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Masterclasses in Lockdown

We have been very busy this Spring in Lockdown, starting with the May Masterclasses, so although at first we thought we could not go ahead in any capacity, thanks to the powers of technology, and the flexibility, enthusiasm and creativity of all those involved, we were able to still make some music, which we are now delighted to be able to share with you.

Ach, ich fühl’s
The Magic Flute – Mozart, sung by Daniella Sicari

La Fleur que tu m’avais jetée
Carmen – Bizet, sung by Ryan Vaughan Davies

O Salce, Salce
or ‘The Willow Aria’ (Desdemona’s Aria), Otello – Verdi, sung by Emily Scott

Look! Through the Port
Billy Budd – Britten, sung by Emyr Lloyd Jones

Allez, laissez-moi seul… Coeur sans amour
Cendrillon – Massenet, sung by Shakira Tsindos


Wyn Davies – Music Director

Wyn served his apprenticeship as repetiteur, chorus master and conductor at Welsh National Opera on leaving university and has since conducted a wide operatic repertoire ranging from Monteverdi through Mozart and Rossini at ENO, Janacek (WNO/Scottish Opera), to Gershwin and Puccini (Opera North) and from Ravel and Verdi (New Zealand Opera) to his own performing edition of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (Opera Northern Ireland/Buxton Festival). He spent two seasons as assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and undertook two winter seasons for the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts in Canada which included the award-winning production of Weill’s Threepenny Opera in Toronto.  Other engagements have included opera in Spain, Japan, Australia and South Africa and many concerts including the Britten War Requiem in Belgrade and recently Tippet’s A Child of our Time with the New Zealand Youth Orchestra and Chorus. He has had particularly long associations with Opera North, New Zealand Opera (where he was Director of Music from 2005 to 2019) and Clonter Opera where he has made many appearances over the years as conductor, pianist and coach.


Florent Mourier – Pianist

Florent Mourier is a French concert pianist specialised in song and opera repertoire. He is passionate about music making, drama, pedagogy, communication and the human voice. His key words are honesty, passion and flexibility. Florent is an active recitalist, he has played at the Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Hall, Milton Court, St John’s Smith Square in London, Festival d’Aix and Fondation Royaumont in France, Utrecht’s Tivoli Vredenburg and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in the Netherlands. Both as a solo and a collaborative pianist, he has participated in masterclasses with Dmitri Bashkirov, Pascal Devoyon, Martin Katz, Malcolm Martineau, Iain Burnside, Graham Johnson, Julius Drake, Alain Planès, Renee Fleming, Barbara Hannigan, Edith Wiens, Angelika Kirchschlager, Gerald Finley, Matthew Rose, Stéphane Degout, Richard Stokes, Wolfgang Holzmair and Joyce DiDonato. Florent is a laureate of the 2016 Dutch Classical Talent Competition and performed a tour of twelve song recitals at major venues in the Netherlands in April 2017. Along with mezzo-soprano Grace Durham, Florent was a semi-finalist of the 2019 Das Lied International Song Competition in Heidelberg, Germany.Florent has worked as a vocal coach/répétiteur/assistant conductor on productions of Zemlinsky’s Eine Florentinische Tragödie (Fondation Royaumont/Opéra de Rennes), Verdi’sFalstaff (Royaumont), Bizet’s Carmen (Barefoot Opera) and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Opera North). Most recently he worked on the world premiere of Georgiana, a new opera in the style of an 18th century pasticcio, specially commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Buxton International Festival, which won the ‘Achievement in Opera’ award at the UK Theatre Awards in 2019.Florent is an ENOA Young Artist, a Britten-Pears Young Artist, an Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse alumnus, a laureate of the Fondation Royaumont and a member of the Académie du Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Florent graduated from the Artist Masters’ course in solo performance, vocal accompaniment and chamber music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and went on to be a Young Artist Répétiteur at the National Opera Studio. Florent now works as a staff pianist and vocal coach at the Guildhall School of Music, the National Opera Studio and for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House.


Daniella Sicari – Soprano

Daniella is an Australian/British soprano who completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Mary Plazas. Performed roles include Despina Cosi fan Tutte, La Fée Cendrillon and Gretel Hansel & Gretel. She previously trained at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with Patricia Price. Daniella is the recipient of numerous awards such as the WA Young People & The Arts International Award, Amanda Roocroft Prize, Joyce & Michael Kennedy Strauss Prize, John Cameron Award for Lieder, Elizabeth Harwood Prize and Robin Kay Memorial Prize. She most recently came second place at the Bampton Opera Competition.  She has worked with Clonter Opera for various projects including their Opera Prize (2018) School Workshops (2018), Touring Opera Gala (2018) and is delighted to be back. Recent performances include ‘Sticks’ in the UK premier of The Orphans of Koombu (Buxton International Festival) and Chorus/step out roles in Sweeney Todd with Bergen Nasjonale Opera. Upcoming engagements include Anne Egerman A Little night Music with Buxton International Festival and Gianetta The Elixir of Love with Waterperry Opera Festival in collaboration with English National Opera.


Ryan Vaughan Davies – Tenor

Welsh tenor Ryan Vaughan Davies is studying his Masters of Performance with Russel Smythe at the Royal College of Music. He is the Ivor Llewelyn Foster Scholar generously supported by Monika Saunders Award. Ryan made his professional debut as Second Priest in Longborough Festival Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte, conducted by Anthony Negus and directed by Thomas Guthrie. He has since worked with the La Serenissima for their production of Tisbe in The Buxton International Festival and at The Grange Festival for their productions of Falstaff and Belshazzar, whilst also understudying the role of Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro. Ryan also enjoys singing on the concert platform with recent performances in the USA and Norway. He has recently worked with Dennis O’Neill, Roger Vignoles and Stuart Burrows on performance and repertoire. He looks forward to performing in the ensemble of Puccini’s Il Tabarro at the BBC Proms.


Emily Scott – Soprano

Emily is a 23 year old Soprano from the North of England. She is currently studying her Masters at the Royal College of Music with Tim Evans-Jones as her voice teacher and Gary Matthewman as her vocal coach. She is the proud recipient of the Karaviotis scholarship. Her roles performed include, Donna Anna from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Miss Jessel Turn of the Screw, the title role of Rodelinda by Handel, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Countess from Le Nozze di Figaro and Hero from Beatrice et Benedict. She was cast as a Hen and Voice of the Forrest in the Royal College of Music Opera School’s production of Janacek’s Cunning little vixen and was a chorus member in the Royal Academy of Music’s production of Semele. As of April this year, Emily will studying at the Rodolfo Celletti Bel Canto Academy in Martina, Italy as a young artist.


Emyr Lloyd Jones – Baritone

Emyr Lloyd Jones is a 23 year old baritone studying with Quentin Hayes. Emyr is the winner of the Elsie Thurston Prize, the James Martin Oncken Song Prize,  the Alexander Young Prize and the Manchester Welsh Society prize at the RNCM, and the Joyce Budd Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers. He has performed in the RNCM opera chorus in productions of Handel’s Theodora, Massenet’s Cendrillon and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and recently Pinellino in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Obstinate in Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress and Officier in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites. During the summer of 2018, Emyr appeared at Buxton Festival Opera in a semi-staged performance of Brescianello’s Tisbe with La Serenissima. Recently Emyr was a finalist in the Frederic Cox Award. Upcoming performances include the role of Edmund Bertram in Dove’s Mansfield Park at the RNCM and Adonis in Venus and Adonis with Mid Wales Opera. Emyr will be joining Buxton Festival Opera Young Artist Program in the summer.


Shakira Tsindos – Mezzo Soprano

This year, Australian mezzo soprano Shakira Tsindos will performance Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Jill in a newly commission opera Little England, and the title role in Carmen. Shakira has been an active performer in the national and state opera companies in Australia, performing the roles of Agatha in By the Light of the Moon for Opera Australia; Dorothée in Cendrillon, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Il Cucolo in La bella dormente nel bosco for Victorian Opera. Her European credits include; Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas in Maulbronn, Germany, Dorabella in Così fan tutte in Sicily and the Daughter in HERA’s production of Generation in the UKShakira is currently completing the Guildhall Artist Masters in Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and has held a scholarship with the Melba Opera Trust, the Acclaim Awards and Opera Scholars Australia.



Daniella Sicari

Do you feel the experience has been complimentary or additional to the opportunities offered by conservatoires?
Yes, I think the opportunity to work with amazing coaches on repertoire is wonderful. Of course, this was all online and quite different to what we are all used to but it was so incredible to see how it all panned out.

What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
Waking up in the morning with a purpose to sing for people and the ease of working on details of arias in the comfort of our lockdown spaces. I got a lot from the sessions with Florent and Wyn. Knowing exactly what rep I was going to be working on was KEY! This meant I was able to prepare much better.

What did you find most difficult?
For me it was getting the perfect time to record. We had some people working in our flat and then it got too dark to film. Of course, there is not much you can do about that but interesting that those are things I needed to think about. It was a very supportive environment and I felt like I grew a lot as a performer. Wonderful colleagues too!

Ryan Vaughan Davies

Do you feel the experience has been complimentary or additional to the opportunities offered by conservatoires?
Outside feedback from professionals is vital in order to know what industry standard is. Working with Florent and Wyn has really added to the work I have been doing at college. As I have been working online during this time with the RCM having additional coaching with Clonter has meant I have been able to take my aria to the next level of work.

What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
The experience was most rewarding due to thinking it would not be possible for it to go ahead! It was great to check in each morning and get to know everyone and to work so detailed on one aria.

What did you find most difficult?
The difficulty mainly arose due to connection issues online. It was also an odd experience singing into a camera and not being able to communicate in person. I think the whole week was planned out well and it was such a pleasure to be a part of it!

Emily Scott

Do you feel the experience has been complimentary or additional to the opportunities offered by conservatoires?
Absolutely. Not only has the course been a breath of fresh air during this difficult time, it was well run and beneficial to my singing.  The detailed coachings were more than helpful, with Wyn’s attention to detail really bringing my aria to life, and Florent’s help with languages and the rhythms of the piece.

What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
Coming together as a team during this isolated period was a wonderful feeling.  The morning team meetings, started the day off in such a positive way and was very inspiring. Learning how to cope with technical things such as recording and working with a camera was extremely beneficial and definitely something that I will benefit me in the future.

What did you feel about making the video?
I very much enjoyed making the video.  It was a challenge out of my comfort zone and I found it liberating, due to there being no actual audience at the time.  I was more comfortable in front of the camera and it was lovely to be able to watch back the work we had put into our individual arias.

Should we find that we are having to continue to work this way in future, do you think, now with the benefit of hindsight, that we could have improved this way of working, and the formula of this course?
No. I thought the course from start to finish was friendly, welcoming, well organised and fun.  To be honest, I wish the course was on for longer than just one week! I learnt so much, and have made some invaluable contacts.

Shakira Tsindos

Do you feel the experience has been complimentary or additional to the opportunities offered by conservatoires?  No/yes  If yes please describe below the “Added Value” you feel Clonter has to offer + any other comments you wish to make.
YES, as a singer at the beginning of their career, it is so important to gather as many techniques and strategies to produce the most polished performance possible. Through the masterclass week, Clonter allowed us the opportunity to work with Wyn Davies and Florent Mourier, who both offered further insight into the artistic and musical ideas of our arias and repertoire. This process is similar to coachings offered by conservatoires, however with the added bonus of an intensive experience with a higher frequency of coachings to best strengthen understanding and exploration of our music.

What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
I always enjoy the opportunity to meet and collaborate with new people, so along with my coachings with Wyn and Florent, I really enjoyed our daily zoom check ins with the other singers. Being from Australia, my network of UK singers is much smaller than a singer who has grown up here so I’m thrilled to have now connected with the other 4 singers all through social media since and look forward to a chance to work with each other soon.

Would you like to take part in a Clonter masterclass again or production?
I would love to work with Clonter again. Something that shone through this week for me, was the passion for the artform and the love of working together to create something special. I think that excitement and energy is crucial when working on a production, and perhaps one of the reasons why Clonter’s productions are of such high quality and why they attract such highly skilled and talented singers.

Florent Mourier

Do you feel the experience has been complimentary or additional to the opportunities offered by conservatoires?
Yes – I haven’t watched any split-screen video that came from current students and staff of a conservatoire.

What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
Being able to collaborate online with singers that were all in different parts of the country!

What did you find most difficult?
This type of collaboration is new to all of us and it requires a lot of preparation and flexibility. To send useful recordings to singers that I have never worked with before was a challenge and a rewarding experience after all.

What did you feel about making the video?
Recording videos under normal circumstances already presents its own set of challenges, and the current situation does not only amplifies these but brings an entirely new set of unique challenges such as ensuring that piano and voice are absolutely synchronised without actually playing together. An absolute learning experience for us all and I am delighted that the videos turned out well.


Until next week, take care!