Have you ever thought what it’s like to turn up for your first day of rehearsals?  Matt RJ Ward, who plays Monostatos (the overseer of Sarastro’s temple) in our upcoming production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, invites us to feel the jitters and elation felt on day one…

I’m on the way to my first rehearsal for Mid Wales Opera’s new production of The Magic Flute, in which Monostatos has been rewritten as the dashing protagonist (not true). I’m ridiculously early, so I  reach for my phone. Now is the time (he thinks to himself), that I should make a tweet. Yes, that’s it. Think of something funny to say, and surreptitiously show the world that I’m busy working on yet another opera. Only thing is, I can’t think of anything witty to say. I never can. All I could think to tweet was “on way to first day of rehearsals”. But, I thought that was like sharing a blurry photo of my dinner on facebook, and decided against it.

I resigned myself to waiting for someone else to pop out a tweet, so I could then just retweet (chuckles – what he said!). #FirstDayofSchool. That’s it! First day of school. That’s exactly fitting for the first day of rehearsals for a new opera. It’s thrown around all the time by singers explaining their first day jitters. And it’s really true. First rehearsals are all about getting to know your new colleagues (who will my friends be?), the director’s vision (I’m a spider?), the conductor’s tempi (it’s that fast?) and, the costume designs (I’m going to be naked?!).

Happily for me, my first day at the Mid Wales Opera The Magic Flute School was a dream. Although the director’s brief for my character is actually spidery, and I will actually be a little bit naked, my new classmates are delightful and the Head Teachers (conductor Jonathan Lyness and director Richard Studer) are inspirational. Day one couldn’t have been more fun and challenging, and I’m sure the rest of the season will be the same.

I’m certain by the end, my only hope will be that I fail my exams, only to be forced to repeat the whole experience from day one again. But, maybe that’s called being rehired. Back to the adult world. #facepalm

We are touring The Magic Flute across Wales this spring, book your tickets by clicking the links below.

Hafren, Newtown, 17th February
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 7th March
Pontardawe Arts Centre, 9th March
Pontio, Bangor, 26th April
Riverfront, Newport, 4th May

tumbleheadMatt R J Ward is a graduate of the Royal College of Music London (RCM Yvonne Wells Award) and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts where he studied both Music Theatre and Opera. Currently, Matt is performing Monostatos in The Magic Flute for Mid Wales Opera and will join Charles Court Opera in the same role later this year. A previous NODA nominee for Best Male in G&S, Matt has also been hailed as providing “a brilliant comic turn” by The Telegraph. This August, Matt returns briefly to Australia to take up a guest residency at the Vancouver Arts Centre, devising and producing a community opera. Performance credits include Andres/ Cochenille/ Frantz in Tales of Hoffmann (English Touring Opera), Borsa in Rigoletto (Opera Project Tour), Giacomo in L’assedio di Calais (ETO, Armel Operafesztivál Budapest, Arte live broadcast), Messenger in Life to Come (written and directed by Stephen Fry), and Western Union Boy in ETO’s Olivier Award Winning season of Paul Bunyan.


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