Susanna Hurrell

British soprano Susanna Hurrell is in Goa in the run-up to the Stunning Stratospheric Sopranos, a virtuosic programme celebrating the female voice, on 4 January 2012 at 7.15 pm, Kala Academy (Tickets available at Furtados Music). She spoke to Dr. Luis Dias about the upcoming concert and about music in general.

Welcome to Goa, Ms. Hurrell! Is this your first visit here?

I’ve been to India before but never to Goa so I’m very excited about exploring a new place!

You’ve studied with the renowned soprano Patricia Rozario, haven’t you? Tell us a little more about your career path.

I started studying with Patricia at the Royal College of Music in London in 2007 and since then have gone onto the prestigious opera course at the Royal College and then the National Opera Studio which takes only twelve singers each year from all over the world. I am lucky to have won several awards and am also working as a professional singer alongside my studies. Next year I will take part in major competitions and audition for roles in English opera houses.

Any thoughts about the concert programme?

We’ve chosen a huge variety of famous operatic arias that show off the different qualities of our voices. Some of them are slow and beautiful and others are fast and fun so we hope you enjoy the mixture!

Any advice for our youth? What should we as parents, and as a community be doing to ensure that talent is detected and developed as early as necessary?

To young singers I would say it’s a long road to success! You have to be patient and work slowly and meticulously, until the muscles get strong. What we do is like training to be an athlete so you can’t expect to be the best immediately, but if you persevere and focus it’s really worth it in the end. For parents my advice would be to find the right teacher for your child. This is essential if the voice is to be developed as well as it could be, so make sure they study with someone who really knows what they’re doing. By the time the child reaches 16 to 17 it becomes clear if they have a nice sounding voice so encourage them to take it further, and find plenty of performing opportunities such as in a local drama group so they get used to working on the stage. There are fantastic careers in classical music all over the world and opportunities are beginning to arise in India too, so now is a great time for young Indian singers to get out there and be heard!

(An edited version of this article appeared in the Navhind Times, Goa India on 2 January, 2012)