“Baroque music so wonderfully offers us a glimpse into the past whilst holding a mirror up to the present.”

Emma Stannard (mezzo-soprano) 

Emma Stannard is a member of the Handel House Talent scheme 2018/19. Emma trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and on the Royal Academy Opera Course (RAO).

Congratulations on what must have been a fantastic experience with the English Touring Opera. Could you tell us a little bit about the company and their approach to opera?

Thank you, it was a wonderful (and incredibly busy) start to the year touring three full-scale opera productions around the country over a three-month period. ETO bring high-quality professional performances to many towns/cities in which opera is rarely performed as well as introducing the art form in schools and communities through education projects.

This Spring season you were part of a cast that performed Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Macbeth and Rossini’s Elisabetta I. Do you find transitioning between Baroque and Classical repertoire is a challenge vocally? 

Vocally, I do not find transitioning between Baroque and Classical repertoire difficult. Whilst training to be an opera singer, you learn and perform a wide range of repertoire to equip you for the variety of music you will encounter throughout your career. One does however have to consider stylistic issues such as phrasing and choosing appropriate ornamentation which bring the music to life as intended by the composer.

What first drew you to 18th-century music? 

My love of 18th-century music began whilst studying on the Royal Academy Opera Course. During my second year on the course I had the opportunity to perform the role of Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina and my eyes were opened to the world of Baroque opera. The energy and the vibrancy of this music never ceases to excite me and the raw human emotion that is carried in both the vocal and instrumental lines fascinates me.

In your view, what makes Baroque music intriguing and relevant to modern audiences? 

Baroque music so wonderfully offers us a glimpse into the past whilst holding a mirror up to the present. We perform music that was composed hundreds of years ago, however the emotions and sentiment are as relevant today as they were when experienced by their first audiences.

We are incredibly lucky at Handel & Hendrix in London to host concerts with such a breadth of new talent. What does a performance at Handel House mean to young musicians?  

As a young performer the opportunity to sing in the Handel House is very special. Concerts in such an intimate setting encourage incredibly detailed performances and I never cease to feel inspired in this beautiful setting.