Messages from our foundation singers - Kieran Rayner
Posted on 22 December 2016
I am in my first term at the Royal College of Music International Opera School in London, as the Kiri Te Kanawa Scholar and I feel very lucky to be staying at the Victoria League Student House, courtesy of the Victoria League and Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. I’m even in James Ioelu’s old room! It is just a 10 minute cycle ride from the Royal College – an ideal location.
So much has happened since graduating from my Masters (with Distinction) at the RCM in July. During the summer break I travelled twice to Italy – to perform at ex-Covent Garden coach Robin Stapleton’s annual concert in Tuscany in the lovely village of Pereta and in September, I returned for a ten-day Masterclass Programme organised by Patricia Hurley and the Dame Malvina Major Foundation which included daily Italian language lessons, and coachings with NZ Opera’s Musical Director Wyn Davies. Through the week we gave 3 performances – the last at the NZ Ambassador’s residence in Rome. It was a privilege to represent New Zealand in this way.
Between these trips, I played six roles in British Youth Opera’s season of English Eccentrics, a comic opera by Australian Malcolm Williamson and I am now rehearsing the RCM’s next opera, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. Alongside College commitments, I have been working with English Touring Opera, understudying roles in Xerxes and La Calisto (last year, I covered several roles in ETO’s Werther and The Tales of Hoffmann, and got last-minute call-ups for two performances, so they asked me back!). I have several UK oratorio and concert engagements before Christmas, and in the New Year, I play the main baritone role in the RCM’s spring opera, Handel’s Faramondo.
I have had invaluable opportunities in the UK so far (some of them thanks to Dame Kiri herself), but getting the jobs is only part of the challenge – as a student working my way up in the industry, much of this work is unpaid. Support from the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and other benefactors has empowered me to grasp all of these opportunities, fully focusing on developing my craft, building up my CV, and forming professional connections for my future career. I could never sustain this without your aid. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.