courtesy of the artist
British soprano Kate Royal grew up in a pop-music household, but found her way to classical music and opera.
British soprano Kate Royal grew up in a pop-music household, but found her way to classical music and opera. courtesy of the artist
Kate Royal, soprano
Los Angeles Philharmonic (Yuri Temirkanov, conductor)
No one could have predicted that life would turn out quite the way it has for a young British girl named Kate Royal. In this concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she sings the heavenly soprano part in Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4.
During the 1980s, in her Dorset household, there was no room for Mahler, Mozart or Beethoven. Instead, the walls throbbed with the sounds of Earth, Wind, and Fire, with a little David Bowie on the side. Royal's dad was a successful pop musician and songwriter.
"I'm not quite sure how I ended up in opera," she says.
As a youngster, Royal loved to dance and joined a semi-professional stage ensemble. She sang, tap-danced and played piano in shows with other young girls. After studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, Royal found herself in the chorus of the Glyndebourne Opera.
Then it happened: The soprano in a leading role became ill. Royal was the understudy, and at age 25, she was pushed into the spotlight. Now, at 30, she's becoming a star, with a blossoming career built on recitals, operas and orchestral performances.
In this concert, Royal appears in the final movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4, where she sings about the delights of heaven, as seen through a child's eyes.
The conductor is the poetic Russian, Yuri Temirkanov, who begins the concert with music by Felix Mendelssohn. It's the sunniest of his five symphonies, called the "Italian," inspired by the composer's trip to Rome.