Charlotte Jackson, soprano

Wonderful Works

I’ve had the pleasure of being the soprano soloist in two wonderful oratorios recently. The first was Rosinni’s Petite Messe Solonnelle which is the most extraordinary piece of music; joyous, heartbreaking  and such fun. The Agnus Dei was movingly sung by Adrienne Murray. This was for Preston Cecilian Choral Society through my agent Jolyon Dodgson of Northern Voices.

Northern Voices website

Preston Cecilian Choral Society website

The second concert was at St Mary’s Church, Wigton, a gem of a Georgian Church, for Wigton Choral Society under Ian Wright, where the theme was Requiem. I sang two pieces in the first half. I was invited to sing When I am Laid in Earth from Dido and Aeneas, Purcell and then I chose to sing Roses of Picardy, Haydn Wood. The main work was Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem, a really moving piece. It has the poem  In Flanders Fields , John McCrae. Everytime I listened to this movement I was reminded of Roses of Picardy which was sung at the front in Flanders and France in World War 1.

St Mary’s has two new stained glass windows donated by Melvyn Bragg who comes from Wigton.

Information about St Mary’s Church, Wigton

Article about the Melvyn Bragg windows

NYCoS News

At Easter I had a great week directing the new NYCoS Girls’ Training Group at Loretto School near Edinburgh. The course end concert was in Greyfriar’s Church (home of Greyfriar’s Bobby).

Picture of Girls Singing

NYCoS Girls Training Group Easter 2010

I will be directing the NYCoS Dumfries Area Choir from September. I’m really looking forward to it.

NYCoS website

Sabbatical travels part 2

In December I went to the Amabile Christmas Concert which was a feast of singing from all the four choirs; Piccolo Amabile, Poco Amabile, Amabile and Donne Amabile.

I’ve been continuing lessons with Caroline Crawshaw and had an inspirational French Song lesson with Christopher Underwood. I sang at some very touching funerals and a beautiful wedding before Christmas. Sadly some of the other singing I was going to do was cancelled due to the bad weather, but I was able to sing in Kendal Parish Church with my friend Rachel Little for the Christmas Eve Midnight Communion Service.

January began in a quietly amazing way with a week at Crear in Scotland, studying song with Malcolm Martineau. There were seven singers in all, including my sister Louise and me and three pianists. We enjoyed singing everyday as well as observing one other. I sing Poulenc’s Fiancialles Pour Rire and On this Island, Britten. We had a very special time giving a workshop at the local primary school with its 12 pupils who were loving, charming and innocent. We sang and played games with them. Crear is a special place to study – very beautiful, peaceful and atmospheric and it was a privilege to share the time with new friends and learn from Malcolm.

The end of January saw another visit to Glasgow to see the world premiere of War and Peace, Prokofiev, given by students of RSAMD and the orchestra of Scottish Opera. It was very moving.

At the end of next week, I go to Washington DC to give two choral workshops and teach as well as visiting family and friends – can’t wait!

Sabbatical travels part 1

Since last summer (2009), I have been on sabbatical from my post as Artistic Director of Amabile Choirs and Musical Director of Amabile Girls’ Choir for professional development. Here is a flavour so far of what I’ve been able to do!

Last July I went to Buxton Festival. This elegant northern spa town is undergoing something of a renaissance The festival draws international artists and visitors from far and wide. I managed to see Susan Gritton in recital with Ian Burnside, Messager’s operetta Veronique and a wonderful late night concert of tango music by Mariposa Tango.

My next venture was a few days at Oxenfoord International Summer School in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh to observe participants in masterclasses with vocal experts from all fields of song and opera. I ended up singing and had a masterclass with Lorna Anderson (Oratorio) and Joan Busby (English Song). I sang in a concert where I was accompanied by Malcolm Martineau.

On Wednesday 7th October I visited a special school in Manchester, Elms Bank Specialist Arts College, to work with its choir and director Catherine Dent. The children’s singing was full of enthusiasm and joy. We worked on the gestural relationship between the choir and director and creating a beautiful sound. The choir ended the afternoon with a very moving performance of We are Marching in the Light of God. 

On Friday 9th October my sister Louise and I travelled to the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow to hear a recital by Felicity Palmer, Mezzo Soprano. Miss Palmer was indisposed so instead we were treated to a recital of French and Russian Song by the beautiful English soprano, Joan Rogers. Her masterclass with students of the college was a real education in the detail of French and Russian Song.

Jane Irwin, Mezzo Soprano was the soloist in a moving performance of Mahler Ruckert Lieder in the concert I attended in Kendal with Northern Sinfonia on Saturday 10th October. I also went to an inspiring jazz and swing workshop with Alexander L’Estrange, Joanna Forbes and Anastasia Micklethwaite in Dalton in Furness in the afternoon.

In late October I travelled up to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where I spent time observing classes in French Song, German Lied and Italian Opera and audition technique. I also observed Helen Lawson teaching and Chris Underwood coaching. The whole experience was wonderfully refreshing and invigorating.

Another treat was in store in November when I went to Birmingham with my husband, Sam to hear Renée Fleming and the London Philharmonic orchestra. Miss Fleming’s contribution was a bit nouvelle cuisine as she sang four or five very short operatic arias beautifully. The orchestra was stunning in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet suite. The following week we travelled to London to see The Turn of the Screw at ENO with Rebecca Evans in the lead as the Governess with Ann Murray as Mrs Grose, the Housekeeper. It was stunning and disturbing at the same time.

Later in November I observed Opera Scenes in rehearsal at Royal Scottish Academy with Mark Hathaway. It was fascinating to see the way in which Mark help the students to find and express the emotional content of the works they were studying. On this visit to Glasgow I went to the open day of the vibrant Royal Scottish Academy Junior Academy Open Day and met the Head, Havilland Willshire.

More tomorrow…