18 October 2022
Students at Burgess Hill Girls Prep School and Senior School were honoured to be visited by soprano Joanna Songi. Joanna, who most recently performed at the Donmar Warehouse in Shakespeare’s Henry V, ran workshops with students aged ten to sixteen, helping them to understand the sentiment behind the music and develop their performance skills.
The students were then able to demonstrate what that had learnt the very next evening, joining Joanna in a concert of arias and chorus numbers for over two hundred spectators at Burgess Hill Girls. The opera performances included solos, duets, quartets, and full chorus numbers, and took in a wide range of pieces from Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ and ‘The Magic Flute’ and Handel’s ‘Alcina’ and ‘Rinaldo’. For the grand finale, the school’s Year 6 choir and then a joint choir of all the students performed well-known favourites from Schönberg’s Les Misérables.
The students were thrilled to perform in front of family and friends as well as learn from a professional.
Jasmine, aged ten, said:
“The opera workshop was really useful and a lot of fun. We learnt lots of warm-up exercises, my favourite was the one where we had to make motor bike sounds.”
Poppy, also aged ten, agreed:
“We all enjoyed being up on a professional stage. It was a sensational experience watching Joanna Songi perform. The solos, duets, trios, and quartets were fantastic, it was like we were in a real opera house. The night was very magical.”