Alex Chorley. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Alex Chorley is a seasoned Sydney Eisteddfod performer – having won his first gold medal at the Eisteddfod when he was just 10 years old. Now 18, Alex is preparing to move back to England in September to commence a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
In 2019, Alex has been studying at Sydney Conservatorium and competing in Sydney Eisteddfod’s events for Classical and Contemporary Singing. He has also been working on his own short films and writing original music.
“Since I sing mostly classical music on stage in front of people, I like to compose more contemporary modern music so I can keep both sides of music going.”
Alex starts preparing for his performances at Sydney Eisteddfod at least two months in advance. He says when learning an aria, you must know the story of the opera, who the character is and how the character is feeling in the song.
“You can’t just memorise the words and sing it well – that’s only half of the performance – you’ve got to bring the character into it.”
From performing in eisteddfods, Alex has learnt how to take feedback and deal with rejection.
“Every adjudicator is different. They all have their different opinions; some look for the acting, some look for the singing, some look for how well you convey the story or connect with the audience. It’s really good to take little bits and pieces of feedback to combine your version of what you think a really good performance is and you can use this in auditions.”
Alex is known for his immense talent across the performing arts – having performed in events across the Classical Singing, Contemporary Singing and Speech and Drama events at Sydney Eisteddfod. Alex has chosen to continue down the road of classical singing, though he hopes to combine what he has learnt in acting and combine the two art forms.
“Even though I’m going to be studying classical singing at university, I’ll be going to acting workshops and musical theatre workshops as well because I always want to keep doing all the genres and keep as many doors open as I possibly can.”
Alex says he gets bored when he is not doing something creative.
“When I’m at home I usually either find myself composing a new piece of music, editing something, working on a storyboard, writing a script, looking at plays and songs…I like making something – whether it’s a performance, a film/short film, music – I just like creating!”
Alex has grown up immersed in the arts – his mum played the flute; his dad played the violin and is now a colourist in the film industry and his sister did acrobatics! Originally from England, Alex’s family is moving home with him to keep the family together.
Alex feels excited and nervous about his upcoming move to London for study.
“I’ll be living in student accommodation in the middle of London and it’s going to be very different from Sydney where I’ve been living at home to go to the Conservatorium…I’m really excited about the opportunities in London – there’s so much theatre going on that there’s always something to do and see and something to learn.”
Although he is sad to be leaving his friends in Australia, Alex is excited for the world of opportunities in England.
“What can I perform in, what can I go see? There’s so much to explore and do and see and learn. I’ve done acting workshops at places like NIDA but it’s always really interesting to see how a different country teaches acting as well – they might use completely different methods so I can take bits and pieces of what I’ve learnt and combine them all together.”
From his time at the Royal Academy of Music, Alex hopes to be able to sing at a high standard, stay in character and be able to understand a piece so well that he can show every nuance.
“My main objective is to be able to sing in Italian, then perform in front of an English person who can’t speak any other language and see if they can understand the entire song just from what I’m showing in my face. The words are one thing, but it’s actually about what you see.”
Alex has a vision to take classical music, contemporary music, electronic music and orchestral music to create a genre that bridges the classical and contemporary styles. He hopes to meet people at the Royal Academy of Music with whom he can combine his skills and create a classical and contemporary performance.
Alex says there is a stigma among young people that opera is old, and you are less likely to find young people actively going to an Opera. He says some companies have started modernising opera, encouraging a younger audience to attend.
“When you set something visually in the modern setting, it’s easier for an audience that might not understand the language of the story, they can understand it by what they’re seeing on stage.”
“I think there should be a way to combine this classical style of singing and with an orchestra and electronic beats and bring it all together to create a performance that appeals to pretty much everyone that watches it, so it isn’t locked to a specific time period. One of my main inspirations for everything performance is the Icelandic singer, Björk. She has an ability to combine any form of instrument with electronic beats and create a timeless sound. Even if you listen to her songs in the 90s, it still sounds like they were made in 2050.”
“We should create an entirely new genre and use a classical technique when singing that explores modern stories. That’s what Opera doesn’t have: a modern, contemporary story.”
Alex hopes to have the opportunity to continue to live and work in Europe following the completion of his studies at the Royal Academy of Music.
“I’d like to be able to travel around the world and find the different performance cultures and take their techniques and combine it.”