Three days after my recital, it is finally sinking in that I have finished my university studies (for the foreseeable future). It is the end of an era, after 6 challenging, rewarding, life-changing years.
The (heavily summarised) story so far:
- 2008: I saw my first opera (NZ Opera's production of Janáček's Jenůfa). At that point, I set myself two goals: #1) To sing with NZ Opera on the ASB Theatre/Aotea Centre stage, and #2) to become an internationally-performing, professional opera singer. From then on, I did singing lessons, viola lessons, piano lessons, music theory lessons, NCEA music, orchestra, chamber music, barbershop chorus and quartet, choir, and anything else that would improve my musicianship and knowledge.
- 2010: Auditioned for the NZSM (Wellington) and the University of Waikato voice programmes. After an embarrassing NZSM audition, which I hope has been long forgotten, I auditioned for the University of Waikato. They recognised my potential, but decided to put me in the academic stream for a year as I wasn't quite ready. I was fine with that, as I was also very interested in composition and music history.
- 2011: First year at the University of Waikato. Learned a lot, met great people, successfully auditioned as a voice major.
- 2012: First year voice major. Won the University of Waikato aria competition with Dido's Lament. Started focusing on mezzo-soprano repertoire, to the surprise of many (I began with a high, light, unsupported voice, which began to blossom once I found my repertoire - thanks, Glenese!).
- 2012-2014: Completed a Bachelor of Music and a Graduate Certificate in Theatre Studies, with lots of highs and lows along the way. In 2014, I achieved 2008's goal #1 - I performed in the chorus of La Traviata, beginning two years of regular chorus work with NZ Opera.
- 2015: Moved to Auckland. Completed my Honours year with First Class Honours. Finalist in NZ Aria competition. Crazy year.
2016. Also a crazy year. I performed my first mainstage role with NZ Opera, singing as one of the Three Genii in The Magic Flute. I performed the role of Dinah from Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Factory - a role I had wanted to sing since 2014. I completed a thesis on the use of translations in classical vocal music (currently awaiting results of that) - thanks, Gregory! I performed a 90-minute recital, featuring repertoire in 13 languages - thanks, Morag (and Claire and Amy)! Decided to start my international career in France (2017), as I fell in love with the French language and culture. After many performances, a lot of writing, a lot of admin, a lot of laughter, and a lot of tears, I have finished study and am almost ready to leave New Zealand (just a few more performances and Christmas to go). Hopefully, I will soon have the piece of paper to say that I have completed a Master of Music! However, I know that I am not the master; music will always be the master, and that has become clearer than ever.
Now, I'm less than a month away from the big move to France. My first stint will be for 6 months; what happens during that time will determine where to next! It will be a time of reflection, learning, and planning. Here begins the real work towards 2008's goal #2 - a goal which doesn't really have a set point where you can say it has been achieved. But I know I'm on track; I just need to keep trusting the guidance of God, which has brought me this far. Bring on 2017!