December 20, 2021 - By Lama Almugbell
We can pull the trigger, a new season of Humans of the World is coming and this time Marco and Erica travelled to Northern Ireland.
First stop: Belfast! here is a first look into one of their many encounters, Petra Wells, one of the super talented La Bohème cast chosen by Cameron Menzies for his first production in front of live audiences since he joined Northern Ireland Opera as Artistic Director
If you reached this point, you know that a fresh new season of Humans of the World is coming and this is just a sneak peek into one of the many wonderful humans you will meet in Belfast, the hip and artsy capital of Northern Ireland. We are talking about Petra Wells: a Solicitor and an Opera Singer. Our presenting duo Marco and Erica met her to get to know more about her story and achievements. When did she start singing? Why does she sing Opera? And how did she join La Bohème cast? All of these questions will be answered, but to dig into everything you need to know about season 2, you’ll have to wait a few more days when the first episode will be released on Britalians TV.
Piano Lessons Introduced Petra Wells to Opera
Petra is a humble person. You will tell that by the way she answers Marco and Erica‘s first question which is “You are an Opera singer?”. Petra sings Opera as a part time job and she does not call herself an Opera singer for that reason. “It is not my full time job, nowhere near the level of any of the principles on the stage. So I do not want to do them a disservice by calling myself an Opera singer” Petra explained.
Petra’s full time job is a solicitor. She studied law at The University of Manchester and worked in a law office in Belfast. When she was young, Petra had piano lessons and she had to sing a note back in one of the exams. This was the first time Petra knew she can sing Opera. Her piano teacher discovered her talent when she was 11 years old.
How Cameron Menzies Discovered Her
Marco and Erica were curious about how the artistic director, Cameron Menzies, found out about Petra and asked her to be one of the cast. Petra told them that she was part of Die Fledermaus cast in September 2019. Because she had that on her CV, Cameron was impressed by that and asked her to join La Bohème. “I was completely honoured to be asked and to be a part of this incredible production” Petra commented on how happy and honoured she was to work with Cameron.
La Bohème is the first production for Petra with Cameron Menzies. Petra went on and told our presenting duo how they had a music rehearsal with Rebecca Lang, the conductor. “Our second rehearsal was with Cameron and one of the first conversations that we had with him was fully immersing us in the story of La Bohème and why we are setting it in 1920s” Petra talking about their first conversation and how Cameron made La Bohème so relevant to the modern days.
Petra shed a light on Cameron’s creativity. The reason why he chose to set it in the 1920s is because back in that time, Paris was recovering from the first world war. “How it is so relevant to the modern day, not quite post-pandemic, but recovering from it” Petra said.
Surrounded by Support Made Petra Able to Keep Both Jobs
You might have wondered how someone can have two different jobs at the same time? Petra made that possible for two reasons: 1-She is smart and talented 2-She is surrounded by people who support her.
At her work, her boss and colleagues support her by attending her shows. “When I performed in Die Fledermaus, my whole department and my boss came to see it. They are very supportive” Petra said about her colleagues. Petra also expressed how lucky she is to work with a supportive office “I am very lucky because a lot of places, not even law firms, a lot of places would not give their employees the day time and give you the opportunity to do this outside of the office”.
Additionally, her family is very supportive. When Petra applied for studying law and got the offer, her mom told her to not give up singing. Petra loves singing so much, but the reason she did not apply to study music in university is that she thought she was not at the required level.
Now, Petra does not feel that she will ever have to choose between singing and working in a law firm as she loves and enjoys them both.
“In this production of La Bohème, chorus had the chance to have their story!,” Petra on what made this Cameron’s production special
Petra explained why the chorus scene in La Bohème is so special and added that it is very easy for productions to focus on the principal cast and give them their back stories and forget about the chorus. While in this production, the chorus were given individual stories.
Petra is a talented Opera singer, she performed in London, Northern Ireland and Switzerland. In addition, she signed with a choir in Kenya. If you are into singing, get ready to meet her in this upcoming season of Humans of the World in Northern Ireland.
Petra is one of the many wonderful humans Marco and Erica met in Belfast, a city that is brimming with art and culture and where talented artists like Petra are nurtured since a very young age.
Humans of the World Northern Ireland is coming your way soon, stay tuned!