Cucumber Questions, Angela Simkins Mezzo Soprano Answers
This month Cucumber has been overwhelmed by the exquisite beauty of the human voice as delivered by our Q & A star, the mezzo soprano Angela Simkin. Despite her youth, Angela is a veteran of the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall and many more, with the FT describing her voice as 'lustrous' and 'full of expression....' We were fascinated to learn about both her personal and professional journey - we think you will be too.
How did you first know you wanted to be an opera singer?
I knew from the moment that I tried to give up after a miserable undergraduate degree. Something kept calling me back to singing and to the music that I loved to inhabit.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Probably dressing up and putting on plays with my brothers and sisters. I am one of five children. We would specially prepare our own show for visiting relatives.
What was your first ambition?
As a little girl I longed to be a historian, more specifically an Egyptologist. The mythology and the gore of ancient Egypt absolutely fascinated me.
hat is the best gift you were given and why?
Not very glamorous, but the most useful gift was a Fitbit from my mum. It’s fair to say that after my third child and second pregnancy I had put on a bit of weight, and my mother came to me one day. She lovingly gave the watch to me saying ‘it will help you to get back to your old self’. It was a typical motherly hint and the best kick up the bum I had had in ages. I began to track my steps and managed to get back to my pre pregnancy weight and then some!
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration has to be a mezzo called Joyce di Donato. She demystifies the whole art of singing through her blogs. She is upfront and honest about how, if you want to achieve success in singing, it’s not about the voice being a gift from god, it’s about practice, being disciplined, making sacrifices, being creative and being smart with your time.
Who is your dream date and why?
I’m not good on dates. I get too nervous. However, if someone were to give me a ‘date confidence pill’ (and if I weren’t already married to Mr Simkin), I would love to stare into the eyes of Michael Fassbender. It’s his smile I think. And the intellect. And he speaks German which is such a seductive language.
What are you most proud of?
Cliché, I know, but I am so proud of my beautiful twin boys and my baby, Emmanuel. They grow and develop, and there are days when I am just in awe thinking ‘I made them! How on earth did I produce little people so perfect and curious and infuriating but absolutely captivating??’
What do you never leave home without?
Who leaves the house without their phone nowadays? Apart from that, my diary, my make up, and always, always the vocal score of the music I am rehearsing and the the score of the project coming up.
What is your signature style piece?
Accessories. A statement necklace is always my go to style piece to glam up a simple top or dress.
What was the last thing you bought and loved?
I was at Gatwick airport yesterday and bought a bare minerals foundation and concealer which I absolutely adore and vow to never live without from this day forward.
What do you love best about your job?
I love the variety. I love learning new repertoire, meeting new people, exploring different towns and cities all around the world, whilst marvelling at the genius of the composers who wrote this glorious music that I get to sing for people who seem to enjoy it.
What and where next?
Next week I am moving the family to Cardiff for four weeks to start rehearsals in Carmen where I will sing the role of Mercedes.
We loved hearing from Angela, and we think you will now want to sit down with us to listen to her singing the part of Iside in Handel's Giove in Argo here. Warning: be prepared to be uplifted!