Shwmai! (That’s ‘Hi!’ in Welsh) I’m Robyn Lyn Evans, a tenor from Ceredigion in mid Wales, and 7th February will mark my Opera North debut as Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth. Strictly speaking, this isn’t my first time working at Opera North as in 2008 I had the opportunity to cover the role of Tebaldo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, but this time I shall get to tread the boards of the ornate Grand Theatre Leeds!
Like most Welsh children, I began singing at a young age in the Eisteddfod competitions of Wales and from these grew the belief that one day a career in singing might be a possibility. Having studied privately and performing regularly since my university days (and subsequent eight year employment as a Marketing Officer for my university), I embarked on a postgraduate vocal course at the RCM, London. It was a different experience returning to be a student at the ripe old age of 29 and co-habiting in university halls of residence amongst undergraduate students. Therefore, late nights and alcohol just weren’t possible this time around like they were the first time, with the necessity to sing the next day a priority…especially being a tenor! Despite this, I enjoyed my time at the RCM and the demands of singing daily and the expertise imparted really improved the voice. Upon leaving, I began the slow process of cultivating a career in the challenging sphere of opera, so I’m most grateful to Opera North for my latest opportunity.
For those of you unfamiliar with the synopsis of Macbeth, Malcolm is the son of King Duncan, who flees to England at the end of Act I upon the discovery of the murdered Duncan, and is not seen again until Act IV! Malcolm is a strange role in some ways, although ultimately important as he becomes the King following Macduff’s killing of the treacherous Macbeth. He doesn’t have a great deal to sing, but what music he has is great, including a duet for the two principal tenors, Malcolm and Macduff. Singing a duet with another tenor will definitely be a first for me…tenor duets are as rare as hen’s teeth!
And while on the subject of Macduff, I also get to cover this role too, and sing the beautifully haunting aria ‘O figli miei/Ah la paterna mano.’ The major challenge with learning Macduff is having to remember to sing the notes a third higher than Malcolm, as they often share the same libretto when on stage together and remembering who I am is sometimes difficult…especially in cover rehearsals!
Rehearsals have been delightful and it’s been a pleasure to work with all of the production team and singers…everyone has been so friendly. As a singer, I’m always interested in hearing other voice types and to discuss their backgrounds and career pathways with them. Furthermore, sharing a dressing room with Macduff (Jung Soo Yun), a fellow tenor, has been great as we’ve compared notes vocally and discussed famous singers (tenors of course) to our heart’s content and I look forward to more of the same during the tour!
It’s been an absolute joy to listen to my phenomenal fellow cast members and I hope you’ll enjoy the show as much as I have enjoyed performing with these gifted people.
To purchase tickets, please visit: www.operanorth.co.uk/productions/macbeth
Leeds Grand Theatre: 7 Feb - 22 Feb and then on tour