Paterson givs me 5 ov the best.

I wuz goin’ dahn St Martins Lane when some geezer ‘ails me. Now, I’m not bein’ racialist but ‘e wuz ginger. ‘e wuz also carryin’ a spear, wearin’ an eyepatch an’ ‘ad two Ravens circlin’ ‘is bonce. Then I noticed the barytowne ‘air.
“Hoots mon” ‘e bellowed at me az ‘e gave me handle a good tug. “I dinnae ken whit I’d do if yuz dinnae stawp fur me, I’m chilled t’ me baws”.

Yup, it wuz bloomin’ method actor & top HELDENBARITON Iaiiiian Patersohn.

Course once ‘e’s in me cab i got ‘im ain’t i.

Nawh, me cousin Barry az a wish list. ‘e’s owften sed t’ me “ooohh I’d luv L U V that big ginger brute Paterson to give me six of the best”.

Az Barry is currently prepahrin’ ‘is cabaret act “Kennst Du Das Sutherland – a Tribute” I takes this h’oppoortunity t’ get 5 ov the best tips from yer man Paterson (I fink this iz wot Barry wants).
So lissen up, yer gettin’ these top tips gratis:

1 – Releasing the voice. Don’t be afraid to “let go” of your voice. Most people naturally try to hold back. That’s a bit like trying to ride a motorbike, or a horse, by gripping on tighter. It actually reduces your ability to control what you’re doing. You need small, relaxed inputs, not brute strength.

2 – Column of air. Breathe in slowly and deeply. The fewer obstacles you put in the way of this the better.

3 – Support – Pushing out with abdominal muscles rather than pulling in – breath is your currency, and you need to make room for the lungs to expand. You can’t do that if you’re pulling in.

4 – Try to keep everything else in a neutral relaxed position.

5 – Don’t focus on head resonance – that’s like trying to control a golf ball after you’ve hit the thing.


I give Paterson the bennyfit ov me knowlidge of voix mixte in mid period ottocento. I can tell ‘e’s graytfull as ‘e frows back ‘is ‘ead & makes a growing noise.

And then drive ‘im the pretty way.
No tip
Wot a bleedin’ Merchant.

Fantasy Casting

I bin thinkin’ a bit abaht castin’.
In common wiv ev’rybuddy else on soshul meedeeah, I’m an expert.

But rather then criticising whatever’s playing at the moment I fort I’d do like a fantasy football thing. These peepul might never sing these roles, or they mighta sung ’em & I miss’d ’em but this is wots goin’ rahnd in me ‘ead at the moment.
Skelton as Vere – I mean it’d be beltin’ wuddnt it. I loves Langridge & Rolfe-Johnson and tha’ breed ov tenor in the role. But tha’s a gentlemanly view. Skelton wud be a sailor of experience.

Ghiaurov as Claggart – often carst really well. I fink me owld mucker Nicolai wud be baleful and terrifying.

Quinn Kelsey as Budd – the role iz often given t the lyric boyz, and they do it well. But Glossop wuz a diff’rent kind ov voice. So is Kelsey. Vibrant, thrilling.

Kaufmann as Quint – too much runnin’ down ov this fine singer going on at the moment. I fink this’d be summat else.

Schreier as Aschenbach – I love Pete. Plangent, affectin’, considered. G’won son.

Corelli as Grimes – #GrimesFromTheGroin
Del Monaco as Grimes – innit tho’
Rysanek as Ellen – imagine the scream when Pete ‘its her.

Margaret Price as Elsa (not the one from Frozen)

Bonney as the Countess – I luv this gal. Bigger lyrics do it I knows but, just for interest.

Bostridge as Pedrillo – I honestly think he’s a spieltenor. And shud be proud t’ be wun too. Wiv ‘is attenshun t’ language I fink ‘e cud be great.

Zajick as Amme – come on, gal
Vaness as Kaiserin – Vaness as everyfink
David Daniels as the guardian of the threshold (he’s sung it, I’ve never heard it – I’d love to) also as F√§berin.
Terfel as Barak

Now I’m not a fan (& I regularly revisit to see if I’ve changed me mind) but…Callas as Gloriana. And Ortrud.

This gal’ll disagree wiv me but…Jennifer Johnston az Ariadne. These a classical beauty in this gals tone. A wunnerful column of sahnd. Like Jessye Norman.
I cud go on. I orfetn do. But wot are yurs?

Callas as Ortrud (I have to confess I’m not a fan. She sounds like a yowly fire engine

Writin’ tha’ maykes ya wanna ‘ear

Review of Sutherlands debut run in Lucia at the Met.

Writen by Leighton Kerner in the Village Voice

In the “Mad Scene,” however, comes a musico-dramatic display such as, perhaps, not even Donizetti dreamed of. In the first aria of the scene, “Alfin son tua,” the dashing about and crouching in corners seems to be the incarnation of the Ophelia we have all wanted to see on a stage. The broken recitatives and snatches of melodic reminiscence take on sudden power. The notorious vocal cadenza with flute accompaniment, heretofore, the silliest musical passage ever penned, now becomes lightening flashes of hallucination. Lucia seems to chase the flute sounds in every direction with vocal imitations that take on an increasing bravura. She hears one flute roulade from the general direction of the opera house’s Grand Tier, and back it flashes from her throat. The next is a salvo at the top balcony. The third she delivers with her back to the audience, and it bounces from the rear of the stage back into the auditorium with thrilling and uncanny clarity. Then, finally, her slow, ecstatic reprise of the First Act duet, with the flute sounds circling dizzily in the background. Going into the second aria, “Spargi d’amaro pianto,” ending with a fortissimo top E-flat that hits the listener like an arrow, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the “Lucia ” “Mad Scene” in what will be the Sutherland tradition.



Listenin’ wiv yur eyes

Wot we ‘ear can be influenced by ahr eyes: by what we read and what we see.

When I was furst larnin’ learning abaht opera I wuz an obsessive lurker in the music section of the local library. Ya cudnt stop me. I learnt by seein’ what score wuz on the shelf an’ then seein’ if there was a recording of that work on LP. Match the two up and BINGO.

I started wiv Butterfly (Scotto, Bergonzi, Barbarolli) – luvved it dittnt I, so I worked me way through the Puccinis. Then Traviata (the Sutherland recording chosen cos I’d recognised Bergonzi’s name in the cast) then all the Verdi I could lay my ears on.
Then Wagner an’ Britten. Eventually everyfink in the shelf.

Alongside the dots and the sounds I read as much as I could about the music. Some of wot I read then influenced me hearin’ for many years. I’m thinkin’ of two books in particular: John Culshaws “Ring Resounding” and Janet Bakers “Full Circle”.

I was fascinated by the Culshaw book. It’s funny wot we remember and I remembered, fer donkeys, ‘ow he described Hotters voice

“I knew that Hotter suffered from asthma, and that on a bad day he ¬†developed a wobble that distressed some people more than an it distressed me”

I read and ‘eard “wobble”. I didn’t know enough abaht singin’ then to understand what that really meant, and it put me off Hotter for year. Foolishly. Those who know me know that I am, now, a huge Hotter fan. I BLEEDIN’ Luv me owld mucker ‘ans.

Janet Bakers book influenced me in annuver way. I thought it was the most self indulgent piece of writing ever committed to paper. I did not enjoy spending time with ‘er in readin’ so I sure as heck wasn’t going to spend time with her singin’ in me ear.
My loss. It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve startid listenin’ to Baker again and I was wrong. What an amazing, glorious, singer. But you all know that.
I recently re-read the book. Hated it.

Conversely the criticism of JB Steane and of Andrew Porter h’educated, h’enlightened and h’entertained me. Even if I didn’t agree wiv wot they said, I learnt a lot by reading it.

Website reviews and an artists cyber presence are a big part of our h’education, and our prejudices, today.

I question ‘ow, when an artist has spent months, or years, learnin’ a role, ‘oning and polishin’ it, and is then rehearsed in a produckshun, often over many weeks, ‘ow somewhn can see it and publish a review wivin hours. ‘ow much considerashun of what wuz bein’ communicated, and ‘ow, can there have been?

Does a review affect how we hear? Is that always positive? It certainly can be

An artists cyber presence is important.

On Twitter I enjoy the good humour of Helena Dix. She’s a bleedin’ hoot. She comes across as a good egg and a fantabulous colleague. I know she’s a good singer, I’ve heard her. Over the last few days I’ve looked at her website and at youtube and the like. I wuz wrong. She’s great. It’s really quite amazin’ singin’. I bin runnin’ abaht the streets grabbing random people and shoutin’, “have you heard this? HAVE YOU? Because you must. NOW”.

I’m not criticising Ms Dix for the quality of her social media presence, merely saying that I was complacent in accepting that this nice person (& I’ve never met her) sings good too. I’d underestimated because I’d read. More fool me.

Ov corse there’s the uvvers too. Blazin’ idjits and no-no’s ‘ho talk emselfs up but it’s not backed up by wot they can achooally do.

And I’m writin’ this an’ yur, ‘opefully, readin’ it.

An’ I got no problum bein’ wrong.
Dunt listen t’ me. Make your own mind up.
But tha’ Helena Dix. Wot a FACKIN’ VOICE.