• HSOTeam

Getting to know treasurer and intrepid opera newcomer, Cath.

As a team we work closely together to deliver the best possible experience to our members. However it's often hard for people to see past the face of the business and get to know the people behind it. To remedy this, we're having a bit of a mini series of posts asking our trustees and community members to tell you a little about their experiences and help encourage people to take part and support our charitable work. First up, our Treasurer and trustee, Cath who is central to the running of HSO, and not just because she looks after the tea and biscuits!

The sense of achievement when it all comes together is amazing and you feel very privileged to be a part of it all, and I can’t wait for the next one.

What is your role at HSO?

Singer and participant, I am also Treasurer on the Board of Trustees dealing with all financial matters together with a general remit to support the Board in ensuring the success of HSO as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

What is your background in music?

I’ve been singing with choral groups for approximately 30 years and have sung in several choirs in the North East and Cumbria. My first love is choral classical music, although since my relatively new foray into opera this stance is being challenged and I’ve found a musical genre I wish I’d engaged in much earlier. Apart from classical, I’ve sung a mixture of other musical genres including musical theatre, pop, jazz and gospel.

Have you ever been in an opera before?

Yes, before becoming involved in HSO, I was given the opportunity to sing some opera choruses with a local opera choir at a Gala concert and from there I was very excited (and apprehensive!) to be asked to join in with Aria Alba – Opera for all in Edinburgh as part of the chorus. This was a huge learning opportunity for me and I loved taking part. To be a part of bringing that same experience to the North East is great.

Friendly, Fun, Supportive, Challenging, Rewarding.

What’s it like being in an opera?

Very rewarding: from meeting new friends and working as a team, learning from those more experi enced, gaining experience of performing in a theatre setting on a stage and learning the terminology both on stage and back stage all of which has opened up a whole new world to me. Also the opportunity to gain experience in areas that are outside my comfort zone such as drama in a fun, supportive and safe environment. The sense of achievement when it all comes together is amazing and you feel very privileged to be a part of it all, and I can’t wait for the next one.

What’s it like working with the rest of the cast?

Great fun, everyone is very friendly and helpful, there’s a sense of ‘we’re all in it together’ and therefore there’s a willingness to support each other. There are many laughs alongside the more serious hard work involved in learning the music, words, the scenes and the story concept in order to pull off an accomplished performance.

How has participating in HSO impacted on your daily life?

Confidence building is probably the biggest impact and learning to relax more around people and be myself. Being on the Board of Trustees means I’m also very busy so house jobs and cleaning have taken a back seat, however in reality I’ve always found something better to do than dusting!

In what ways do you feel that opera can make a positive impact on the wider community

Definite physical and mental health benefits, there’s lots of movement but tailored to ability, mental stimulation in learning the music ‘off book’ often in a foreign language and most importantly mood lifting, with lots of things to feel proud of along the way.

Besides music and drama what skills have you explored through opera?

Team working to reach a positive end goal. Problem solving to attain the desired effect on a budget. Organisational skills, I am probably annoyingly and pedantically organised (!) but equally I can be relied upon to get things done.

What character do you play in Personalities?

I’m playing Sarastro’s Private Secretary/Legal Advisor called Zelda (maybe?)

She is very supportive of Sarastro, he can do no wrong, and she will do anything to please him. She sometimes resents being used as a childminder, but she would protect the children from harm where necessary.

What do they think of their fellow town’s people?

The towns people are tolerated from a distance but any opportunity to dampen their enthusiasm would be seized on to bring them in line with a more sedate regime.

What would you say to other people who were interested in participating in opera?

Don’t think opera is not for you until you’ve tried it. I thought opera was a step too far but now I love it despite the challenges. Give it a go!

If you had to sum up HSO in five words what would they be

Friendly, Fun, Supportive, Challenging, Rewarding.

Harlekin Studio Opera is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation: No. 1183089. The company is managed by volunteers -  all funds are invested into the company, and into the enrichment of those we serve.


All text and media © 2019 by Harlekin Studio Opera.

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