An evening of songs and duets for the Festival of Chichester

Tamzin & David by Virginia Saul
Tamzin & David by Virginia Saul

Tamzin Barnett (soprano) and David Thomas (tenor) combine for La Serenata, an evening of songs and duets for the Festival of Chichester at Christ Church, Old Market Avenue on Saturday, July 8 at 7.30pm.

Recent graduates of the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music respectively, Tamzin and David are promising a varied programme spanning different cultures, traditions and languages.

For Tamzin, it also marks a return home after her three years in Manchester.

“I would love to stay in Manchester where my social life is, but I need to come back to Chichester to earn some money so I can carry on with my singing lessons and then hopefully apply to some sort of opera school in the future. I have been suggested Switzerland, but I don’t know really.

“I am still just a baby in terms of being an opera singer. 21 is very young, and I have got a lot of time, but I still need to be practising a lot. You can’t just go away and come back when you are 26!

“Apparently that’s the age because the voice grows and certain tissues around the voice soften so that you get a lot more vocal resonance and the voice gets bigger, which is better for singing repertoire where you have to sing over a big orchestra. But also you learn to develop your technique.

“A dancer hits their prime at around 20. An opera singer hits their prime in their late 20s. You shouldn’t really start training your voice until you are about 18, and then you have the intensive training and a lot of learning and memorisation. And you build body strength while you are learning.

“But also, you have to be mentally and emotionally strong to prepare for the roles you will be singing. In opera, it is as much about acting as it is about singing, and you have to learn to be heartbroken!

“But I really do love opera. It is what I want to do. It challenges me. It is a different type of singing to pop singing and musical-theatre singing.”

As for the Chichester concert: “David is a tenor. We are family friends. Our parents know each other. His dad is head of music at Bishop Luffa and my mum teaches guitar at Bishop Luffa. We have been friends for years.

“We first started performing together a few years ago. We went busking at Christmas. I saw him busking, and I decided to do it too, and we sang some carols together. And we ended up going to university at the same time at the same place.

“We get on really well, and our voices tone together. And we both wanted to do some ensemble singing because you don’t get much exposure to that. Most of the stuff we do is solo stuff. It is not that it is boring, but it can be quite lonely when you are practising for two or three hours!

“For Chichester, we won’t just be doing duets, though. There will be some solo stuff as well. The first half is primarily Italian repertoire, with a lot of it around the theme of relationships and friendships. We will have some Mozart arias and then go into some more romantic Italian styles. There will be some Donizetti and some Verdi.

“In the second half, we will be doing something from West Side Story. I won’t say which one, but it is a big classic, and then David will be doing some more things in English, and then we will finish off the programme with some French repertoire. My amazing singing teacher Birgit Rohowska will be accompanying the recital on piano.”

Tickets £10; seniors and students £8; children free.

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