Girls considering careers in the field of music had an unparalleled opportunity to learn from two of the best in the business as mezzo-soprano Dame Felicity Palmer and pianist Simon Lepper were “in conversation” with The Abbey’s musical director Stephen Willis.
As they examined the programme for the evening’s recital we gained an insight into the music on which a career is built. Dame Felicity explained the value of bravery in tandem with humility for young singers, commenting that some of the feats she attempted as a young singer now fill her with astonishment at her own audacity.
On her notoriety as a character actress – famed for playing “terrible mothers-in-law” – Dame Felicity said that she has embraced the opportunity to let out all of the stresses of life “with every ounce of venom” on the stage, and as she gleefully commented “you can be as vicious as you like… and nobody minds!”
Having risen to fame after winning the immensely prestigious Kathleen Ferrier award, Dame Felicity felt that she wasn’t equipped to meet the bar that she had set herself – something that resonates with artists of every kind. She felt that her journey was often quite painful, saying “if only I’d known at 20 what I know now… what I might have achieved!” Listening to her wealth of experience and the roles that she has played throughout her fifty year career, it is hard to imagine that she could have done more.
Thank you to both Dame Felicity and Simon Lepper for sharing their wisdom and expertise with us.