Marita Lervik came to Leeds from Norway in 2015 after securing a place to study as a soprano on our Classical pathway. Shortly after joining LCoM, she was especially chosen by the prestigious Bergen National Opera/Edvard Grieg Kor to be in their mentoring programme, ‘Unge Stemmer’ (Young Voices).
The Unge Stemmer programme currently mentors eight Norwegian singers who are at the beginning of their careers, studying classical music and singing abroad. Whilst monitoring their studies and supporting their growth, the programme also gives valuable opportunities to the students within their projects and main stage productions. Along with some of the other Unge Stemmer students, Marita was chosen to sing at BNO’s opera festival ‘Mimi Goes Glamping’ in August 2016, where English operatic baritone Sir Thomas Allen was giving a masterclass for them to participate in.
Marita is now back in Leeds and continuing to develop her skills at Leeds College of Music. We found some time to talk with her about her journey in the last year and how it felt to work with such a renowned vocalist:
So you’ve had an exciting year since joining us! What made you travel all the way from Norway to Leeds to study at LCoM?
I chose to study at LCoM because everyone here were so welcoming and friendly at my audition, and made the audition day, which can be quite stressful, a very good experience.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the LCoM community?
What I like the most about studying here is the small classical environment at the college which means that all students are noticed and you get more opportunities than you would at a bigger music college. Also the tutors really take an interest in all students and I feel that they really want to hear and see everyone.
Is Leeds a good city to live in as a musician?
I really like living in Leeds because there is so much culture and music here. There are always concerts or operas to see. I especially enjoy watching operas as I learn a lot from them and I find them very inspiring.
How did it feel to be immediately chosen to be part of the Unge Stemmer project?
I was very grateful and exited to be part of the Unge Stemmer programme. When moving to a different country to study, it feels reassuring to have an experienced mentor supporting you. The Unge Stemmer programme gives the singers so many great opportunities, like masterclasses, to help us grow as singers and performers.
And as well, you must have been very happy with your special masterclass?
The masterclass with Sir Thomas Allen was a great experience. It is fantastic to get the opportunity to sing in front of someone who has had such a long and accomplished singing career. I feel very fortunate that such a well renowned and experienced singer has spent time listening to me sing and given me feedback to help me become a better singer!
What do you hope to do next in your career?
I will continue to work hard to become the best singer I can be, and learn as much as I can from the great tutors here. Then I want to go on to do a postgraduate degree and hopefully, one day, I can perform on the big opera stages around the world, and perhaps some day have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of young singers!
To find out more about the Young Voices scheme (Unge Stemmer), visit their website.