Category: News

My Journey through a Contemporary Opera

Nicola Said as Echo in Narkissus and the Reflections (Laurence Osborn & Ruth Willow Mariner) – Guildhall Opera Scenes © Matthew Ferguson

I have just completed my first year on the Guildhall Opera Course! 3 terms, 3 sets of opera scenes, 5 new scenes experience under my belt, a contemporary opera!
This term has been a breakthrough for me as it has been the first time I’ve done contemporary music, and I can tell you, it has been extremely challenging! In partnership with the Royal Opera House, Guildhall has set up a new MA in Opera Making course, and this year has been its first, with a gifted set of composers and librettists writing for the singers in my year. The course is the first in the world of its kind, and aims to recreate the idea of a composer writing for a specific voice (which is how it was done by past composers like Mozart). The feedback we received was very positive and the work was successful. As singers, it is very important for us to learn the different learning process involved; for example, whereas usually, when doing more traditional music, we are expected to have everything memorised by the time we get to staging rehearsals, this time we were allowed a bit of leniency, and it was perfectly acceptable to learn along the way. I sang the role of Echo in Laurence Osborne and Ruth Mariner’s Narkissus and The Reflektions. It has been the first time I have ever played such a… strange… character…a necrophiliac in fact! My aria consisted of giving a dead guy (Narkissus) a lap dance while singing high coloratura…As a band, we spoke of how he has ruined our lives, we magically bring him back to life calling on the powerful Artemis to do so, only to watch him fall in love with himself and commit suicide…all very dark really. I think saying that the audience was shocked was an understatement…there were at least five seconds when no one clapped because they didn’t know how to feel…… For a while, I’m not sure I did either, until I just let go and kept reminding myself that that’s not me singing up there, it’s Echo!


This year I was offered my first professional role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, and have been rehearsing for that alongside this new opera, together with the Act 4 Figaro Finale; it was certainly a good lesson in learning how to balance two completely different productions simultaneously, as a professional singer has to often deal with studying more than one ongoing role.


I was very fortunate to have been selected as the solo soprano to record with the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Paul Carroll, Lascia ch’io pianga on their new CD, “The Castle of Mey”.  The music on the CD is absolutely stunning and I am so honoured to have a place on it! Since then I have performed with them at Marlborough House and I look forward to singing new works composed by Maestro Carroll himself sometime in the near future (more about that later)!


The Malta Airport Foundation has launched video following my recent appointment as the Foundation’s Ambassador… it was very fun to film, and we were blessed with some beautiful Maltese weather! Most of you will already have seen the video, but if you haven’t yet watched it, check it out on this website, or on my soprano facebook page! The Foundation also recently organised a Magazine Interview in Style Magazine, so we had a few photoshoots at the Airport!  

Thanks for reading! That’s it for now, but check back soon for updates!!