Tamzin Barnett (soprano), who sang so beautifully in April at the unveiling of this year’s Festival of Chichester programme, returns to the festival itself with her own recital.
She will offer Scheherazade: an Evening of Story-Telling Through Song at Christ Church, Old Market Avenue, Southgate, Chichester, PO19 1SW on Saturday, June 23, 7.30pm – a recital of art songs and arias to include Ravel’s Scheherazade, alongside works by Mozart and Wolf.
Tamzin is a classical singer from Chichester. The recital comes a year after she graduated from Manchester University: “I did music, and it was great, a very immersive degree. I did composition and musicology and performance and graduated last year and came back to Chichester. Since then I have been studying the Alexander Technique.
“In my training as an Alexander Technique teacher, I learn to teach people how to use thought processes to use their bodies with more co-ordination and less muscular tension in every-day situations. Through learning the technique myself, I have found that my voice is gradually freeing up more and I can use less effort to make a resonant sound. Practising the technique makes me physically stronger and is helping me to tell musical stories with more sincerity and creativity.”
This year she has been particularly focusing on improving her breathing and her use of her body, using thought process to release body tension. Tamzin is hoping it will all lead to a career as an opera singer; if not, to combine her own singing and performance with a career teaching the Alexander Technique.
“In my teenage years, I went to Italy and saw a production of Tosca in Verona, and it was the most moving thing I have ever experienced. I had an instinct that I had a voice in me. I just loved the music and loved the fact that it is an immersive art form and something worth saving. I think in this country, opera is hard. Arts funding keeps being cut.”
For Chichester, Ravel’s Scheherazade will be the main piece: “It’s a piece I have had a fascination with since I was at university. When I was at university, I had the opportunity to go to Australia. I studied at the Sydney Conservatoire for six months, and it was absolutely amazing. It was very life-changing. It just totally opened my eyes to other cultures. As well as singing, I was able to look at a lot of different music especially Australian aboriginal music and at how different cultures around the world use music.
“This is my first concert that is looking at other European cultures being influenced by eastern cultures. The first movement of Scheherazade is called Asie which is Asia.
“The music is absolutely beautiful, and I first heard it just before I was going to Australia. It really encapsulates for me the excitement of travelling and discovering all the different landscapes. The second and third movements become more zoned in. They become more sensual.”
The attraction for Tamzin is that it is all story-telling through song: “The words drive the composer to write the music rather than the other way round, and that’s what makes opera different to, say, a play. It is what the music encapsulates.
“The evening will start with some Mozart arias. He was an absolutely genius composer. He writes brilliantly for women, and he has a whole spectrum of females. He goes from the absolute pinnacle of vocal skills to a young female singer really showcasing her young talents.”
Tamzin will also include some Gluck, Schubert, Schumann and Wolf, plus some Andrew Lloyd Webber. She will sing in five different languages: “If I am really serious about making a career in music, then I have to be very versatile. I am dipping into lots of music just to see where my voice goes.”