Bronwyn Douglass. Photo: WInkiPoP Media
Mezzo-Soprano Bronwyn Douglass, finalist in both the 2016 & 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship recently spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about how it felt to be a finalist for the second year in a row. She also revealed why the character of Charlotte from Werther appealed to her in the aria 'Werther! Aui m'aurait dit la place'.
How does it feel to be a finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship for the second consecutive year?
I am honoured and thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist again this year. Before I ever entered the Sydney Eisteddfod I watched people competing and dreamt of one day being in the final, so for it to happen two years in a row is just fantastic!
You performed "Werther... qui m'aurait dit la place", why did playing the role Charlotte appeal to you?
Charlotte appealed to me because she is so real, and it is so easy to imagine her situation in any time period. She is a strong, disciplined, kind woman who has done everything she can to do the right thing by her family and her husband, but she just can't stop thinking about Werther. I think we have all been in the situation where our head is screaming for us to do one thing but our heart wants something else, maybe not in the extremes that Charlotte faces but it's a very real dilemma that we all experience at some point.
What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience?
I have been lucky enough to compete in different levels of the Sydney Eisteddfod over several years. The biggest thing I have learnt is that once all the preparation is done you just need to focus and tell the story. Especially as a young singer it was easy to get caught up in thinking about technique but once you get onto the stage it's not about that anymore, it's about taking people on a journey.
How did you discover your operatic voice?
I wanted to be an opera singer from the moment I first heard a recording of Dame Joan Sutherland, so I grew up with that beautiful Bel Canto sound in my mind. I tried to convince teachers to let me sing opera throughout school but they steered me in other directions, they thought I wasn't ready and they were likely right. After I finished school I worked for a year before I went to University and that was when my voice started to mature. My singing teacher saw potential in my voice and encouraged me to go into a Music Degree instead of a Science Degree.
What are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2017?
I have some very exciting performances coming up. I am performing as a soloist in the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs "Tudor Portraits" in August and I think it will be a real highlight of my year.
What do you do when you’re not singing?
I do spend a lot of my time singing, but when I have some time off I love to sew, garden, play tennis and walk my beautiful little dog Nellie.
Do the neighbours complain when you practice?
Not normally, but once or twice when doing housework I have gotten a bit carried away singing Rossini and have been asked to quiet down!