We Trinity Laban students were treated to a vocal master class this afternoon by the great Mr Roderick Williams.
He was such a charismatic, warm person keen to avoid talking about technique in too much detail with the lucky singers who took part, yet he had so many other interesting things to talk about. In particular, about how to get into character when singing an aria as a stand alone piece. It’s difficult to sing about how you’ll come back and haunt your brother once you’re dead, because he’s put you in prison because he thinks you were plotting against him with your lover (Piangero la sorte mia – Jiulio Cesare) in a concert environment, without all the context performing the aria as part of the opera would provide.
“Roddy” recalled the auditions he gave singing the Count’s aria and how he didn’t truly feel like a Count until he was part of a full production:
“I was stood, in the most wonderful costume; with a jacket that was made for me.. I don’t have jackets made for me very often but this one was maaade for me and these amazing boots were being laced up my leg by two servants, while I ate a banana. And I have to tell you, I have never felt so much like a Count as I had at that moment in my boots… with my banana!”
Apparently, every time he went on to sing that aria in a concert/audition environment, he took himself back to that boot-lacing moment!
In other news, I got to sing a very short duet with the wonderful counter tenor, James Laing this week.
He took our Stagecraft lesson and sang Herbert Howell’s King David, a song I absolutely adore. He bravely asked a bunch of idealist 3rd year singers for some critical feedback and then asked one of us to get up and help him make the changes to a particular passage which I undertook with glee… “They played til they all fell silent, played sweet did they, but the sorrow that haunted the heart of King David, they could not charm away” a beautiful line of music tinged with so much sadness which I shared with Mr Laing…
Not a bad start to the week Trinity Laban has given me hey…