May 19, 2022 - By Roua Alkhalaf
In the new season of Humans of the World Marco and Erica meet with the Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera
Hello everyone! Are you ready to travel to the heart of Northern Ireland, in Belfast?
Over the next few weeks, the new season of Humans of the World will be arriving on Britalians TV, with plenty of new and exciting interviews. Tune in to see Marco and Erica engage with Northern Ireland Opera Award-winning artistic director Cameron Menzies one day before the lunch of the opera show he directed La Bohème under the roof of an extraordinary Carlisle Memorial Church!
What’s Cameron’s personal story? What about his life journey? What is unique about the version of La Bohème he created for Northern Ireland Opera? and how he could be inspiring? and what is his view on Belfast as an Australian who just moved there to join Northern Ireland Opera mid-way through the pandemic as Artistic Director and Chief Executive?
We can’t reveal everything he shared with Marco and Erica, but here it’s a little dive into his story before you get to meet him through your screens.
Cameron Shared His Life Journey and How Acting and Singing Influenced and Nurtured his Producer role
To dive into his beginnings, Marco and Erica will ask Cameron where his passion comes from and its story. This opening question will show us that Cameron is not only a creative director but a talented man with many professions in his pocket as well! First, Cameron started as an actor and singer. And this beginning was more than a simple kick-off since Cameron has performed some singing shows. Then he wanted to be professional in this field, so he went to a singing teacher to get training.
Later on, Cameron decided to take a turn and go into the world of directing. Even though being an actor and singer is different from being a director, Cameron kept using everything he learned as an actor and singer. Cameron has a deep understanding of what singers and actors are doing on the stage, their needs, and how they have to prepare. As a former singer and actor, and currently a director, Cameron believes in the ability and interest of singers in performing, contrary to what many believe that singing does not cross paths with acting. And Cameron assured us, “As you see in La Bohème, they can all put acting chops as much as singing chops to their roles!”
In the world of drama, Cameron says, “acting is storytelling through music.” So if singers can’t perform and do storytelling, that’s a gap in their performance! Because as he says, “the action we see in the show has to embody absolute characters that are not even vaguely like themselves in real life!” What an interesting viewpoint, Cameron!
Cameron’s Taste between Musical Theater and Opera
After discovering Cameron’s beginnings and rich experiences in singing, acting and directing, Marco and Erica will explore his musical taste. Cameron revealed that he started out in musical theatre. Still, he sings mostly Opera because his voice type does not lend itself to musical theatre. So is Cameron practising this kind of singing? Guess what. He doesn’t practice! He just sings all the time and while working with singers on stage, so he doesn’t need training or even a pre-show warm-up. However, now, he doesn’t perform anymore with his resonant voice.
Bringing Opera Back to Belfast and Live Audiences: Cameron at the Helm of North Ireland Opera after Covid-19 forced a 19 Months Break
Cameron Menzies joined Northern Ireland Opera in February 2021 mid-way through the pandemic as Artistic Director and Chief Executive. For this new appointment, he wanted to present a live performance in 2021 since he couldn’t do it for 19 months because of the pandemic.
As the artistic director of the Northern Ireland Opera, Cameron runs the company and artistically creates what they do as a company. So he wanted to create a production that could bring Opera back to Belfast and live audiences. In order to do that, he had to find an attractive venue because venues couldn’t open during Covid-19.
Imagine preparing a show where performers weren’t allowed to be in the same room for practising, performers who had to rehearse wearing masks 24 hours. Yet, despite all the difficulties encountered in creating and performing shows during the pandemic, Cameron did not hesitate to give people what they deserved. So he kept working on creating online content, films, YouTube clips and other content. Finally, after 19 months of standstill for live audience shows, Cameron and Northern Ireland Opera got back to present what Marco and Erica described as “an extraordinary celebration of talent and the most outstanding version of La Bohème ever!”.
So, if there is one thing you need to know for this new season of Humans of the World is that you’ll get an exclusive look into this Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece under the outstanding direction of Cameron. Goosebumps guaranteed!
Cameron gets Candid with Marco and Erica: the Love for his Opera Army inside the Historic Carlisle Memorial Church
To Marco’s question: “Who is your favourite singer?” Cameron replied: “if you have children, which one do you like the most?” This is how much Cameron cares about and loves his team.
So what built this strong relationship between Cameron and the cast? As the creative director, Cameron’s responsibility is to cast all the shows. So with 32 freelance musicians in the peat, 16 choristers, and a huge crew backstage that no one has ever seen, Northern Ireland Opera landed into the Carlisle Memorial Church.
Why the Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast?
Then What is the idea behind Cameron choosing the Carlisle Memorial Church to set his debut show La Bohème with Northern Ireland Opera? The fact that this church is an iconic building in Belfast with a history dating back to 1750 and known as the Methodist cathedral makes it more than just a church, but rather a roof covering the greatest shows of the man who creatively directed the revival of La Bohème!
This new season is dotted with several amazing stories that will get you out of your couch to book a trip to Belfast and Northern Ireland so follow on the journey of Marco and Erica on Britalians TV as Humans of the World Northern Ireland is coming to your screens very soon!
To discover more about the latest productions and upcoming events at Northern Ireland Opera, click here and follow Cameron directly click here.