In Conversation With...Angela Brower

Wednesday, 17 February, 2021
Angela Brower Copy

The ABL Aviation Opera Studio artists joined Tara Erraught ‘In Conversation With’ American mezzo-soprano, Angela Brower where she shared her insight and extensive experience of the world of opera. Pianist Luke Lally Maguire tells us more.

Angela herself was a member of the Bavarian State Opera Studio in 2009 before joining it’s ensemble in 2010, where she was a member until 2016. Currently, she enjoys a highly successful freelance career as a solo artist.

Firstly, Angela stressed the importance of choosing an opera studio programme that is right for you as a young artist! Every studio programme brings with it a different outline of coaching sessions, stage experience and masterclasses and it is highly important for us young artists to base our decision on what programme will best suit our own musical development. On top of that, the expectations of opera studio programmes differ from house to house and it is crucial to understand our individual roles and to be able to meet the expectations of the programme. Angela also shared some of what she felt the advantages of young artist programmes are such as learning through activity as well as developing the skills to improvise in rehearsal and on stage and manage a large amount of projects. On top of this, being part of a studio programme means that the coaches and conductors will be able to track your development over the course of the programme and will be better able to offer advice on what is best for your future career path. For me, it was quite reassuring to hear that there are plenty of people on your side, supporting your musical development.

Angela also encouraged us to understand our own uniqueness as a musician and to celebrate and embrace our own artistic individuality. While it may be often tempting to compare ourselves to other musicians or to strive for musical ‘perfection’, we are all different, and rather than investing our efforts in trying to sound like someone else, we should instead focus on developing the qualities that shape our own unique musical voices.

Perhaps the most important message of this seminar though was to remind ourselves why it is we do what we do. For many musicians, we are inspired by the next concert or musical project, constantly living in the future this way. Now, with so much uncertainty, it is difficult for us to stay motivated in the ways we are familiar with. Thus, the need to ask ourselves why we want to be an artist and what it is we love about what we do has now become more important than ever! Angela advised us to take control of our own future by establishing long term goals that we can carry out despite the pandemic. She also shared a very positive reminder that the current circumstances are temporary, that there will be demand again for theatre and opera and that we can anticipate a ‘re-birth’ in the arts.

Top tips and takeaways:

  1. Embrace the challenge as an artist to express exactly what you want to express in a piece of music
  2. You are the main driver of your own career path
  3. Recognise the qualities that makes your musical voice unique
  4. Embrace and celebrate musical individuality
  5. Remind yourself why you do what you do and what it is you love about it