Suffolk’s very own, internationally acclaimed, mezzo soprano Diana Moore has had to get creative this year. And, thanks to teaching students on Zoom, she believes she’s a better singer now than she was before lockdown
Born and bred in Suffolk. I was the only girl born onto a ward of boys and (allegedly) made more noise than all combined! Music has always been special to me, but I struggled initially to find the right medium. Suffolk Jubilee Choir courses transformed my life and gave me the confidence to try singing seriously. I trained at university and the Royal Academy of Music and have been lucky enough to have been singing ever since, with performances spanning four continents to date. I still love it, and I’m still learning. What more could you want from a job?
Suffolk is in my blood – the coastline, the big skies, the variety of landscapes. I still have family and friends here too. I’ve always found it the ideal creative setting for me – I’ve always done my best preparatory work here and it just feels like home.
Lockdown was initially devastating – so far it’s been 15 months of performing work cancelled and the cancellations continue. But then, after the initial shock, it was thought provoking. I guess we all had to sit down and answer the question, ‘Who am I if I can’t do what I’m used to doing?’ and ‘Can I still be me if I don’t?’ I’d begun to teach a few students before lockdown hit, back in Autumn 2019 and this has expanded dramatically and switched to Zoom online. I find it an absolute lifeline, both in terms of regular face-to-face contact with students but also a regular reminder and focus upon my own singing skills and technique. I’ve learnt so much from this that I think I’m a better singer now than I was before lockdown.
I’m stronger and more resourceful than I thought. I’ve got a really good support network around me of friends and colleagues that I appreciate much more now. I’ve had to become much more tech-savvy and more realistic about the music business, but that’s been a good thing.
Singing has helped me though 2020, without any question. Although initially, I didn’t seem able to turn myself to any form of practice in the first few weeks – maybe a kind of grieving process for the lost live performances – but as the teaching picked up, I found I couldn’t help it. I also found a few opportunities to sing – live-streamed church services, funerals, projects – that gave me something to prepare for and I soon found my motivation returning.
My online recital last month, called A Room Of One’s Own, was really well received! It received the most viewings of all the pioneering Positive Notes series of chamber music films, which I was thrilled about! It was a challenge to make and, to some degrees, experimental, but I’ve also learned a huge amount from making it and I hope to make some more!
Some colleagues and I will be putting together an Online Christmas show to raise money for charity. I’ve also been involved in a scheme called ‘Artists and Residents’ which streams concerts to care homes for free to allow residents to continue to access live music during this difficult time. The concert then stays on YouTube to be streamed whenever is convenient. I also have plans to develop a series of short films that combine music and visuals – a bit like bringing your programme notes to life as part of the presentation.
I’m faring much better in lockdown 2.0. I guess we know what to expect this time and I aim to get the most from it, now I’m not so shocked! And I’m taking advantage of online training courses to help myself come out stronger than I went in.
I’m not sure I can put that into words how much I’m looking forward to performing live again! Live-streaming has been a real learning curve but if it’s taught me anything, there’s nothing like the energy that passes between a performer on stage and the audience members, and it’s what brings out the best performances in me. I can’t wait.
Information and access details for all of Diana’s projects are on her website – www.dianamooremezzo.com
(Photographer credit: Theresa Pewal)