To whom it may concern,
I am an Opera Singer in training and am writing to you to ask for your help. I have been accepted onto the Master of Music: Opera at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow commencing 25th of September 2017. Having received a very gracious scholarship of £12,000 from the conservatoire itself, I am still shy of £5,298 to fully funding my tuition fees of £17,298 (£8,649 per year). It is imperative that I am successful in funding my tuition and maintenance costs in order to continue my professional development and growth.
The undergraduate Programme at the RWCMD was the start of my path to a career. Under the tutelage of Janet Price, we nurtured the elements within me to strengthen and develop my vocal ability, stamina, knowledge and attitude; all of which now contribute to my growth as an artist.
During my time at the RWCMD, I took part in a number of truly significant and memorable Masterclasses/Workshops. These include working with Simon Lepper (Pianist/Vocal Coach), Ingrid Surgeonur (Pianist/Vocal Coach), Donald Maxwell (Opera Singer), Rebecca Evans (Opera Singer), Angela Livingstone (Head of Vocal & Opera at RWCMD), John Fisher (Pianist/Vocal Coach), Alice Farnham (Conductor), Martin Constantine (Director), David Jones (Conductor), Carlo Rizzi (Conductor) and many more. By seizing these opportunities, I gained knowledge of the voice, the career in which I’m heading into, made contacts & gained performance experience.
A list of my favourite performances which had the most impact on my development can be found below:
- Performing for Dementia & Alzheimer patients in hospital wards/nursing homes of the surrounding areas as part of the ‘Music in Hopsital’s’ Scheme(2011-2016)
- Premiering & touring Steven Diesley’s ‘Doctor Ferrets Marvellous Medicine Road Show’ to 8 primary schools of the surrounding areas in Cardiff and The Vale (2013).
- Playing the role(s) of Judge & Chorus Member in Opera Ddraig’s performance Orpheus in the Underworld at the Coal Exchange, Cardiff Bay. This also helped raise awareness of the Coal Exchange as a listed historical building of significance to Cardiff (2013).
- Performing for the Mayor of Caerphilly and her Consort at various dinner engagements in Caerphilly Castle’s Great Hall (2012-2014).
- Playing the role(s) of Swede & Crony in Welsh National Youth Opera’s – Paul Bunyan on the Donald Gordon stage at the Wales Millennium Centre (2013) http://www.theartsdesk.com/opera/paul-bunyan-welsh-national-youth-opera-cardiff
- Taking part in a number of the RWCMD’s Flagship opera productions. These include the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ at the Sherman Theatre (2014) and the role of Superintendent Budd in Britten’s ‘Albert Herring’ in the Dora Stouztker Hall (2015). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/review-magic-flute-royal-welsh-6897514
- Working with Magnetic Opera to play the role of Don Basilio in Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ performed at the Edinburgh fringe festival (2014).
- For my 4th year module - Major Vocational Project: I chose to prepare shortened versions of 3 Gilbert & Sullivan favourite operetta’s which would then be toured to local venues of South Wales, North Wales and Hertfordshire areas. This was a Major task which required the shared management/responsibility of Stage Manager, Cast Manager, Arts Manager and a lead role in each Operetta. Despite the pressures, It was a major success (personal praises from the Mayor of Conwy and her consort can be provided).
- Annually representing the RWCMD in the ‘College Chorus’ performances in St Davids Hall. These include Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (2011), Verdi’s Requiem (2012), Mahler no.2 (2013) & Britten’s War Requiem (2014). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/brittens-war-requiem-ambitious-student-8061219 http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/showbiz/carlo-rizzi-makes-royal-welsh-2018263
- Receiving the Dolan Evans Memorial Award for my part in a Duet from an Opera or Oratorio (2015).
My absolute favourite performance opportunity which had the most impact/success on my development was playing the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff (2014). This was my first major role in an Opera of significance to me personally. Working alongside MA opera students and leading directors/conductors who were not only older in years but also more advanced and experienced in terms of their vocal and stage training was daunting at first, but I quickly felt comfortable and confident among them. This enabled me to learn quickly and with great detail from such talented individuals. This is where my immense love for Opera truly stems from.
By December 2014, I had secured a place on the MA in Opera Performance course at the RWCMD. After much consideration, I concluded that although my voice was ready, I was not. Some 'time out' of education was the best thing for me and I still stand by that to this day. Having spent just over a year out of education has allowed me to grow as a person, to immerse myself into the freelance profession in Wales and the UK and to learn how the world around me works. Whilst working full time at an international backpackers, I participated in a number of productions and concerts from the Highlands of Scotland to the South Coast of Brighton. Working closely with Clonter opera to perform the role of Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata, 2016 (Reference from Clonter Opera is available upon request). Working with Opera Coast in a Russian Christmas carol service (2015) and a scenes production of Massenet’s Manon where I played the role of Comte Des Griuex (2015). Working closely with Island Opera to put together and perform a musical suitable for families and children. First performed at the Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye, Scotland and later revived at the Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff (2015-2016).
I have now been under the tutelage of Janet Price for almost six years. Janet would often attend the College Opera’s and my Performance Examinations. Having Janet witness these first hand gave us the opportunity to work on my performance platform and not just vocal technique. I consistently received between 65% and 70% in all of my End of Year Recitals, despite the level of difficulty being raised each year. This contributed to my end result of a 2:1.
Janet has been my guiding light and the voice of wisdom since the start of my career. I consider her to be a dear friend as well as an excellent teacher. Because of Janet’s loving nature and wisdom, I have worked very hard, developed a good work ethic and grown as an artist and person.
I believe I am ready for the Opera Course. I am well experienced, wise beyond my years and extremely eager to make the absolute most of the opportunities that the RCS can offer me under the tutelage of some of the world’s leading and pioneering educators/artists.
Singing gives me purpose. It allows me to express myself in an efficient, yet beautiful way. I want to share this and to communicate with others.
I hope my letter serves you well and will aid your decision making.
Rhys Alun Thomas