SOMEHOW, WE WERE ABLE TO TRACK DOWN EACH OF OUR VERY BUSY SCHOLARS TO ASK THEM EACH FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE OPERA INDUSTRY, AND WHAT THIS YEAR ENTAILS FOR THEM. TODAY, WE CHAT WITH SOPRANO, ZOE DRUMMOND
You’ve said your goal is to work in Germany, and you were recently awarded a major prize in IFAC Australian Singing Competition which will allow you to improve your German, making the goal even closer! Why Germany?
I am a bit of a linguaphile, so I have always been fascinated by Europe and the close proximity of so many languages. Germany is particularly appealing to me, as the sheer number of opera houses in the country shows the full and thriving life for classical music. I have been learning German in Australia for about 5 years, so I feel incredibly fortunate to have won the AOAC Judith Ward Lieder Scholarship through the IFAC Australian Singing Competition, as it will allow me to improve linguistically, and also to prepare myself as a ‘package’ within the German system.
What’s it like being part of The Seven Sopranos – one of the most popular Australian classical groups?
It is wonderful! My experience with The Seven Sopranos has been truly fantastic. I have had the opportunity to travel over Australia and Asia, singing beautiful music, with stunning people. Through The Seven Sopranos I have met my most cherished friends.
Also, I think performing in a group like this, you learn how to be flexible, professional and versatile. We have performed on rooftops, in vineyards, on catwalks, on ships, in churches, on racecourses, on television, in theatres…and every time you must be completely elegant and engaged. It is incredibly fun!
I must mention how lucky I feel to wear some of those gowns- so glamorous!
This is your second year as part of the Melba program, can you tell us about one of your highlights so far?
This year with the Melba Trust has been fantastic. I particularly loved working with Daria Masiero for the second time- it was interesting to have her feedback a year later to see how I have grown. Also, it was wonderful to have the time to put the practical skills that I learnt last year to the test- particularly in the areas of performance psychology, preparation radio/print interviews and public speaking.
And of course, the opportunity to work closely with Sharolyn Kimmorley for a second year is absolutely invaluable.
You travel a lot around Australia and internationally; do you have any tips for vocal health while on the go?
I am meticulous about using hand sanitiser, value my hours of sleep and always drink gallons of water. I am careful to avoid ‘over-using’ my voice, by having long patches of silence, not talking over loud noises, and by doing lots of quiet practice.
I recently bought a ‘Humidiflyer’ to use on flights- so I will let you know how that goes! My mother wisely says ‘Dis-ease causes disease’- so I always try to be incredibly organised and prepared to keep calm.
As a seasoned and successful participant in competitions, how do you prepare yourself both physically and mentally for an eisteddfod?
Competitions are tough: singing in high-stress situations, being pitted against colleagues, and being judged. However, the richness of prizes available in the major Australian competitions is phenomenal, and can really change the course of your career.
I try to treat competitions as just another performance opportunity, and to do myself proud regardless of the outcome. I always strive to connect to the music, to the audience, and to do my voice justice.