South Africa (part 1)

I’m back from South Africa and it was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had. I’ll try to give you a day to day account of my time there so I’ll have to split this blog in to parts.

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South Africa - Part 3

On Friday, the day before the performance, I met the other singers that were involved in the concerts. Goitsemang Lehobye (soprano), Nonhlanhla Yende (mezzo soprano) and Thabiso Masemene (tenor) all have such fantastic voices it’s so easy to be inspired by them.

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Back from my favourite tour yet!

Another year another ETO spring tour has ended. 

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Quinborne Choir Summer Concert

On Saturday night I performed with Quinborne Choir in their summer concert at St. Peter's Church in Birmingham.

This has been my fourth consecutive year singing with the choir in their summer concert and yet again it was a wonderful evening.

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Audience Participation

On Saturday evening I performed a recital, billed as a Summer Gala concert at the church where my cousin Vevet Deer worships in East London to raise money for their church funds. She was the organizer of the event. I haven't been particularly nervous before concerts in recent years but I did have a mild case of the butterflies.

The butterflies were uncalled for because it went really well. Allyson Devenish (my accompanist) was amazing as per usual and I particularly enjoyed performing the suite of Jamaican folk songs arranged by Peter Ashbourne who is indeed quite well known in music circles in the Caribbean and further afield. It was very well attended and much appreciated by all the organisers and the audience (who amongst them was the Deputy High Commissioner of Jamaica.)

Amid the operatic arias, oratorio, lieder, Spanish song and the Jamaican folk songs, I also performed three unaccompanied African American traditional sprituals. Now, I am very used to audence participation in the workshops I perform in, but on Saturday I was joined in my performance by a keen audience member during the unaccompanied spirtuals!  I have to say that the person was very much in tune and added a little spice to my evening.

? "My poor legs are aching and cannot run"

I spent this last week in the gorgeous Essex countryside near a little village called Halstead with Stanley Hall Opera performing in workshops for Key stage 2 kids.

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Midnight moon in Luxembourg

For the last couple of years I have worked on a project called 'Midnight Moon' which is a performance loosely based on the chaos that ensues when Bottom gets lost in the woods and meets upon a herd of fairies led by the fairy queen Titania. It uses all the best bits of music from Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and a few bits of 'Fantastic Mr Fox' by Tobias Picker and even Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'. It's devised wonderfully (by Tim Yealland) to be a sensory performance with nice smells, bright costumes, cosmic lights and 'touchy feely' things. A fantastic addition to the last tour of Midnight Moon was a fox puppet which I wore attached to a coat with a prosthetic hand. There were some wonderfully mixed reactions to Mr Fox and it was heart warming to see some of the children at first frightened of him (believe me he was very realistic), eventually warm to him and even befriend him!

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Black History Month 2011

October has come around very quickly again and with it comes Black History Month. This year I had the pleasure of performing at an event called Black History Live at Wembley Stadium.

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Shakespeare didn’t write a Midsummer Night’s Dream! Hmmmm?

I recently saw the film Anonymous which explores the idea that Bill didn’t write a single word of the many plays, sonnets or poems which have made him the most famous writer of all time, and it reminded me of a project that I haven’t blogged about yet.

In October I had the pleasure of working on an education project with Hendon School and St Mary’s school in Barnet, London called Mad Spirits.

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Abigail's Tweets

AbigailKellySop @ChloeKnibbs1 Yes do please send me the recording! @BloomKingsHeath is up and running. I can't wait to get in there!
AbigailKellySop RT @lambethmusicnet: So great to see this @morleycollege and what a fantastic collaboration! @ace__london @WalcotLambeth @OvalLearning @Lam
AbigailKellySop Congratulations @AshmolePrimary @StMarks_Lambeth @VauxhallPrimary thanks so much for all of your hard work in telling Bessie Coleman's story
AbigailKellySop @mooremezzo @ETOpera @keefie123 It was so lovely to see you there! The children and the band were phenomenal tonigh… https://t.co/jUTujXKSbS
AbigailKellySop RT @mooremezzo: An amazing performance this evening @ETOpera #ETOBessieWings. Congrats to Tim, Sarah, Llewelyn, @AbigailKellySop @keefie12
AbigailKellySop I managed to see the #BessiesWings exhibition today. A big congrats to all the schools and children involved! https://t.co/Fh7jiasObt