The Royal Academy of Music has been around since 1822. It was the first, and remains the foremost, of the British conservatories, and is a contituent part of the University of London. I have been connected with them for years, since my early days at Glyndebourne in the 1960s when I assiduously monitored the singer students at the RAM as well as the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and the then named Royal Manchester College of Music. It was a most fruitful operation for me as I was, in those days, deeply involved in the process for the recruitment of young singers for the Glyndebourne Chorus, and later was the first Administrator of Glyndebourne Touring Opera which we founded in 1967. And the pickings were rich!
Jane Glover is now director of the opera program at the RAM. So I was delighted to go along yesterday evneing to an entertaining scenes programme which included excerpts from Owen Wingrave, Giulio Cesare, Der Schauspieldirektor, and La bohème. Jane conducted and the students had the benefit or being directed by John Copley. And it is clear that there is much talent to be watched for future opportunites. I am anxious to persuade more young British singers to participate in the Neue Stimmen competition next year. And I will certainly be targeting some of these. Of course this will only be the young people who are graduating this year 2012-13. The week of the finals on October 2013 is a busy time in the concentrated calendar of these graduate students.
I have to mention a few standouts whom I think we will be hearing more of in the coming years. So I will mention just one from each of the casts - all men. There were great women too! So now I will stick my neck out! From Owen Wingrave the Lechmere tenor Samuel Furness, from Giulio Cesare the pianist Chad Kelly, from the Schauspieldirektor the title role tenor Thomas Elwin, and from Bohème the Marcello - Ross Ramgobin.
My friends and colleagues know how much importance I attach to outstanding work on the music staff - so I was particularly pleased to recognize the exceptional Chad Kelly. The pianists, whose work is of critical importance, are often overlooked - not by me!
I hope to get back to the RAM for three other shows this academic year - then I will pick on some of the young women stars of the future. They have some!
My Chicago readers should be reminded that Jane Glover leaves for Chicago tomorrow for another stint with Music of the Baroque. This is her tenth season and she is opening it with a delicious Haydn and Mozart programme. You must not miss this - on Friday at the Harris theater, and on Sunday at the North Shore Center in Skokie.
Tomorrow I will be spending the day in the country visiting family, including two more infant additions, twins born on August 7, who are roughly speaking a great nephew and great niece I believe, although it may not be as simple as that!