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Richard Pinkstone - Tenor

Interview

1- You graduated from the University of York, where you read Music. Who was your chief mentor there and what abiding impressions and lessons has he left with you?

I’d have to say that my greatest mentors at York were Alex Ashworth (who was my teacher) and Rachel Nicholls. Rachel is an absolutely incredible Wagnerian Soprano who gave me lots of great advice in her capacity as a vocal advisor to the Music Department. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without either of them.

2- Is your family musical?

Although no one in my family sings or plays an instrument, everyone really appreciates music. We’d always be encouraged to join local choirs or take part in amateur dramatics.

3- You are currently studying for a Masters in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music, where you are under the tutelage of Timothy Evans-Jones and Gary Matthewman. How is this progressing?

I love it at RCM! I’m just about to finish my second year of masters, and after that I’m progressing onto the Royal College of Music International Opera School. College has been an incredible experience and have been so fortunate to work with world-class teachers and coaches.

4- At the Royal College of Music, you sang The Witch Hänsel und Gretel, directed by Liam Steel, and Alfred Die Fledermaus, directed by John Copley. How was it like to work with these directors and were they and you happy with the outcome?

To work with John Copley is always an incredible experience. John’s always got a joke to tell or a story from his amazing career at the Royal Opera House. Working with him on Fledermaus was such a fun and rewarding experience.

Liam Steel is a director who I really admire. I’ve never worked with someone who demands so much energy and passion. He really knows how to make a scene come alive!

5- You made your international debut with a recital of music by Puccini, Rossini and Verdi atop the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. How were your feelings at the time and how was the audience reaction?

The Castel Sant’Angelo is the setting for the final act of Puccini’s opera Tosca where the hero, Mario Cavaradossi, sings the aria ‘E lucevan le stelle’. As far as I’m aware, only Placido Domingo and I have sung the aria in concert in situ. To say I had goosebumps is an understatement, and I hope the audience felt the same way!

6- How do you balance your time between study, performance and social life?

After a long day of rehearsals or study, I think it’s important to surround yourself with things you love – friends, family or relaxation. I can’t function if I don’t switch off at the end of a productive afternoon.

7- How often do you practice?

I like to start the day with 20 minutes of scales and vocal exercises, plus 45 – 90 minutes of practice. The voice, and especially young voices like my own, mustn’t be overstretched as it can cause lasting damage.

8- Would you consider teaching in the future?

At the moment, I want to concentrate on my singing career; on improving every aspect of my performance, but perhaps later in life it might be something I’d like to consider.

9- Who would your ideal accompanist be?

I really have no idea! Every single accompanist brings a new insight or colour to a piece of music and I’ve been really lucky to work with some extremely talented pianists.

10- Who is your favourite musician and composer and why?

My favourite singer has to be Luciano Pavarotti. He had a flawless technique and such wonderful charisma, both onstage and off. My favourite composer is Puccini simply because his operas are so sensational and so real.

11- Can you share with us an abiding memory in connection with one of your performances?

Perhaps the most unforgettable musical moments for me was singing ‘Sunrise, sunset’ from Fiddler on the Roof at my high school summer concert, aged 14. Up until then I had no idea I could really sing, or make people feel something.

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submission June 2017