Opera is not a word that immediately springs to mind when you think about Albury Wodonga’s cultural, creative and performing arts landscape But as I’m starting to find out the border region has a lot more hiding under the surface than you would expect at a cursory glance.
I first met Jodie in her capacity as the pragmatic secretary and one of the founding members of The Other Theatre Company in 2013. She struck me as practical and matter of fact, two traits that I think you will agree are not synonymous with opera. But that’s Jodie, surprising and multifaceted. She managed to find time around her full time work commitments and hectic performance and rehearsal schedules to answer some questions about her love of singing, particularly opera.
What are you talking to DIY Itchy Kitschy about today? Opera and music performance
When did you first start performing?
My earliest singing performance memory was with the Bairnsdale and District Children’s Choir. I must have been 9 then. But I
remember loving any music that we did in class, and by then I’d also been learning piano for two years and doing student concerts. My first operatic performance was actually an audition for a Murray Conservatorium Scholarship.
What drew you to opera?
My partner suggested that since I love to sing that I should do something with it and why not some lessons to boost my confidence and hone my technique. About 6 months in, my teacher suggested an aria from Cosi fan Tutte (Mozart). Something clicked and I finally realised that here was a style of music that suited my voice far better than pop, jazz or musical theatre.
What is the most exciting thing you have learned? How much I still have to learn and the potential improvements I could make to my singing and performance skills.
What has been the highlight of your performing career? Hmmm, as fun as The Singing Office (Fox 8) was… Today I sang for ABC open mic, and that was pretty awesome. But I think my highlight is actually going to be next month, singing with some Vic Opera singers.
What was your biggest challenge?
There are so many! Time of course, because I work full time so can’t spend as much time as I’d like on music; access to top teachers, as they tend not to live in Albury/Wodonga and while my teacher is great, I like to work with as many teachers as I can; stage fright… This might actually be the biggie. Under pressure, it’s difficult to breathe normally, let alone get the breath I need for some of the soaring passages you find in soprano arias. And when I’m really nervous, I also choke. Physically. With practice I get more comfortable performing, but if I don’t do it regularly I’ve got to work at it again
Where can we see you perform?
Besides my YouTube Channel which has a limited selection on it, I also have some performances coming up: 2-5 October I’ll be donning the persona of Mrs Mayor in Livid Productions’ Seussical the Musical. The story is based mainly on Horton Hears a Who, but with a while bunch of other favourite Seuss characters and stories mixed in.
But if you really want to hear what I can do, then you should be at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre on 11 October for ‘We are the World!’, a celebration of some of the cultures that make up the heritage of this region. There’ll be some world class performers involved in this one.
You can also hear me on ABC Goulburn Murray Radio between 10 and 11 this Friday. Another chance to hear, just not see, me sing.
If you could recommend one piece of music for readers to listen to what would it be?
Sous le dome epais – The flower duet from Lakme by Leo Delibes. Yummy!
Delibes: Lakmé / Act 1 – “Sous le dôme épais” (Flower Duet)The version with Anna netrebko is the best
You can see Jodie performing in the following local productions:
- Livid Productions’ Seussical the Musical 2-5 October.
- We are the World! at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre on 11th of October
And hear her sing this Friday after 10am on ABC Golbourn Murray Radio
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