Tenor tunes up for a note­wor­thy year

DAILY GRIND Be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional singer has proved the per­fect choice for a young man with a love of lan­guages and mu­sic. Cameron Bar­clay tells Cather­ine Healy about the de­ci­sion to fol­low his heart.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Whether he’s singing a bib­li­cal text, per­form­ing in an op­eretta or at a com­mu­nity fundraiser, 26-year-old Cameron Bar­clay loves his work.

‘‘Opera is the most sat­is­fy­ing, be­cause it brings to­gether so many dif­fer­ent things.’’

He was par­tic­u­larly good at lan­guages at school and won prizes from Al­liance Fran­caise for his com­mand of French. At univer­sity he be­gan study­ing lan­guages and law with the in­ten­tion of be­com­ing a diplo­mat.

But he soon be­came jeal­ous of friends who were at the univer­sity’s school of mu­sic and aban­doned law af­ter a year.

‘‘Mum was wor­ried. She’s a very prag­matic per­son. But she just wanted me to do well at what­ever I’m do­ing and I think my singing is a source of pride for her now. She still worries about me mak­ing enough money.’’

For­tu­nately this is a busy year for the young tenor. He is about to em­bark on a New Zealand tour of The Pi­rates of Pen­zance, di­rected by Ray­mond Hawthorne. He’ll per­form along­side Ge­orge Henare, Helen Med­lyn and Geral­dine Bro­phy. He’s off to Melbourne with Oper­atu­nity and then to Ja­pan to un­der­study a cou­ple of the main roles in Ken Hill’s the Opera.

He’ll then head to Europe for a round of au­di­tions, the goal be­ing to se­cure a po­si­tion as a pro­fes­sional singer there.

As a 17-year-old Mr Bar­clay spent a year in Italy. He goes back ev­ery year to visit the fam­ily who bil­leted him and speaks to them ev­ery week.

‘‘I think a stint of my work­ing life will be spent in Italy, the UK or Ger­many. That’s where a lot of the work is.

‘‘The life­style is bet­ter here though. Ki­wis like to come

Phan­tom of home to they?’’

He says one of the high­lights of the job is work­ing with like-minded peo­ple.

‘‘There are hours of slog when you’re learn­ing lines. That can be quite dry.’’

But ex­plor­ing beau­ti­ful pieces of mu­sic ev­ery day from his home on the side of Mt Hob­son is a dream. In be­tween re­hearsals and tours he is mas­ter of his own time.

‘‘It’s a bit se­duc­tive and it can slip away from you. You have to treat it like a job and

set­tle down, don’t struc­ture your days. In a reg­u­lar job, if you turn up and have a bad day, you still get paid. If I have a bad day, peo­ple are watch­ing.

‘‘And you’re al­ways judged on your last per­for­mance. You have to have a thick skin but also be re­ally re­cep­tive.

‘‘You have to know what your bag of tricks is. Gen­er­ally the stuff that speaks to you most is what you’re good at. When you tune into that, you can’t go wrong.’’

cather­ine.healy @fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz

Top voice: For­mer Dil­worth stu­dent Cameron Bar­clay is a tenor with a pas­sion for opera.

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