My love affair with Glasgow started with my audition for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, then the RSAMD. This was followed by a celebration lunch at Fratelli Sarti. If the wonderful atmosphere at the audition hadn't sold Glasgow enough, Sarti’s did the trick.
Before coming to Glasgow I had spent much if my life in Italy. Part of my Glasgow story actually starts in Italy. In 2009 I had my first impromptu concert in the piazza of Mercatale di Cortonaand followed by two years of organising tours to Tuscany and Umbria with my school choir.
I arrived in Glasgow, fresh from Firenze, a city with an artistic tradition I could never have imagined. Aside from the distractions of Fresher's Week and the new demands of training at the Conservative, I found myself immersed in culture that was transforming the very foundation of my love and understanding of music.
I started to become more involved in the musical world in Glasgow at the start of my second year at the Conservatoire. I joined the RSNO chorus to participate in the performance of Tristan und Isolde with the BBC SSO. This was a tremendous experience for me and it got me hooked. I sang with the RSNO for the following two years, finishing in 2014 with their performance of Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand. From an avid concert goer I was now participating in the musical life of Glasgow, I was about to discover just how many opportunities there were for musicians.
It was really during the start of my third year here in Glasgow that this started to take off. This was largely due to my slightly older peers giving me opportunities to go and take rehearsals for their choirs when they themselves could not.
After a wonderful year of music making, Raucous Rossini took flight. Some friends and I were sitting in a local pub, discussing how to build on our recent gala concert tour to Italy. The subject of doing an opera came up and eventually a friend remembered an opera that his teacher has told him about, Rossini's one act opera La Cambiale di Matrimonio, the rest as they say, is history. We began by putting together the music in RCS’s Bridge Week with our cast and pianist. Bridge Week is a wonderful week where our tutors at the Conservatoire give us an opportunity to apply for a small budget and rehearsal space and then they let us get on with it! Our opening night was a great success!
The question that always follows me is, ‘what’s next?’ Such an incredible amount of work and passion goes into each project we do, and then it is over. Each time we must follow it up with something better and more ambitious, standing still is not an option. Cue the orchestra. Hands down the best two weeks of my musical life started when we began rehearsals with the orchestra for La Cambiale di Matrimonio in early February. The orchestra had been put together by my friend and orchestral manager for Raucous Rossini, Ben Kearsley. Ben is a superb violist and somehow managed to convince a bunch of equally superb musicians to come and join us on our seemingly mad mission to perform Rossini here in Glasgow and beyond.
This project epitomises all I love about the city. Within our orchestra and cast for Raucous Rossini’s performance of La Cambiale we had a tremendous and diverse group of characters. With over seven different nationalities and people from all walks of life, all of them with different stories and experiences, united under the banner of a passion for music.
So this summer we start rehearsals with the singers and our new director India Crawford. We will be performing the opera L’inganno Felice here in in Scotland, down south, and lastly in Italia.
I owe Glasgow so much, I hope in some way I can repay the opportunities it has given me by providing the same for others.