Photo: Kurt Sneddon
The Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship 2017 Heats saw 58 aspiring opera singers take to the stage in the hope of being selected to progress through to the next round. Those that have competed in Sydney Eisteddfod over the years know the hard work that goes into competing and as a result also know the valuable life skills you learn through this experience.
Sydney Eisteddfod Alumni and now successful Soprano Valda Wilson, won the Best Soprano Award in 2007 and has since spent two years at the Semperoper, Dresden, singing alongside stars like Quinn Kelsey, Renee Fleming, Marcello Giordani, Anna Netrebko in what she calls “an extraordinary kickstart” to her career.
After her recent performance in The Carnival at The Concourse, Chatswood, Sydney Eisteddfod caught up with Valda to discuss her personal experience performing in Sydney Eisteddfod and the many ways it helped her grow as both an individual and performer.
Valda said that in her personal experience she learned that winning competitions is not the “end-game”.
“We are wanting to develop into artists who can tell stories in a beautiful way, through our voices and our bodies, right? Concentrate on that!” she said.
“I realise how much a big win in a prestigious singing competition can help to boost your career, and to fund further study, but do yourself and our art-form a favour: spend a LOT of time and thought on making yourself a better storyteller and a singer – not just a flashy performer who can rattle off a few arias with aplomb.”
She also revealed she believes that singers should watch as much live theatre and attend as many concerts and international performances as possible.
“Work out for yourself what you like, what you don’t like and what you want to be. Do not try to mould yourself to be the next Renee Fleming or the next Placido Domingo ... be the next you."
"That’s what makes opera special, the individual colours that we can bring to these works, some of which were composed a couple of hundred years ago,” Valda said.
“And keep your eyes on the endgame,” she added. “You want to develop into an excellent singing actor, a person capable of engaging with your colleagues in a meaningful way on stage, and the master of your own unique voice from a technical perspective so it can do whatever you want it to do with the minimum of effort, leaving you free to tell the story.”
From one singer who found her feet to others who might still be trying, Valda closed with: “Find arias and songs that fit you, now, as you are.”
Sydney Eisteddfod hopes that all Classical Singing performers are able to take on this valuable advice and wishes all Quarter-Finalists in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship the best of luck.