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Advice for singers from opera's rising star

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Francesca Tortora | 13:50 UK time, Friday, 14 October 2011

Kathryn Rudge was awarded an Education Bursary in 2007 to help her complete her vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. Four years on and Kathryn has just made her debut as Cherubino in the English National Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro at the London Coliseum and to great critical acclaim:

"The star performance comes from Kathryn Rudge’s Cherubino – chaotically sexy, charismatic, totally compelling."   
Financial Times

"Kathryn Rudge glories as the ever nubile cross-dressing Cherubino."  
What's on Stage ****

"Kathryn Rudge keeps the palpitating intensity of adolescence on the boil."  
The Independent


Kathryn Rudge as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro opening night

Roland Wood as Almaviva, Kathryn Rudge as Cherubino, Iain Paterson as Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro performed by English National Opera. Photo © Alastair Muir


Despite a hectic performance schedule, Kathryn has taken a bit of time out to share her five top tips for other young singers looking to get ahead.

"Learn from people that you respect and inspire you
Great teachers and mentors will help you find a journey that is right for you and your voice. They will give advice about how to look after your voice and develop your technique. With their guidance you will build your repertoire in a safe and structured way. In turn, always treat lesson time as development time and put into practice what you are learning away from the lessons.

Research is very important
There are loads of great ways to research singing and performance: on-line, books, magazines, recordings. Grab the opportunity to watch as many live performances as you can too. Find out what styles of performance and types of singing you enjoy. As well as grasping pieces vocally you can explore them dramatically – look into what the piece is about. If you are to sing in another language to your own make sure you have the literal translation and explore different interpretations of the pieces so that your performance is true to both you and the character you are portraying.

Develop a practice routine that suits you and your voice
You have to respect your voice and practice regularly but finish singing before your voice feels tired. When you feel comfortable invite friends and family to listen and watch you perform – it's a great way to find the tricky corners that you still need to work on and to see how you are going to feel during a performance. Also, it is extremely valuable to work with and learn from other singers. Try to get as much experience of singing in front of people as possible.

Prepare well for a performance
Well rehearsed repertoire that you feel confident with is essential. Make sure you rest the night before a performance and on the day be careful not to sing (or speak!) too much so that your voice is fresh for your big moment. If possible, try to listen to your own recordings of performances so you can review and build on the experiences for next time.

Remember you are on your own unique journey
Never forget who or what inspired you to perform in the beginning. Being a performer carries a great responsibility but it is filled with so many rewards, not least the opportunity to communicate with audiences and the pleasure this will bring to so many. You are embarking on a career in a competitive environment but it is important that you enjoy and try to focus on what you are doing at each stage of your development.

Good luck!"

The Marriage of Figaro is directed by the actress Fiona Shaw and conducted by Paul Daniel. The show runs until 10th November 2011.


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