‘Well, what did you think?’ I greedily asked.
‘…what? Oh yes…You were great, but we were like totally freaked out by the Lamplighter!’,
’Yeah, he was spooky Dad. I had to sit on Mum‘s lap all the way through!.’
‘Hmm….’ said Mum
Wandering down New Briggate as we were at the time, past hoards of scantily dressed girls and jostling lads, I had to forgive my young kids for not elaborating more on the performance of The Portrait they had just seen. After all, a different and infinitely more colourful performance was happening in front of their very eyes…Leeds, on a Friday night! Thankfully, we managed to get home unscathed, my children a little bit older, but a lot wiser!
 It always gives me enormous pleasure when my family come to see my performances. Quite apart from anything, it’s important to show the children what I’ve been up to away from home. It gives a purpose, a justification for my prolonged absence. The pre-show tour backstage is always a highlight, as is the sneak preview of the costumes. Naturally, I got a wonderful ‘You’re not my dad!‘ reaction to my Quasimodo-esque make-up.
 We’re now on tour; Newcastle last week, Nottingham this week and Manchester to come. It’s always enjoyable revisiting these cities with Opera North. Not only can we be assured of loyal audiences, but it’s an opportunity to see old friends, and visit favourite haunts. For myself, and when I‘m not learning music in cheap hotel rooms, I can normally be found wandering around art galleries. I’m learning about Gauguin at the moment, and Newcastle’s  ‘Laing Art Gallery’ has one of his paintings, so that was interesting.
 One problem facing those of us in The Portrait is the amount of time off between performances; because The Portrait isn’t well known, it would be unrealistic to believe we could fill the theatre for more than one night a week. So, one night a week it is. It’s a real challenge keeping the production and the music present in one’s mind during the periods between shows. After all the music, in this case, is tricky, and benefits from regular performing. We’ll have to keep our wits about us during the tour that’s for certain.
 I hope you’ve enjoyed my Portrait blog, and it has given you some insight into the life of a singer; the rehearsal process, first night nerves, interminable train journeys, cheap hotels, home-sickness etc etc. Oh the glamour of it all! I’ll see you later this year as Sir Despard Murgatroyd….yes, Ruddigore’s coming back and I can’t wait!