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15 Questions to Kate Royal

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I'm very well, at home in London having a night in before a show tomorrow.

What's on your schedule right now?
I'm currently singing Erste Dame for Glyndebourne and learning La Contessa for a tour in the Autumn.

The Klavier-Festival Ruhr is right ahead. What can you tell us about your performance?
It is a lovely varied programme of Purcell, Schumann, Strauss, Ravel, Poulenc and Britten accompanied by Graham Johnson, a real treat for me to sing with him.

One of the Festival’s ideas seems to be that the perception of (Classical) music be altered by the use of unusual locations. What’s your point of view on this?
It is an interesting idea, a location can change one's perception of the music a lot. Recently I sang Mozart's Requiem in Auschwitz as part of a memorial film and that experience totally changed the way I look at the work.

On a more general level: What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
A good live performer is one who takes risks and is constantly challenging themselves. What I hope to do is engage with the audience so they feel what I feel, I want them to be part of the action.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part is trying not to be too harsh on myself, one has to be highly critical but always to find fun and joy in it. If you've had a bad day then you have to let go of it all before you walk on stage. The best part is the sense of adventure and never knowing what is going to happen next, also getting to work with musicians that I have admired from afar for so long.

What's your view on the classical music scene  at the moment. Is there a crisis?
I think there is a crisis in the education of music in schools, the power of music is underestimated and this has led to alot of young people having little or no contact with classical music. Having said that it always surprises me that in London there seems to be a huge concert going contingent but they are made up of a limited section of the public.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Well of course when putting anything onto disc there is a sense that there are already 20 for sale of the same repertoire but there is always something new to  bring, no two voices are the same and a recording just captures a moment in time.

What does the word "interpretation" mean to you?
Interpretation means trying to find the composer's intention, why the poet wrote the poem. These elements affect the outcome. Good music is easy to interpret because all the instructionns are there, one just has to take care that they are followed.

True or false: It is the duty of the srtist to put his personal emotions into the music?
False, it is not an artists 'duty'. It is impossible not to be emotionally involved but there is a limit as to how you let it affect you and how that imposes onto the music.

True or false: "Music is my first love".

I suppose that is true.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music before they can really
appreciate it.

False, anyone can enjoy it to what ever level they choose. Some will come to a concert and study the score all the way through, others will come to see what dress you are wearing. It's up to them.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall, what would be on your program?

Perhaps some concerts combining classical and jazz, a friend recently did a concert of Ravel and Debussy piano pieces alongside some inprovised jazz works, it was facinating to hear the two performed so closely and how linked they felt.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I started out playing the piano and at one point was a serious about persuing a career in it but soon realised the chances of that were so limited. I went to music school with piano and singing as a joint study but the singing took over very naturally. I know without a doubt it was the right choice and so far has been a tremendous journey.

Klavier-Festival Ruhr:
Kate Royal performing with Graham Johnson

Kate Royal

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