03 Creative Partnership
Dr. Nell Drew
Nell Drew has sung as a freelance soloist (dramatic soprano) specialising in the operatic roles of Richard Strauss, Wagner, and the dramatic operas of Verdi and Puccini with opera companies all over Europe and the US including Berlin, San Francisco, Venice, Palermo, New York and Boston. Nell’s performing career has also encompassed the genres of lieder, the symphonic song cycles of Mahler and art song singing with her most specialized interpretive work on this stage being the lieder of Richard Strauss and the art songs of the early to mid-20th century English composers (e.g. Vaughan Williams, Quilter, Finzi, Head, Warlock, Gurney etc.). She now devotes most of her time to teaching and coaching talented singers, especially those who are emerging professional opera and music theatre singers.
She runs international workshops for opera companies and professional singers and therefore not only brings her experience as a professional performer to Aria Alba –Opera for All but also her extensive experience in working as a voice coach and singing teacher. She has directed several productions including operas and music theatre in her 20 years’ experience of working within these art forms. Nell is involved in a long-term project to record all of Richard Strauss soprano songs and arias.
Nell has been teaching all levels of voice coaching and singing teaching for over 20 years. During this time she has worked with many emerging professional singers and assisted their move from advanced singing student to professional singer. Working with dramatic voices is one of Nell’s specialities, with students being sent to work with her from various areas of the UK, including London, and from as far afield as Nigeria, USA, Australia, and Finland, amongst others. Countertenor training is also an area where she has a great deal of experience and, as with all of her voice work, she has devised special training methods and techniques which are highly regarded in international voice training circles. She has been asked to consider writing a manual to help other teachers benefit from her voice method. Her work has also been with community groups in both drama and singing including projects to help build confidence in diverse groups, from women living in poverty and trying to find their personal voice in the West of Scotland, to working with medical humanities departments, to devising methods to use opera and singing performance to improve the confidence and people skills of medical students, as well as more conventional community music and drama projects.
Masterclasses by Nell for advanced and professional singers have been given in: The Lincoln Centre, for the Metropolitan Opera House, New York; The Royal Academy of Music, London; The Staatsoper, Berlin; The Manhattan Music School and The Juilliard School of Music, New York and at centres of voice education in various cities, including Paris, Verona, Milan, San Francisco, Munich, Bonn, Amsterdam, Washington and Barcelona.
The treatment and rehabilitation of voices troubled by vocal illness or pathologies is an area where Nell works with medical professionals to help treat or relieve these distressing conditions in singers and she adopts a counselling and psycho-therapeutic approach to working with performers suffering from performance anxiety related conditions.
Nell’s work on the interpretation of vocal works by Richard Strauss has led her to work with many lieder singers, and in particular those who have difficulty identifying the drama and the power of storytelling in this art form. The system she has devised from the pre-method acting system of Stanislavski Questions is used for interpretative purposes by students past and present and by many singers who have attended her workshops specific to this subject.