Hello team England supporters and apologies for the prolonged radio silence. Preparations continue apace.
Since I last wrote I have done a run through of my programme in Redditch, along with concerts in Birmingham, Sheffield, Rotherham, Whitehaven and Swindon. I also fitted in a short residency in Aldeburgh to work on my rep, mainly the French stuff, with Nicole Tibbells, ably assisted by Gary Matthewman on the Joanna. The residency was just perfect (apart from being too short which is really my fault for being so busy) and I got an awful lot done, including a bit of work learning Britten's Les Illuminations which I have coming up. I got to look at Britten's composition sketch for these too which was very exciting and interesting. I have also been flat out trying to learn some Bach solo cantatas for concerts and the Wigmore and the Newbury festival in a couple of weeks- a lot of dots!
Other Cardiff prep includes some ballet lessons with Carol Grant, former prima ballerina and now head of actors and dancers at ENO. These have really helped with my posture. I have also ordered my dress which is going to be in royal blue silk and made by a lady called Rashmi who used to work at Liberty's but now runs her own dressmaking business. She has made a dress before for me so I'm confident it wil be a hit. i have also squeezed in a coaching with the wonderful Laurence Cummings to look at the two Handel arias I have in the competition. Laurence is an early music genius (and all round genius musician too) and I have been honoured to do several Handel operas with him before. He had some really useful tips. Oh, and I've worked through some more of the rep with my singing teacher, Lillian Watson.
Fitness wise it has been really hard to keep things going with being so busy and my trainer has cancelled on me several times. I have managed a couple of runs though and have done quite a lot of walking along with the various bits of dancing so I'm not doing too bad, and I have lost a bit of weight. The brace isn't doing too badly too, although it is now in the aching stages. I had a check up yesterday and the orthodontist seemd fairly pleased. Only another 6 months or so now...
Cardiff is getting very close now (my first round is 10th June) so I am working hard to stay focused despite welcome and unwelcome distractions (including the fact that B&Q after SIX months still haven't finished fitting my kitchen). I am trying to take it easy every now and again so I'm not burned out by the time I get to the competition (currently having a little 'down time' in Somerset). I'm now also starting to be very careful about not catching any bugs floating around as it could hamper my progress if I caught something now. Pity us hyperchondraic singers and stay away if you have a sniffle. Because even divas can catch a cold... or not, let's hope!