BY STEPHANIE ESLAKE
Zoe Drummond is – if we may say so ourselves – smashing it on the opera scene.
The young soprano is a First Class Honours graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and is now in her third year of a Melba Opera Trust scholarship. She has recently made her Opera Australia principal debut and recorded her first album with The Seven Sopranos.
Last year, Zoe won the Opera Foundation for Young Australians Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship, and this year she’ll commence post-grad studies at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. On a full scholarship (of course).
In light of Zoe’s performance with the Balmain Sinfonia this April – celebrating the group’s 25th anniversary year – we wanted to learn from Zoe how it’s possible to accomplish so much. She tells us what she has learnt – and is continuing to learn – about singing in Australia. So grab a notepad and get ready for some valuable advice…
1. Be ready
I have found that being prepared is how I keep calm. If you know your material inside and out, then you can concentrate on your performance and logistics. Hours and hours of work go into a few minutes of ‘show time’.
2. Be realistic
Know your limitations, but don’t be too timid! Sometimes, self-analysis can be the most difficult thing, but it is absolutely vital to know and trust yourself.
3. Be friendly
It is so important to enjoy your time at work, and to be easy to work with.
There are extremes of working alone for weeks, to working in big groups for intensive periods – and life is much easier with a smile! Also, one of my favourite things to do is to chat to the audience after a show. It is wonderful to see how happy everyone is. It makes you realise how much of an impact art can make.
4. Be patient
I’ve found that the process of singing is hardly ever linear. Your voice is affected by so many external and internal elements; audition results may not be what you anticipate, and opportunities may be better or worse than expected. I have found that appreciating the little things keeps my battery charged enough to try again.
5. Be dedicated
For me, being a singer is a lifestyle. It is full of sacrifice and commitments, and my mind is always in gear. A motto I have tried to live by is ‘if it’s worth doing, it is worth doing well!’.
Watch Zoe Drummond perform with the Balmain Sinfonia on April 1, with works by Debussy, Mozart, and Mahler. Tickets and more info available online.