A familiar face to ENO audiences for the past few years, we caught up with Rhian ahead of her role as Atalanta in Handel's Xerxes, and our Young Patrons season launch party, where she will be performing some of her favourite operatic repetoire.
We are really excited that you are joining us for our Young Patrons season launch party on Thursday 18 September. What will you be performing for us?
As the run of Handel’s Xerxes will have just opened, I'm going to sing one of my character Atalanta’s arias, ‘Voi mi dite’ - ‘You advise me to forget him, forget him’.
I will also be singing Adele’s ‘Laughing Song’ from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, which I performed at ENO last autumn. It’s a fun song to perform that requires a lot of flexibility and agility in the voice – it’s like vocal gymnastics!
What is a typical day like for you as an ENO Harewood Artist and how do you get ready for a performance?
I always start with a good breakfast and a strong flat white. On rehearsal days, I warm up vocally for about 30 minutes before my technical and artistic coaching sessions with ENO staff, or intensive day-long rehearsals.
On performance days, I'll remain silent for the morning and do some very gentle exercise and stretching to get my body primed to perform. My voice is then pretty much ready to go.
I will eat a big meal at lunch, before heading to the shower to warm up - that’s right, in the shower! I do this because I like warming up with the steam that the water creates, and it’s very resonant in the shower, which helps me get my voice to the correct place.
I will then head to the Coliseum to have my wigs and make-up done. I like to have some ‘me’ time before curtain up to sing a bit more, do some breathing exercises and to feel calm. Once I’m on stage then it’s all systems go, and post show I will enjoy a glass of bubbles (only the one of course!).
And finally, what are your favourite operas and are there any roles you aspire to sing one day?
I’ll admit I’m constantly changing my mind about which opera is my favourite. Currently it's Peter Grimes, having just been involved in David Alden’s award-winning production with Ed Gardner, Stuart Skelton and Elza Van Der Heever.
Britten’s writing of the score is so incredibly beautiful and powerful. Together with the storyline, it makes for a truly amazing opera.
In the future, and way down the line, I would love to sing Violetta in La Traviata. Whether or not my voice will go in this direction eventually who knows, but one can only dream!
See Rhian perform some of her favourite repetoire at our Young Patrons season launch party, aimed at giving young opera lovers a taste of what it's like to be an ENO Young Patron. Book now >