Welcome to Con Fuoco, CutCommon’s interview series with emerging musicians in Australia.
Sarah Arnold is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, having attained a Bachelor of Music (Music Education). She has studied singing for a number of years and completed the LTCL and LMusA diplomas in 2016, as well as the AMusA (distinction) in 2014.
Sarah performed the role of Mabel this year in The Pirates of Penzance with Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney. Other rolls include Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Celia in Iolanthe, Fiametta in The Gondoliers and First Lady/First Spirit in Die Zauberflöte.
In 2016, Sarah was the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah for Good Friday Messiah in Epping. She has also recently performed a variety of chamber works for voice, clarinet, and piano and will be preparing for more concerts next year. Other performances include singing at the AMEB Presentation of Diplomas Ceremony, 2015 and a recital recording as a young virtuoso for Fine Music FM, broadcast in 2013.
Your all-time favourite piece of music?
The aria Ruhe Sanft, Mein Holdes Leben by Mozart.
Biggest fear when performing?
Forgetting the lyrics, especially when performing a new piece for the first time.
Most memorable concert experience?
The most memorable concert that I attended recently was a recital by Renée Fleming at the Sydney Opera House. She captured my attention from beginning to end. Her singing was flawless.
How do you psych yourself up for practice on a lazy day?
That is a difficult one. I have to admit that sometimes the laziness takes over, but I like to make a list of pieces to work on for the week and then try to make a plan for practice. Most of the time this keeps me on track.
Most embarrassing moment on stage?
On one occasion, when I was performing my first main role on stage, I forgot what my next line of dialogue was and it felt like the silence was never going to end. Lucky for me, my partner on stage gave me a hint for my next line and I was fine after that. That was both scary and embarrassing. Thankfully, it has not happened since.
Best piece of musical advice you’ve received?
Believe in yourself. Others can believe in you, but if you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities then it will be difficult to get very far in your career, especially as a musician.
I don’t have a specific ritual that I stick to after performing, but after a gig I am usually pretty hungry. I don’t like to eat too close to performing as it is hard to sing on a full stomach, so I would usually have something to eat afterwards. A cup of tea is also good and gives me time to reflect on my performance.
What are you most proud of in your musical career so far?
I am proud of the performance that I did of Mabel this year in The Pirates of Penzance. I think learning and performing the role did my voice a lot of good. It also extended my vocal range to notes that I didn’t think that I could reach.
What do you love most about making music?
The chance to learn from and collaborate with other musicians is one of the things I love about making music. The other is the chance to learn and interpret music and express this in my own way to people. I played other instruments at school, but I found for me that singing is the most powerful way I can express myself. I am also inspired by instrumentalists who can capture a mood so clearly in their playing without having any lyrics on the page to help them interpret the music.
What’s your ultimate goal?
I would like to go overseas and travel. If I can combine this with a singing career, that would be my ultimate goal.
Stay tuned for our next Con Fuoco – interviews with emerging musicians across Australia. Would you like to feature? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.