Máxima Magazine Interview
11 Women who are changing Portuguese Music
Inês Simões tells her story and uncovers what to be a soprano in Portugal means.
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My beginnings - a little story for the curious
At the age of four, I began my musical studies at the Fundação Musical dos Amigos das Crianças, learning the piano and the violin. As part of the school’s children's choir, I took part in many opera productions at Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos – including La bohème, Parsifal and Stravinsky’s Perséphone. I made my solo debut there in Weill’s Street Scene, singing the role of Mary Hildebrand which lead to recor a soprano solo for the CD Canções Tradicionais Portuguesas (Edição AWPM005, 1999).
Later on, I completed a BMus with Distinction at Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra, where I studied the role of Anne Truelove with the mezzo-soprano Liliana Bizineche and performed Bastienne for the Universidade de Évora and Aminta in Mozart’s Il Re Pastore with conductor Jean-Marc Burfin. I started to venture in the competition world and won the 2nd Prize at the Portuguese singing competiton Prémio José Alegria (2008) and the Excellency Prize in the Opera Plus Course (2007).
It was during these formative years that I developed a love for the song repertoire and formed a partnership with pianist Daniel Godinho that has lasted almost two decades. Together we explored this repertoire at the International Lied Masterclass at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Rudolf Jansen, David Selig and Udo Reineman. We perform regularly throughout Portugal and for the Portuguese Classical Radio Antena2.
In 2009 I moved to London to study with Susan McCulloch at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where I completed a MMus in Vocal Studies, working with Peter Robinson, Lada Valesova, and Elizabeth Marcus as coaches and Eugene Asti, Ian Burnside, Richard Jackson, Andrew West, Pamela Lidiard, Emanuele Moris and Sarah Walker as Song Repertoire teachers. I made my Barbican Hall debut with the Wozzeck Suite, singing Marie, under the baton of Sian Edwards. I also sang in Graham Johnson’s Concert Series and was chosen to perform part of Julian Philips’s The Followers, directed by Olivia Fuchs, for the New Opera Research Day in the Barbican Pit Theatre. My love of contemporary music became more and more apparent and I was awarded Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize for contemporary song at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2010. That same year when I won the 3rd Prize at the prestigious annual competition Prémio Jovens Músicos.
Following my Guildhall studies, I won a place on English National Opera’s Opera Works programme. Iappeared as part of ENO’s Homage to John Cage in A Dinner Party (March 2012), in their Mini Operas project and in a creative workshop at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and Casa da Música in Porto (July 2012). During that year, I focused on operatic roles from Handel and Mozart and found an intense love for the Italian Bel Canto Repertoire. In 2012, I was invited to study at the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill and Nuccia Focile, with whom I perfected singing in the style of the Bel Canto. I completed this MA in Advanced Studies with Distinction and was privileged to work with Michael Pollock, Jane Samuel, Gareth Jones, Andrew Greenwood and Julian Smith. Since 2013, I continue to work privately with Paula Anglin - I am a firm believer that a singer must always continue to have a second pair of ears!
I have taken part in masterclasses with singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Ann Murray, Nelly Miricioiu, Della Jones, Yvonne Minton, Rebecca Evans, Edith Wiens, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Graham Clark, Ryland Davies, Joseph Rouleau and Gerald Finley; with the conductors Richard Bonynge and Paolo Olmi; with pianists Graham Johnson, Marta Gulyas and Julius Drake and with coaches Joyce Fieldsend, David Gowland and Anthony Negus.
My career took off when making my Gulbenkian début with the role of Solomon's Queen in Handel's oratorio, Solomon, under the baton of Paul McCreesh and opposite Iestyn Davies in February 2014, returning there to sing the Messiah in the 2015/2016 season. Afterwards I premiered Jamie Man's new opera, Play, at the same concert hall, an engagement following the success of a concert of new works, composed for my voice and the Gulbenkian Orchestra, conducted by Magnus Lindberg.
And the rest is history, carefully recorded in the Schedule section!
DACAPO Magazine Interview
Portuguese music magazine DACAPO interviews lirico-spinto soprano Inês Simões, giving an overview of her profile, past successes and future projects.
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