Danita Weatherston . Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Lyric Soprano Danita Weatherstone, finalist in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about what inspired her passion for Opera and the best piece of performance advice she has ever heard.
What inspired your passion for opera?
I grew up listening to classical music theatre, so Opera was not too far of a stretch after that. I saw my first opera when I was 11 for my birthday. I found the Sydney Opera House thrilling and probably about 5 minutes into the performance of The Gypsy Princess I knew I wanted to be an opera singer and I wanted to sing on that stage. I asked for Opera Australia ticket packages every Christmas that followed till my late teens, I couldn't learn enough!
Who inspired you to start singing?
I was a performer from birth. I did dancing and drama, I loved the stage. I could listen to musicals on CD and know all the words within no time. Singing started for me at school when I was trying to find my "thing".
I found out later in life about my dyslexia, which explains why spelling and maths where never my strength, but it bugged me because I had this need to do something well. I was 9 when I decided that singing was going to be it and I got up and sung solo for a talent quest.
My poor mother paid for years of dance training and couldn't understand why on earth all I wanted to do was get up there and sing! Anyhow I did, and had private lessons starting the following week. It seemed that I had found my one thing and I have been sticking to it since then.
(By the way it was the theme song out of the Titanic... already a fan of feeling horrific loss and pain... opera was definitely on the cards!)
Who inspires you and why?
I have had many influences, both from teachers and professional singers across the ages. My main point of inspiration at the moment is Renee Fleming. Firstly I looked to her due to her choice of repertoire. The more pieces I fall in love with to study, the more I found she had already done them. I love contemporary Opera and really aiming to connect with people. Renee has a fabulous array of emotion and colours in her voice and thinks outside the square. I aspire to be a complete artist and make truly meaningful music.
What is your favourite piece?
Ich ging zu ihm by Korngold is my absolute favourite piece of music in this world. I feel in love with it straight away. Renee Fleming has it on youtube with the translation running underneath. I sat there and bowled my eyes out taking in this story and strange but powerful and exciting music. I just had to learn it!
What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?
Just enjoy it! What is the point otherwise - Anke Hoeppner.
What do you hope to achieve next?
I hope that someone will take me into their young artist program soon. There is only so much you can learn from study at university. I am ready to learn more minor roles and look at the performance of a complete character, not just the nice aria in concert.
Do the neighbours complain when you practice?
I live 2 hours from the city and we don't have neighbours on top of us. Everyone is pretty 'chillaxed' in Wyee, it has the feel of a small country town. I have even performed for the local primary school as part of Opera Australia's school tour, so the neighbourhood is well aware of the noise I make!