One Art Launch & Premiere


One Art is ready to Launch!

Life affirming poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, set to music by Paula Kimper, performed by soprano Laure Meloy.

The launch of an art song recording, and the World Premiere of the song set One Art, is presented in a unique opera/cabaret performance illustrating the life and loves of poet Elizabeth Bishop. Please join us for this one-of-a-kind event, and celebrate One Art!

Friday, 21 October 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Conquest House Gallery – Canterbury Festival Umbrella Programme
17 Palace Street, Canterbury CT1 2DZ
Box office: 01227 472953
£13 advance, £15 at the door

A co-production of Femme Lunatique Productions & The Mosaic Cat


More Tempest:

‘…ma i famosi versi di Ariel “those are pearls that were his eyes”, che nella voce cangiante, e brillante nonché calda, di Laure Meloy, affascinanoquanto la parte nella foresta delle illusioni, quando i suoni di Adès diventano misterici come nella sua Polaris, e troviamo finalmente un suono che ci rapporta all’esoterismo connaturato della Tempesta del Bardo.’

(…in Ariel’s famous lines ‘those are pearls that were his eyes,’ which in the alternately brilliant and warm voice of Laure Meloy, fascinate like a glimpse into an enchanted forest, and Adès’ sonorities become as mysterious as those in his ‘Polaris’, we at last find a sound that relates to the esotericism inherent in the Bard’s Tempest.)

Livia Bidoldi,

‘…de erőlködés és technikai problémák nélkül győzte a koloratúr „tűzijátékokat”, jól visszaadva egyben a figura játékosságát is.’

([Laure Meloy] sang the coloratura “fireworks” effortlessly and with no technical problems, and portrayed the playful character very well.)

The Tempest, Hungarian State Opera

‘Ariel, the mischievous sprite at Prospero’s beck and call, is a tour de force role that calls for supersonic hissy-fits above high C – the sonic embodiment of a musical tempest. During the overture, she begins the opera in pantomime, encouraging a rowdy crowd on their enchanted isle to toss around confetti and other detritus as their first act of tempest-in-a-teapot. Soprano Laure Meloy is astounding in her performance as Ariel, a role that’s a brilliant stroke from Adès’ pen. He has created a serious competitor for Mozart’s Queen of the Night. In this production, Ariel is an airborne theremin, a fireball of fioritura and a squeaky Scarbo flitting about on pulleys and wires. Needless to say, she’s a scene stealer and on this particular evening, the object of fascination by a bevy of equally squealy teenaged girls in the audience.’

Official trailer:

Inspiration and Confidence Building

‘An audition is not a test: it is an exchange of information. Don’t reveal your faults!’
– Joan Dornemann, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera

Perhaps not what you want to hear immediately after singing a difficult audition or failing in the first round of a competition, but it is very good advice. So much of the time we are dogged by the idea that we have to ‘blow everyone away’ when we get up to sing for a job or prize…that we MUST do the most difficult/highest/lowest/fastest/loudest aria ever written for human voice, or they just won’t NOTICE us. Yet those who are on the other side of the table tell us again and again: better to do something simple but do it very well. Many teachers, coaches and advisers tried to tell me this during my training, but Joan Dornemann’s phrasing really drove it home: it’s not a test. Translation: you are not a student (although it applies to students too!), you are a professional. You are exchanging information: they are not ‘up there’ with power over you, judging you – we are all involved in a business transaction. Do we want you in our production? Do I want to work for this company? Is it a good fit? Don’t reveal your faults: why should I walk into a room and say ‘someday I might be able to sing this run competently and really nail the high note, but in the meantime, let me demonstrate some very out-of-tune warbling.’ Ouch. How about: ‘Here is what I really excel at RIGHT NOW. Oh, and here it is in the context of some gorgeous music. Thanks. Nice to have met you.’

More quotes relating to auditioning and building confidence:

‘Ask yourself “WHAT am I doing?” instead of “HOW am I doing?”‘
– Tim Caldwell, voice teacher, performer, author

‘We all have that small voice that tells us we’re rubbish, and we need to learn to silence it.’
– Fyfe Dangerfield, songwriter

‘You cannot overprepare. Enjoy being as searching and thorough as possible before you begin, so you can be as free as possible once you’ve started.’
– Ian Rickson, director

‘As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticising others weaken and defeat you.’
– The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba

P.s. If you are reading this and kicking yourself for having done ‘exam’ style auditions in the past, please stop the self-flagellation. Just get on with preparing for future auditions with a new attitude. Toi toi toi!

Scribblings of a Mad Soprano

‘One does not need buildings, money, power or status to practice one’s Art. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.’
– The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba

Throughout my educational and professional career (such as it is) I have collected little quotes and phrases, some copied from books, some scribbled down during master classes and workshops, that either inspired me in the moment, or seemed important enough to hang on to for later dissection and better understanding. As Facebook, Upworthy, etc hadn’t been invented yet, I had to keep track of all these pearls of wisdom myself.

From time to time, I have managed to type up a few of my favourites and share them with my own students, post them on Twitter, or otherwise try to spread the joy. But still I carry on collecting. Why? Don’t I already know all this stuff? Am I not out there doing the singing career? Do I still need advice, help, truisms to live by? Well, yes and no. Yes, I do know (most) of this stuff. However, a big life lesson for me is: one forgets nearly as much as one learns, and many important tenets of developing as an artist need to be re-learned, again and again. The best metaphor for this is to see the process as a spiral: you’re not going around in circles (really!) but rather you are learning the same things on an ever deeper level. ‘I knew what my teacher was saying the first time around, but now I really understand why he/she was saying it.’ No, perhaps I don’t need these ideas for my own practice anymore (or I have incorporated them into my practice already) BUT I do now have serious voice students, plotting their own path into this difficult and confusing industry, AND there is the wonderful world of the Internet: I can share these delicious nuggets with all of YOU, via Twitter, Facebook and….this blog.

‘Forget the idea that inspiration will come to you like a flash of lightning. It’s much more about hard graft.’
– Mark-Anthony Turnage