Jennifer Parker, MMus Mezzo-Soprano, 2015

Before coming to the RNCM I had a diverse career including working in social care for five years; then I was a secondary school English teacher for two years. I have always been passionate about singing. I regularly took part in local Federation Music Festivals, and performed with Silk Opera for three years.

In 2014 I decided to pursue singing full-time and to embark upon postgraduate study, and I chose to study at the RNCM because it has an excellent reputation for producing wonderful singers and fantastic operas. It was also important that I train in a friendly, supportive environment, and I was really impressed by the atmosphere in the College when I came to audition.

The highlight of my time here so far would have to be Stefan Janski’s production of Lehár’s The Merry Widow where I played the role of Valencienne. It was such an incredible experience and everything was wonderful, from the costumes to my colleagues, and I have made some lifelong friends. It was a fantastic learning opportunity and I learnt a great deal about working with others, working with conductors as well as really developing my stagecraft.

The externals list gives us lots of opportunities to work with choral societies and perform in opera galas. In particular, the Opera North Chorus Mentorship scheme has been brilliant and gives us a taste of what life a professional chorister is like and helps us to understand the professional process of producing operas. We have a mentor within the Opera North chorus who offers advice, and they have also come into RNCM opera rehearsals to offer feedback. We have the privilege of singing in their rep calls and watching production rehearsals for their forthcoming shows, as well as being able to see the finished products for free. Mock auditions provide invaluable guidance for the future.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my teacher towards my final recital before starting with Opera Holland Park. After that, I hope to be able to return to the RNCM to undertake a further year of study through the Postgraduate Diploma Advanced Studies.