In the second of two interviews, Conor Molony speaks with Céline Forrest, soprano soloist in the Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra Opera Gala on June 22nd, also currently with the National Opera Studio.
I really enjoyed watching your ‘YouTube’ masterclass recording from 2014 with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, what was that like to experience? Prior to this in 2014 you received the Dame Kiri scholarship, did this allow you to work together?
The masterclass with Dame Kiri was a very nerve wracking experience but a very enjoyable one. She has sung the aria that we were working on in the world's biggest opera houses, so it was never going to be easy! She's an inspiring singer, and one who I've always looked up to. A couple of years later, we were lucky enough to have her visit the National Opera Studio where I was training at the time. She joined us for a concert and it was wonderful to work with her again.
I can see from your website that you have also worked with many high profile soloists. Which other sopranos have influenced your career to date, and how do their interpretations of the music guide or inspire you?
Working with other artists is such a huge part of being an opera singer. Within the short amount of time taken to rehearse an opera, we are working very intensely with our colleagues. A lot of that is watching other singers and how they work.
Something that has always stuck in my mind was during a placement at the Royal Opera House with NOS. I was lucky enough to watch Ermonela Jaho rehearse Puccini's Suor Angelica, a role which I performed myself at the Royal Academy of Music. I was in complete and utter awe of her performance. You think you know a role until you see another interpretation of it, and it's as if you're hearing it for the first time.
You must be super excited about your upcoming role as Lady Macbeth at the Minnack theatre in Cornwall in June, how do you prepare for singing outdoors, or does this allow you greater freedom?
I can't wait to sing the role of Lady Macbeth at the Minnack theatre - what a role! Singing outdoors isn't something that I'm hugely experienced in, but I imagine it'll be hard work as you don't get the same resonance back in comparison to indoor concert venues and theatres.
It's such a fantastic theatre, and I really can't wait to sing there. It's such an exciting role too - it's always the most fun playing the powerful characters!
Finally for aspiring sopranos, what tip would you give them, is it all about practising their scales?
My advice for aspiring sopranos is to take it slowly. Sing repertoire that is comfortable and don't rush it - if it's uncomfortable to sing, you probably shouldn't be singing it!
Lots of musicians advised me to make the most of the opportunities when under the care of a training institution, because it's a different world when you're a working singer, and I can't reiterate this enough. Be prepared to work hard!
Thank you Céline, and we look forward to performing with on on June 22nd.
To find out more about Céline and her future engagements please visit www.celineforrestsoprano.com