How To Become A Soprano

Ahead of Friday’s show, Jade Phoenix charts how she went from Hannah Montana to Mozart…

I started singing at a very young age, and my parents noticed it straight away that I had a good memory of melody and lyrics, and was often singing instead of eating my dinner, napping or doing homework.

My mum asked me when I was ten or so if I would like to start singing lesson and I jumped at the chance. I actually started those lessons above The Whale, in the studios with Fiona Hickey. I was under the impression that I was going to be singing my little heart out with Beyonce, Britney Spears or even Hannah Montana! I was hit with the stark reality that every classical singer starts out with the 24 Italian songs and arias in The Yellow Book. I had absolutely no idea how to sing in Italian or how to read music, or how to follow a piano!

I learned a lot of the basics in those two years before moving on to the incredible Mary Brennan, who has been teaching young singers across the country for many years, producing many of Ireland’s most-loved singers. I don’t know where I would be without her; Mary cares so deeply about her students and I will be forever in her debt for what she has given me. I went on to do my Bachelor’s degree with Mary in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and after graduating I made the decision to emigrate to London for my Masters.

This was particularly difficult as I moved country, alone, during the height of the pandemic; I had to study a lot in my tiny London flat and for a while couldn’t even leave my room because of how bad the pandemic had become. But things gradually started to open up again and I managed to have a wonderful time in those last 3 months in London.

I graduated with First Class Honours under the tuition of Yvonne Kenny. I have been very fortunate to have worked on opera productions throughout the pandemic, my first one being at Wexford Fesitval Opera singing the role of Alice in Verdi’s Falstaff, followed by the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and then back to Wexford again, where I made my debut singing Juliet in Bellini’s i Capuleti e i Montecchi.

And it just felt amazing…

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