Dominique, a classical student from Hong Kong, had Leeds College of Music as her first choice for Postgraduate study. She tells us about her experiences as a singer, and how she easily fitted into Operatic society after her study. Dominique is currently a member of Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus, Opera Hong Kong Chorus and Opera Society of Hong Kong Chorus, a freelance Opera singer, vocal coach, tutor of The Hong Kong Children's Choir.
What was your earliest musical experience?
I first started to receive piano lessons at the age of three, and joined a choir and started ballet training at The Hong Kong Children’s Choir from four. Then I started to do classical vocal training at the age of thirteen.
Who/what encouraged you to study music?
My life was filled with music from childhood and its always been the only subject that I’m interested in.
Who/what made you aspire to a career in music?
I love to sing and act so much! I love to perform, whether on stage, in a park or just in a classroom, just anywhere possible. I first played the role of a prince in a very short musical when I was 9 and suddenly thought, ‘Right! This is what I want my career will be, to be a singer, an actress, a performer!’
Was there anything in particular that made you choose Leeds College of Music?
When I first came to study in the UK after I finished the HKCEE (GCSE) in Hong Kong, I did an EFL course at Chichester College. My Dad found out about Leeds College of Music from the internet and asked me if I wanted to apply for the ND Music. Leeds College of Music was the principle choice as far as my Dad was concerned, so I gave it a go and I am still very glad that I listened to him.
What is/was your favourite thing about living / studying / being a musician in Leeds?
I really love the free lunchtime concerts at The Venue which were held by the Leeds City Council. They’re free, and always fabulous.
I also won the Agnes Grisdale Trophy for singing 2004 and Friends Scholarship in 2008 at the college. I became an active competitor in several musical festivals, and won awards including Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society Trophy (2009), The Pamela Bowden Trophy (2010) from Mrs. Sunderland Music Festival; The Leach Trophy (2011), The Ethel Scott Trophy (2012), The Rothwell in Bloom Trophy (2012) and the Kirkwood Rosebowl (2012) from Rothwell Music Festival.
Where would you most like to perform/record/have your music played?
I think it would be in an Opera House like the R.O.H. or the Leeds Grand Theatre because we do not have an Opera House like that in Hong Kong. I’m dying to sing even just once on that stage.
What has your career been like since leaving LCoM?
I stayed in the UK for one year after graduation and I joined the Leeds Youth Opera and Opera Seria (Manchester) during that time. I was a chorus member at Opera Seria and played the role of the Empress (The Poisoned Kiss) and Rosette (Manon) at LYO.
I came back to Hong Kong for good in July 2012 and have been working as a freelancer since then. I am now a freelance Classical and Opera singer, vocal coach and choir conductor. I’ve also sung in a few movies (HK) such as, As the light goes out (2013), The Seventh Lies (2014) and Get outta here (2015).
What has been your greatest achievement?
In 2013, I wrote a script and directed an Opera Buffa – Love in Comedy – a story based on Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. I played the role of ‘Zerlina’. It was made up with nine Arias, Duets, Trio and Sextet, all of which were chosen from Mozart’s Operas including Don Giovanni, Cosi fan Tutte and Le Nozze di Figaro.
I also created some dialogues in Cantonese in between songs, to make it easier for the audience to understand the story and what we were singing about. I found it very challenging to do so, but I am writing another Opera Buffa for the next November with a few young singers who also graduated from the UK, Holland and Australia, based on the story of The Taming of the Shrew.
In 2015, Dominique will be singing in the six-member chorus of the chamber opera DaTong in Hong Kong Arts Festival.
See Dominique in action, with Gigi Wong.
And read more about her exploits on her website.
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