December 20, 2021 - By Lama Almugbell
It’s the dawn of a new era for Northern Ireland and Emma Morwood shared her views on Northern Irish arts and culture during her meeting with Marco and Erica in this new season of Humans of the World. Immersed in the stage where she performed La Bohème, this conversation is a delightful insight into Emma’s beginnings, achievements and wishes to see Opera everywhere in Northern Ireland
At the time Marco and Erica travelled to Belfast, the Northern Ireland arts and cultural scene is emerging from lockdown and on what other occasion if not the launch of the first Opera production in front of live audiences to sit down with Irish soprano Emma Morwood.
Started at 5 Years Old until she specialized in Classical Music at University
Emma’s career path started at a very young age. She told Marco and Erica that she first started Opera singing when she was 5 years old. Her first show was The Sound of Music performed at the Grand Opera House in Belfast where she played Gretl Von Trap, the youngest Von Trap child in The Sound of Music.
Ever since then, she participated and performed in many other shows and with church choirs. “There is quite a big festival culture in Northern Ireland” Emma commented on Northern Ireland’s culture explaining how she performed in many festivals.
During her study at university, Emma chose to major in Classical Music at the University of Edinburgh and in the Royal Northern College of Music, she was a major award winner. Undoubtedly, Emma could not achieve what she has achieved without her parents’ support.
“My dad sang a lot” said Emma, then she continued and told Marco and Erica how her dad sang with Pavarotti in his first UK debut back in 1963. More on this inspiring story in this new season of Humans of the World.
Multilingual on the Stage
Emma is not only an amazing Opera singer, but she also sings in 5 languages! She loves to sing in Italian, French, German and Russian. “We have to kind of have a basis of most modern languages Opera is written in,” Emma explained – “and obviously, Opera is usually written in the composer’s mother tongue”.
Emma also added that a lot of companies in the United Kingdom translate Opera. “And that is ok, as long as it is a good translation,” Emma said.
Emma thinks that there is nothing like the feeling of making a lot of noise with her body when she is on stage.”To be able to make a good sound and to create music with lots of people, there is nothing like that feeling!” -said Emma.
The way Emma describes the feelings she has when she performs is amazing. You have to hear it from her in this upcoming season of Humans of the World as she told Marco and Erica the story of that time when she cried after having a rehearsal with the orchestra.
An Irish based in Scotland
Marco and Erica asked Emma about her daily routine after she told them that it is important for Opera singers to be fit. She wakes up early, especially because she has 2 children that live with her family in Scotland.
Speaking of Scotland, Emma told Marco and Erica that she moved with her family to Scotland to study in university. Since then, she has lived there with her family and children. “I travel quite a lot for work and I leave my children with my husband,” Emma said.
Although Emma is Irish, and obviously she speaks with an Irish accent, she sings with an English accent when she sings in English “unless it is something I have learned when I was a child” Emma said. Get ready to hear Marco grappling with some words with an Irish accent guided by Emma.
Performing as Musetta in La Bohème Show
Emma is playing the role of Musetta in La Bohème show. “A perfect role for me because I got to have a bit of fun on stage” Emma explained to Marco and Erica.
La Bohème is directed by Cameron Menzies, also Artistic Director of the Northern Ireland Opera. Emma told us that this is her debut with Northern Ireland Opera and she feels so lucky as she has tried to audition to play with them before. Because she has worked with Cameron on the Old Friends and Other Days film he made in March, he invited her to play on La Bohème.
Following Emma and Cameron’s collaboration in that film, they noticed that they had the same ideas about performing, singing, collaborations and work ethics.
Just like any other job, Emma has to work 7 hours everyday to rehearse and prepare for shows. She also has to be away from her family “I have not seen my children for 4 weeks” Emma told Marco and Erica. Despite this, Emma loves and enjoys her job!
Spreading the Opera Culture Everywhere in Northern Ireland and for All Ages
“We need to get more people through the door for Opera, to come and watch Opera” Emma told Marco and Erica. Opera in Northern Ireland is more casual compared to Opera in other countries. As some have a misconception about Opera being a form of entertainment only for a few, Emma explained that in Northern Ireland you can go to Opera dressed as you are without the need to put a “fur coat” on, there is no dress code and casual clothes are absolutely fine.
Emma continued explaining how cheap Opera’s tickets are compared to football match’s tickets and musicals tickets. She also expressed how important it is to get younger people to come and watch Opera as it is both a culture and an art.
“It really annoys me in this country how we listen to the news on the radio, and the last bit of the news is all sports news. It is all about football, tennis, but there is no culture, there is no art on the news that everybody hears and we need to change that narrative. Otherwise, we are not getting new audience in,” said Emma.
Emma was born to be an Opera singer! She started when she was 5 years old, studied classical music in university and is pushing to spread more culture and art everywhere. Certainly a wonderful human!
Are you ready to meet her in this new season of Humans of the World?