Sylvie Humphries on stage at the McDonald's Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
A finalist in the 2014 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Operatic Aria, French-Australian soprano Sylvie Humphries has been singing and playing the piano from a young age. Now, many years down the track, Sylvie’s love for classical music has led her to completing an Advanced Diploma of Opera from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has featured in productions with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and ARTSONG NSW. Sylvie reflects on some of her favourite pieces, the importance of having a good accompanist, and the challenges that competition brings.
Why did you start performing?
I am from a musical family. My elder sister played the violin and piano to a high level and my parents always listened to classical music. I was passionate about classical music and enjoyed it. I loved the Songs of the Auvergne and the aria Il bel sogno di Doretta from a young age and would ask my dad to play them on repeat or call me as soon as they came on the radio. I started singing in a choir at age 7 and began lessons from age 14. I also played the piano from a young age.
You chose to perform Song to the Moon from Rusalka by Dvorak, tell us about this piece and why you chose it.
I love the Song to the Moon. I enjoy languages and speak a few and I enjoyed the challenge of singing in Czech. This aria has a beautiful melody and I feel I can tell a story with this aria and take the audience on a journey. One can show a lot in this aria- dynamic contrast, room to grow and pull back, high notes and low notes.
Who inspires you and why?
I love Diana Damrau and Lucia Popp. They are both so different in their natural instruments but know/knew their craft inside out! They love to perform and take the audience on an emotional journey. They entertain and are great to watch!
What is unique about Sydney Eisteddfod?
Sydney Eisteddfod offers a great many sections and the organisers are always there ready to assist when they can. The Sydney Eisteddfod is supportive and flexible.
What do you dream to achieve?
I do not dream of being a diva but of having a job as an opera singer in an opera company in France or Germany. Preferably as a principal artist or an understudy or last, as part of the ensemble. Getting any kind of job in an opera company would be amazing. I dream to constantly be the best I can be at my craft and to not stop working hard. As a singer there is always something you can do better.
What did you do to prepare for your performance?
For my performances at the McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod I prepared by choosing repertoire I felt was appropriate for my voice and for my level of craft. I chose an accompanist who supports me and accompanies me while working with me: it is a working relationship where both parties are important. I chose repertoire I knew well and had performed before- this is the best way for me to feel prepared, to have performed it as many times as possible before.