I joined one of National Student Opera Society’s regular Zoom events for a Meet the Composer discussion. I had the great pleasure of speaking to Toby Purser, who is now Head of Conducting at the RCM, followed by many interesting questions from NSOS’s followers, who were connecting up with us from around the world. This inclusive and friendly group – anyone can join in, and it’s free – has clearly filled a vital gap over the last year, during which college age opera singers have surely been the most disadvantaged by pandemic closures. No live singing, acting or end-of-term productions during two vital college years.
In fact, I came away with the feeling that everyone was raring to go, had used the time for extra preparation, and would soon amaze us onstage in something or other. I felt a relish which I haven’t had for years, to attend opera productions,especially college ones,whatever the repertoire. I’m particularly looking forward to Opera Festival Scotland, attractively designed by a group of young Scottish-based arts professionals, which will take place in Dundee in September 2022. A centrepiece of this festival will be two singing competitions. One is for young artists (maybe a few of whom I’ve just met on NSOS’s online forum); the other, rather boldly is for non-professional singers, aged over 30 and with no upper age limit. A wonderful idea, and I can’t wait to visit Dundee and see what happens.
Pictured – the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The banners say ‘Life is not a rehearsal’