News from around the world - Oliver Sewell
Posted on 15 April 2016
The first half of my second year at Manhattan School of Music is almost over and it has been the busiest and most productive six months of singing and development I have had to date. I have been cast in two lead roles at school, planned and prepared a new recital and was treated to an amazing day working with Dame Kiri in New York City.
It is currently tech week for the Manhattan School of Music main stage production of the opera version of the book, play and, most famously, the movie The Dangerous Liaisons. I am playing the young, innocent and corruptible love interest Chevalier Danceny (the tenor lead). The MSM Opera Studio unfortunately has to cast an A and B cast for their productions.
The A cast performs two of the three shows (opening and closing night) and is, in this case, also doing a commercial recording of the opera. I was very pleased to be offered the role in the A cast. This tech week will be one of the more interesting and challenging ones for me as I have to play the harp on stage. Playing in time with the orchestra from on stage in my period costume will be quite the exercise. For the opera I have been receiving harp lessons from the harp teacher at MSM, Susan Jolles. Susan has been playing in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for the past 40 years and had an amusing and beautiful anecdote about one particular singer who, while singing a very difficult aria from the opera Capriccio, also mimed playing the harp while Susan played from the side of the stage.
Susan said that to convincingly mime playing the harp was no easy task. However, one evening at the Met Susan’s husband was in the audience and he thought the singer looked so natural on the harp he was convinced that they must be actually playing: that particular singer being the one and only Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. I have a lot to live up to!
For all of you lucky enough to be in New Zealand for the festive season please take an extra walk in the evening sunshine for me. And to everyone, my best wishes for a happy and joyous Christmas.