have been getting involved in as many aspects of College life as possible! It’s great to be able to see so many concerts and to have so many opportunities to perform, learn and grow as a musician, all in the thriving cultural hub of Manchester.

In November 2016, I was invited to attend a Baroque Opera Residency weekend at Opera North in Leeds, working on scenes and arias from Handel’s most dramatic oratorios. I was given the opening scene of Belshazzar, in which Nitocris the Queen Mother reflects on the decaying state of the Babylonian empire.

Direction was provided by Michael Baker-Caven, with musical direction from Robert Howarth and accompaniment from Tony Kraus. In addition to discussing all elements of Baroque music and performance, we were each able to workshop our prepared scene on an in-depth level, looking at the flow of text, intention and clues in the music and then applying this with movement around the studio space.

I found the opening of Belshazzar to be very moving, particularly once I had allowed myself (and my brain!) to become a part of the action and to give every word an imminent consequence. This was a hugely rewarding experience and I feel very lucky to have taken part!

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