December 17, 2021 - 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 creative director Cameron Menzies one day before the launch 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 could it be inspiring? and what is his view on Belfast as an Australian who moved there to join Northern Ireland Opera mid-way through the pandemic as Artistic Director and Chief Executive?
We can’t yet 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 in contrast to what many believe that singing does not cross paths with acting. And Cameron assured us, “As you will 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!”
Cameron’s Taste between Musical Theatre 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. Now, he doesn’t perform anymore, he just sings all the time and while working with singers on stage.
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 and his Opera Army in the Carlisle Memorial Church
When Marco asked Cameron: Who is your favourite singer? Cameron replied “If you have children, which one do you like the most?” This is how Cameron cares about and loves his team! So what built this strong relationship between Cameron and the cast? As the creative director, it is all Cameron responsibility 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 came into the Carlisle Memorial Church!
Why the Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast?
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 as it embodies the heritage of Northern Ireland and makes it the best location to bring to life the most inspiring shows under the extraordinary and influential leadership of Cameron Menzies. To discover more about the Northern Ireland Opera creative director Cameron Menzies, stay tuned for Humans of the World Northern Ireland which will be streaming soon on Britalians TV.