Professional soprano Samantha Hay was cast in a variety of roles during her time as a schoolgirl growing up in Matlock, writes Gay Bolton.
Now she’s coming to the stage at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall on Sunday, January 3, as part of the touring Johann Strauss Gala.
“When I was at Highfields School, I played Milk Maid in Oliver! and later at St Elphins, being tall, I go cast in all the male roles including Joseph & The Technicolour Dreamcoat,” she said.
Samantha credits a teacher at Highfields for recognising her early potential. “During my first year, the music teacher, Joe Clarke, spotted I had some talent and set up an audition for Cantamus Girls Choir in Mansfield, who I sang with for seven years,” she said. “Without him and Pamela Cook who ran the choir, I may not be doing this now!”
Her talents were nurtured at Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal College of Music, “Afterwards I worked in London’s West End singing lead roles for the D’Oyle Carte Opera.
“I then joined the Chorus of Welsh National Opera (WNO) and recently returned to sing Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) for them. I have performed Queen of the NIght for three diffferent companies in the past two years, but WNO was pretty special for me.”
She is currently soloist on a tour of the Johann Strauss Gala, which visits Nottingham on Sunday. “This is the first time working with Raymond Gubbay, and although I have sung many gala concerts over the years, this is the first time I have toured as the only soloist.”
Reflecting on the pieces which she sings in the gala, Samantha said: “The Doll Song is lots of fun because it involves some choreography. I’m also really excited to be working with six fantastic professional dancers - my own piece of Strictly!
“Voices of Spring is quite a challenge, as the vocal line is very instrumental, so it’s quite technical to sing.”
Having recharged her batteries in Paris with her parents over Christmas, Samantha faces a busy start to 2016. She said: “The Strauss tour crosses over with my next contract when I start rehearsals for English Touring Opera, where I will be performing Donna Elvira and 1st Priestess (Iphigenie en Tauride).”
Samantha has watched and worked with many amazing and inspiring singers over the years. She said: “The singers that inspire me most are those who not only have great voices, but also a great commitment to acting and making you believe they are the character.”
Ticket details are available from the box office on 0115 9895555.