‘I came to Blackheath Halls Opera two years ago, to play one of the ugly sisters in Cendrillon. I had heard about Blackheath Halls Opera through Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where I studied for my undergraduate degree. Quite a few of my friends from Trinity had got involved with Blackheath Halls Opera previously, either as chorus leaders or small roles, and it seemed like a lot of fun, so I auditioned during my first year at the Royal Academy, and was thrilled when they offered me the part! It was amazing to be playing alongside such amazing singers as Louise Winter and Anna Patalong, and I learnt a lot.
This year I am playing a larger role in Count Ory, which is the part of Isolier. He is a sixteen year old boy madly in love with the Countess (you’ll have to come and watch to see whether he gets her in the end!) I was slightly daunted when I saw the cast list before starting rehearsals: the other principals they have brought in for this show are absolutely world-class! Everyone is so friendly though and it is amazing to work so closely with professional singers doing so well in their careers.
I am now on the opera course at the Royal Academy, and this has been a great career stepping stone for me to observe how hard these singers work to achieve such amazing performances. Harry (Fehr – our Director) and Nick (Jenkins – our Musical Director) have again been doing a great job: their attention to detail and enthusiasm is infectious and there is a great atmosphere in rehearsals.
The chorus sounds absolutely amazing and I love seeing how much they all enjoy the process – sometimes when you are always so bogged down with getting singing ‘right’ and ‘perfect’ you forget it’s meant to be fun, and this definitely is a fun show! So far I’ve really enjoyed it and I think it will be one of Blackheath Halls Opera’s best shows yet.’
Kate Howden photographed at the Sitzprob on Sunday, performs the role of Isolier in The Adventures of Count Ory (Rossini’s Compte Ory) at Blackheath Halls on Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th, Friday 18th at 7:00pm and Sunday 20th July at 2:30pm.