Rehearsals and lots of learning German!

A week of illness but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’m on the road to recovery. It’s been really tricky trying to learn an opera without my trusty steed (my voice) by my side. Lots of reading through the German text and physically imagining how I would sing the role has helped preparing, but there’s nothing like the real thing of singing it.

2015-06-14 mark jollyOver the last few days I’ve been doing just that and enjoying every minute of it. It’s my first opera in four years and although a little nervous I’m very excited. Rehearsals start this week and opening night is the following Monday June 1st and runs through to the 6th with a few matinees thrown in too. My German should be perfect by the end of June!  

I’m really pleased to announce that I will be taking part in two Royal British Legion events this year. One back home in Carmarthen at The Lyric (place of my birth – almost), in October and another in Swansea at the magnificent Brangwyn Hall in November. Next month though I’m flying off to Boston for a private concert then onto Washington, a city that I’ve never visited before. I love my job!

Last Saturday I was invited by my Godson, Hugh Beaumont to attend his final Commemoration Day at Malvern College. The college was also celebrating 150 years of its existence. A very early start from Llantrisant as we had to be in our seats at the Priory by 8.45am. I must admit having not been through this kind of education I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

The Priory was a Benedictine monastery c 1075 – 1540 but is now an Anglican Parish church. It is the most dominant building in Great Malvern and I’m told has the largest display of 15th Centenary stained glass and Medieval floor and wall tiles. As I walked into this historical jewel I was greeted by angelic voices and I could instantly feel my spirits lift.

The service was very traditional but perfect and the Priory that holds so many stories in its stones was packed to capacity with pupils, parents and guests. After trumpet fanfares, an address from the headmaster etc we finished with the uplifting Jerusalem – although let’s be honest a Calan lan or a Cwm Rhondda would have been so much better. I will have to have a word with the powers that be.

This week has been different again and as I write this on bank holiday Monday I know that I have more learning to do, a case to pack and a train to catch to London tomorrow. First I need to make pancakes as that is what has been ordered for breakfast……. It’s not just all opera you know!

Oh yes and next week’s column will be published on my birthday Wednesday June 3rd. I still only feel 25!

This article was originally published in the Carmarthen Journal in Mark’s weekly column for the paper.

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