I am now back on Minerva!! I was greeted on embarkation with a 'welcome home' and that is exactly what it feels like. Lots of familiar and wonderful people to say hello and to catch up with. The flight to Colombo was smooth and trouble free. I didn't sleep too well and now finding it difficult to actually fall asleep properly. I hope my body can get into a good rhythm soon.
This evening we had a lovely reception with the cruise director and other speakers and entertainers who will be working these next 2 weeks. I was completely star struck as Mark Horton of BBC's 'Coast' is one of the speakers. I am a huge fan of his, mainly for his warm personality on the programme. He is a lovely man with a great sense of humour. I may even try and get to his talks if I can!
Our first concert is on Sunday which gives us a few days to settle into ship life and rehearse. The air conditioning on the flight has played havoc with my throat so hoping things settle down in the next few days. Tomorrow I hope to see the elephants in Pinnawela - that's if I don't sleep in!!
After a couple of days relaxing in Manchester (which included getting over tonsillitis - nasty!) I am back in London and preparing to get ready for the cruise. Today is mainly going to be spent devising worksheets and practise logs for the 60+ students that I teach. I want to keep them motivated and their practise ticking over while I am away. Next I then have to decide what I need to bring with me while I am away. As every girl knows this is an almost IMPOSSIBLE task but as an opera singer it is even more impossible. Which concert dresses to take, which shoes, which jewellery, which props, which fake eyelashes!!! The list is endless. Then of course there are the many cocktail dresses and bikinis to wear while on the ship. Oh and of course the music, mustn't forget the music!!!! I can't complain though. I get to travel the world on a beautiful ship and sing. I suppose we all have our crosses to carry - even if mine is making sure I don't exceed the 20kg weight limit! Better get organised!
Beautiful song by my hero Guy Garvey and Elbow. Beautiful and simple and as always lyrically stunning. Enjoy.
Here is the amazing poster for the Headlines Concert which will be happening 3 weeks on Friday. A massive thanks to Paul Bray for designing all of our publicity and to Marie Soulier at OperaPourUnSalon for all her hard work in helping me to organise this concert.
I am so excited about the brilliant musicians we have involved in this concert. They are all giving their time for free to raise money for this very worthy cause and I am greatful to each and everyone of them. Many are very good friends and my amazing Mum will also make an appearance fresh from her concerto debut at St Martin in the Fields!
Tickets can be purchased from my JustGiving page. If you're not able to come to the concert but would like to make a donation then please dig deep and give whatever you can. This charity is so important for cranio families in the UK and Ireland and they need all the help they can get. I hope as many of you are able to come along to enjoy what will be a very special evening of music.
For more information please visit my JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/Georgina-Rosanna-Murray
I am very strict with my vocal routine. I try to practise at least an hour a day and do my best to have a singing lesson every 2 weeks and a coaching session when it is necessary. I feel it is important to keep everything ticking over and my fortnightly lesson is my opportunity to see that I am singing in the right way.
Having not only changed teacher but voice type 18 months ago (I sang as a mezzo soprano for 9 years) it is a real time of transition vocally for me. Being a soprano is completely right for me but it is taking time for my technique to adjust. One of the main areas I have been religiously working on is trying to
make my sound richer and warmer at the top. I have a real tendency to sing shrill at the top end of my voice which results in a harsh and sharp sound. After months of making small adjustments (making sure I have pressure before sounding the note, making sure the tongue and jaw are in the correct position before singing etc) I finally felt like I hit the nail on the head in my lesson yesterday.
As a mezzo I have been so used to my voice resonating in a particular place in my face that I have not yet accessed the higher resonances. Yesterday, while also maintaining an open throat (again something I tend to close when singing in the higher register) I made sure I felt the resonances higher and low and behold the sound was richer and warmer and my tongue in particular went naturally into the place it needed to be. It felt good to finally have cracked this one piece of the puzzle. I'm now itching to get practising with my new found voice, especially as Puccini is on the menu for the cruise.
For me it is a life long journey perfecting my technique and although it can be deathly frustrating at times, persisting with it and 'getting it' is worth everything.
Preparations are well under way for the cruise which I leave for in 13 days time!!! I am now in the process of learning four separate programmes for the concerts I will be singing in with Opera Barcarola while on board. The music we are performing ranges from opera and operetta to jazz and musical theatre. There are solos, duets and ensembles and at least 20 of these need to be off copy. It's lucky that I have a break from teaching next week so I can dedicate all my time to getting the repertoire learned. I will rehearse with the group for the first time this Sunday and I'm really looking forward to finally meeting them.
In other news my tourist visa for India has been successfully processed and I will pick up my passport tomorrow. I am so happy that this time I will get to see India this time around.
Better get back to learning those notes!!
This morning I was interviewed by French Students at the Wix Lane Primary School in Clapham. They are holding a competition in the school to see who can find the person who best represents English Culture. Having worked with the children last year in a concert I sang in, I was very honoured to be invited to answer questions that the students had to ask about being an opera singer in England.
They asked all sorts of questions ranging from what made me want to be a singer, do I have days I want to quit, what my favourite English song was and my favourite composer. But they also asked things like what adjective best described myself and my favourite, which animal best described my personality (I thought a Tiger was perfect!). They were very good and varied questions and they had so many. I also sang a few bars of Dido's 'Lament' to demonstrate my voice and, after many requests, the chorus of Adele's 'Someone Like You'. They loved it.
A lovely way to spend the morning with these wonderful young people and I hope not only have I inspired them to get into opera but increased their chances of winning the competition!!!
This evening I headed to the Wigmore Hall to hear the Elias Quartet perform music by Huw Watkins and Faure. It was a stunning concert. I was lucky enough to also hear the great English tenor Mark Padmore perform with the quartet in a piece by Huw Watkins called 'In My Craft'. It was utterly magical. My favourite piece of the whole evening though was the Faure Piano Quintet in C Minor. It was sublime, especially the 3rd movement. Such a special piece of music and it was exquisitely performed. A truly inspiring concert.
Today I met with the very talented Federico Carnevali, who is an Italian photographer based here in South London. He took the beautiful photograph of me which I have used at the top of this website. We are hoping to shoot some photos in the next week or so. I am looking forward to working with him and seeing the finished results!
I am in the process of organising an opera gala concert for an amazing charity called Headlines. It is a charity very close to my heart. My niece, Eve was diagnosed with uni-coronal Craniosynostosis in February 2012. At the time she was only 6 months old. It was a very stressful time for my family as all we knew was that Eve would have to have major head surgery to correct the fault in her skull. Headlines was an absolute lifeline of support and information and also provided a wider community of other families who were going through the same thing as us. I am delighted that I am able to put on this concert to raise money for this important charity Not only only do they work continuously to raise awareness about Craniosynostosis but they are vital in supporting and informing cranio families when needed.
For more information on Headlines, Craniosynostosis and the work that they do visit their website www.headlines.org.uk
Georgina Rosanna Murray is a Soprano from Manchester.