Amanda Windred. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Soprano Amanda Windred, finalist in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, recently shared with Sydney Eisteddfod how her passion for Opera began, what inspires her and what she hopes to achieve next. She also discussed the arias she performed in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship Semi-Final.
What inspired your passion for opera?
I believe that my passion for opera comes from the desire to create art, and to bring characters to life. I have always been an avid reader and artist, so to be able to combine the two, and then to add that to my passion of singing, it makes me feel complete as a person.
what inspired you to start singing?
I have always been interested in singing, but the person who truly acknowledged my desire to sing was my first piano teacher. I can remember if I went to my lessons with my practise done, at the end of the lesson she would play for me and I would get to sing a song. This was the same year that I was entered into my first eisteddfod for singing, and I’ve never looked back since.
Who inspires you and why?
My mother. She was the most tenacious, loving, caring woman, who went out of her way to help anyone that she could. She is the woman that I inspire to be.
Tell us a little bit about the two pieces you performed in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship semi-final, L’altra notte in fondo al mare and Ah! mio cor schernito sei!
L’altra notte in fondo al mare is a fantastic piece. With this piece you truly get to explore the psyche as Margherita has gone mad from killing both her mother and her illegitimate child.
In Ah! Mio cor schernito sei! Alcina is letting the gods know how discontented she is that Ruggiero has escaped. Alcina is such a fantastic Opera, and with my voice type, it is not very often that I will sing this sort of repertoire.
Which other performers do you most like to listen to/watch, and why?
I absolutely love watching Christine Goerke perform. She is definitely a fierce performer with an amazing talent to go along with this. Other singers I have on my favourites list include: Sondra Radvanovsky, Nina Stemme, Jonas Kaufmann, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price and many more.
What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?
At the end of the day, give them a performance that is truthful and from the heart.
What are you hoping to achieve next?
Ideally I would love to head back to New York to work with my teacher and vocal coach there. I would love to work with them for a little while to consolidate some technical avenues and to work on building a solid performance portfolio, so that I can introduce myself to the international industry in the best light possible.
How did you discover your operatic voice?
That would have been my singing teacher, Jennifer Heaton that ‘discovered’ my operatic voice. From my first lesson (at 9 years old) she mentioned that my voice was going to be one for the classical industry and that what she was going to nurture it to the best of her ability until I was ready to pursue the career further.
Do the neighbours complain when you practice?
I am extremely fortunate that I have amazing neighbours, who have encouraged my singing throughout my career. It also helps that my neighbours’ son is also a singer, so I’m not the only one that the others have to listen to all the time.