BECOMING AN OPERA SINGER
In tune with this weekend’s festivities Lucy Mervik, an Opera singer sponsored by Underwoods Solicitors, hijacks my blog for a day.
Fresh from the convent, a young Dorset girl arrives in the Big Smoke, full of operatic hopes and dreams. 12 years on, after 8 years of formal music education, 2 years of floating between Australia, Germany and UK, another 2 years on a Young Artist Programme and one daughter later, I still feel like that young Dorset girl, with my hopes and dreams intact, but a little bit closer!
Being a young and ambitious opera singer I wouldn’t let anything knock me off my path, no matter how convoluted and winding the road! I would flash my smile at potential employers, sponsors and audience members; I became a better actress than a singer, often fooling myself that finances would be fine, arriving on stage in a glitzy concert gown yet barely being able to rub two pennies together for the tube ride home.
Working several jobs whilst completing my degree and Masters, I never lost sight of my goal, and thanks to Underwoods Solicitors I had financial support for my tuition fees, and the knowledge that others believed in me.
On completing a Masters of Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, I spent two seasons in Germany and then relocated to Perth with my fiancé. One huge advantage to being a singer is that you can do your job anywhere, and moving to the most remote city in the world certainly seemed to put that theory to the test! I auditioned for the state opera company, West Australian Opera and was delighted, and relieved, to be offered chorus work in all their operas and a small role in the first main stage production of the season.
18 months on and I was offered a position on their Young Artist Programme, despite being 4 months pregnant with our first child. I continued on, singing in main stage productions until I was fit to burst, asking wardrobe staff for mens’ braces to lift the heavy material of the skirts off my ever burgeoning bump!
High heels were out, and comfy character shoes were in, costumes had to be let out left, right and centre! I was competing on the concert platform too, with only 3 weeks until my due date – but I was reassured that a patron of the competition had, in his day, been a highly sought after obstetrician, and if anything were ‘to happen’ he would jump (or rather hobble) on stage to my aid!
I returned to work and studying for the Young Artist Programme just 2 weeks after giving birth to our beautiful daughter Ella Grace, rehearsals and classes seemed easy compared to the night feeds, constant nappies and juggling of babysitters, and I had to be super organised. The hard work paid off, and despite having a baby of only 6 months of age, I was offered the prestigious Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Scholarship 2012.
The year is flying by with lessons, coachings, language classes, roles to learn and operas and operatic concerts to perform in. At the end of the year I will be auditioning and competing in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Perth.
Perhaps we all have our fate written in the stars, and all our decisions made for us already, or maybe, just maybe, our fortune is changed by the good will of others.
Sponsorship and support comes in all shapes and sizes, and whilst financial support is often what artists need, moral support cannot be underestimated.
Having Kerry Underwood sitting in the audience in a theatre in Germany, having flown there to support me in my first post-masters production, meant I knew that one person in the audience already believed in me. Now my job was to convince the other 99!
Visit Lucy’s website at
Lucy Mervik is sponsored by Underwoods Solicitors