It’s a week today until I’ll be giving a 30 minute lecture recital via Zoom focusing in on Jersey’s unique musical history and talking about the influences for the Jèrriais Song Project! (Tuesday 20th April, 7:30pm)
Now is the perfect time to donate and get involved – check out the video below for more info!
Thanks again to all of those who have already donated!
The same year that John Ireland composed ‘Sea Fever’ (1913) setting John Masefield’s poetry inspired by his love of Jersey, John Ireland also composed a song cycle of three songs called ‘Marigold’. Interestingly this cycle could not be further from the broad, English-sounding-hymn-like composition of Sea Fever. For his composition of ‘Marigold’ John Ireland obviously took inspiration from the French-impressionist style, even titling it ‘Marigold, an impression’, and using a translation of Verlaine’s poem ‘Spleen’ for the final movement.*
During my research this was a very exciting find, to me it clearly shows the influence of Jersey’s unique ‘French-ness’ on an English composer. What was far more exciting for me, was the title of this piece and the incredible significance it holds for me. Marigold was the name of my grandfather’s boat that I spent many happy weekends and summer holidays on. My grandfather worked on the sea for most of his life by day, and then spent his evenings working as a jazz guitarist in Jersey’s booming entertainment scene from the late 50’s throughout the remainder of the 20th century and then some!
*Verlaine was also the poet for which Debussy would use for his Fêtes Galantes II, which was coincidentally sent to his Paris editors from his suite in the Grand Hotel in St. Helier.
For me, a song cycle in Jèrriais is a celebration of Jersey’s rich culture and unique influence on composers either side of the Channel. Written and performed by modern musicians all hailing from the Island, but often living away pursing careers in the UK and further afield. Jersey’s musical pedigree is testament to the wonderful opportunities and expertise our little Island offers. I truly believe making classical music accessible and relevant is the responsibility of Artists and institutions in the industry, the Jèrriais Song Project aims to break down these barriers and show the people and processes that are often behind closed doors! So what does Jersey mean to you? The unique wildlife, environment, architecture and history? I want to hear from individuals with stories to tell and share!
When the world’s artists are forced to stay at home to help curb the destruction of this terrible virus, creativity is sometimes hard to find. I’ve been blown away with the incredible offerings many of my fiends and colleagues have made during this time, not only in musical performance form, but in hobbies and passions long pushed aside in what can be a hectic and all-consuming career. We’ve been forced to stop, to think, to reconnect with who we were before we were music and theatre makers, and discovered we are still all of who we’ve always been. Just because we’ve stopped ‘doing’ doesn’t mean we’ve stopped ‘being’. We will still ‘be’ here.
If you’d have told me a year ago that in 2020 we’d be months into a global pandemic and I’d be video calling Dolora Zajick I’m not sure which one I would have believed less. But here we are! Thanks to the incredible planning and scheduling of IYDV their month long programme is being held completely online. Students and professionals working together across the entirety of the globe’s time zones. It is nothing short of a dream to work on Verdi roles with Ms Zajick, and the fact that it’s over Zoom has done nothing to curb the nervous tummy all singers will know about! Having this programme to prepare for has kept me practising and inspired for months, and although it’s not quite the West Coast adventure I’d planned, it’s been one of the most incredible vocal experiences. Studying in the UK with a ‘dramatic’ voice has sometimes felt isolating and confusing, especially as an undergrad with some pretty hefty ‘gear’ and practically no ‘idea’ about how to use it. Learning with dramatic voice specialists has been both nourishing and motivating, and I just hope we can meet on the West Coast in the years to come!
“Georgia Mae Bishop made Madame Arvidson into a striking creation, bringing a very different physicality to it than Rosalind Plowright in the main cast, yet equally vivid. Bishop… mined a thrilling lower register to striking effect.” (PlanetHugil).
“…whilst Madam Arvidson (performed superbly by Georgia Mae Bishop) tells their fortunes.” (Alice Williams, Youthoperareview.co.uk)
“… fortune-teller Madame Arvidson (Georgia Mae Bishop as an appropriately OTT psychic). (arbuturian.com)
“…notable performances were Georgia Mae Bishop’s confident portrayal of Madame Arvidson the fortune teller”… (KH, artmuselondon.com)
It’s now only a matter of days until rehearsals start for Opera Holland Park’s production of Verdi’s un ballo in maschera, in which I will be performing the role of Madame Arvidson as a Young Artist for the Schools’ matinee, a dedicated young Artist performance towards the end of the run, and as cover for the magnificent Rosalind Plowright.
I feel it’s important to say that opportunities like this don’t come around every day for a young singer. To perform a full Verdi role, on a (sizeable) London stage with a fantastic orchestra is both thrilling and terrifying. The complexities of preparing a role like is both time consuming and expensive. For the latter, I am extremely grateful for the support of Audition Oracle’s bursary award which allowed me to have sessions with Matteo dalle Fratte at Melofonetica, Dominic Wheeler and my wonderful teacher Marcus van den Akker.
For any student at music college these kind of sessions are a part of a normal week, and I’m so grateful for the connections and relationships I made at Guildhall (and Trinity Laban prior to that). However, I’m sure all singers will agree with me when I say the journey doesn’t stop when you leave Conservatoire and this invaluable support from Audition Oracle has allowed me to continue developing whilst finding my way through my first year in the freelance world!
‘Georgia Mae Bishop proved an astute comedian as a spirited Filipyvena, and her strong mezzo projected the English translation with clarity’ (Peter Reed, Opera Magazine, December 2018)
‘Georgia Mae Bishop as Le Prieure delivers a stunning death scene as her impassioned mezzo-soprano generates a real feeling that she is searching her soul to its very depths. When we are used to the part being played by the likes of Deborah Polaski, we realise just how great an achievement it is for one so young to remain this powerful and convincing over such a sustained period.’ (MusicOMH) March 2018
‘…an especially strong impression was left by Georgia Mae Bishop’s sonorous Zita.’ (Opera Magazine) July 2018
‘The sick Prioress… is played with considerable force by Georgia Mae Bishop, and in the context of the work she makes the old nun’s doubts vividly disturbing’ (Classical Source) March 2018
‘Georgia Mae Bishop… a performer with a strong vocal personality and stage presence’ (Opera Magazine) March 2018
Georgia Mae Bishop rose admirably to the challenge bringing a vibrant dramatic intensity to the death scene along with an immense physicality (Planet Hugill) March 2018