Valda Wilson sings opera’s praises
27 November 2009 | Franz Felicius
It has been a busy year for Valda Wilson. As well as taking on the exacting role of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, the 27-year-old soprano was a semi-finalist in Operalia 2009, Placido Domingo’s world opera competition.
Now settled in London and auditioning for future roles, the Australian-born singer is finally able to draw breath and look back at her stellar rise. «It has happened so quickly over the past 13 months», she says. «I can’t believe how much I’ve done, and how much I’ve learnt».
«To have sung Susanna for Lyric Opera Studio Weimar was wonderful. I believe it’s the longest female role in opera – but it didn’t feel like an endurance test. It’s a masterpiece, so it was a real blessing to get the chance to do it».
Wilson’s success in Operalia adds another accolade to the many she has earned in her short career. «It was extraordinary», she says. «I’d never competed at an international level like that before. The judging panel consisted of 12 artistic directors from opera houses all over the world».
Her most rewarding operatic experience, though, was in capturing the hearts of a very different audience. «Last year, I spent six months in The Barber of Seville for Oz Opera – performing to primary-school children. It was lovely to sing for such an honest audience – it’s a real, raw response you get from kids. If I start to get at all jaded, I think back to their little faces».
There seems little chance of that, as Wilson’s hopes for the future are refreshingly simple: «I just want to work with people who get as much enjoyment out of their performances as I do».
Rich flavours of Italy
If any nation knows about opera, it’s Italy – and they know a thing or two about fine coffee too. The Tuscan tradition for gutsy, full-bodied roasts is the inspiration for Taylors of Harrogate’s Rich Italian – and there’s no better way to end a meal. Rich Italian is carefully roasted to ensure that it keeps all of its character – resulting in a luxurious flavour without a hint of bitterness. Available from all major retailers.