Written by Sam, a member of ENO Baylis Youth Company and a Year 12 student at The Norwood School, Lambeth, one of our Opera Squad schools.
Read Sam’s thoughts on the Youth Company’s first module. The group worked with vocal leader Suzi Zumpe, writer Peter Cant and director Lyndsey Turner to explore the beginnings of the creative process, thinking about what stories they wanted to tell and why they are important. The module included an opportunity to meet ENO staff and artists, including Marnie composer Nico Muhly, Marnie director Michael Mayer, and ENO Harwood Artist Katie Coventry.
‘The past two days have been amazing!! I’ve been able to find something I really enjoy in each activity that we’ve done, and it’s brilliant being in a group of people where everyone is genuinely enthusiastic and excited about being here, it’s an amazing dynamic and I can’t wait to work with them again. I’ve really loved meeting so many professional artists and hearing about their roles and processes as artists. For instance, I really loved meeting Nico Muhly and hearing about how he uses music in relation to the inner psyche of the character. Having those discussions with professionals has really deepened my appreciation for how intense opera must be, when we were talking about character I recognised principles that I’ve been taught in school, it just really fascinates me that opera is this beautiful kind of marriage between theatre and music and seeing how they interlink and adjust to the art form has been really cool.
I loved the exercise we did in Blackout poetry, it produced some very nonsensical pieces that felt to me that they made complete sense, and no two were the same because the words came from our choices and I’m definitely going to start using it more in the future because of the interesting results it produces. And now I’m more engaged in the music of an opera than ever before I’m wondering what might happen if we tried to do the same to a musical score. How would it sound? How would the libretto have to adapt? What would happen to the characters?
And I enjoyed all of the work we did on music, especially when it came to applying thinks we did on character and storyline with Lyndsey Turner because it added a whole new depth to similar activities that we’ve done in the past at ENO, and I’m finding that I am a lot more comfortable singing and giving those notes character. Today we also had a lot of emphasis on experimenting with the notes, which is something that is completely new to me when it comes to singing and following a score, so it’s great that we’re going to be pushed out of our comfort zones more regularly, it makes the learning process better.’