Young Artist Interview: Soprano Josephine Goddard on singing what you love
Musicians’ Company Yeoman Josephine Goddard, is a multi-award winning British Soprano and winner of the Company’s 2018 RCM Silver Medal. A versatile, in demand singer with a wide-ranging repertoire, Josephine’s operatic performances include Ella in Huw Watkin’s In the Locked Room, Helena in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and Forester’s Wife/Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen. Josephine also holds the Christine Collins Award in recognition of her talent, musical skill and contribution to the 2019 Garsington Opera productions.
What inspires you to sing?
I fell in love with singing and performing as a small child. I loved the feeling of connecting and communicating with an audience – and the feeling of immense power that came with being on stage. I find myself inspired by the characters I get to portray, and the fact that every role is a new opportunity to explore and portray a different emotional story.
Which operatic roles have you most enjoyed playing and why?
I’ve been so lucky to have already performed some of my dream roles. In the past year I’ve sung the Countess from The Marriage of Figaro, a role I’ve always loved. She is a complicated woman who had such dignity in the face of her husband’s (attempted) infidelity and gets some the most exquisite music in the opera. I also loved covering Marenka in The Bartered Bride at Garsington. She’s another incredibly strong independent woman which is very fun to play. And it was a real joy to discover singing in Czech. It was a new experience and challenge that I relished.
How do you prepare for a performance? Any pre-show rituals?
No, not really. I’m lucky that I don’t have to be very precious about food on show days, but I do like to start the day with a big breakfast and then maybe have a light meal nearer to the performance. Pizza and 18th century corsets – not a brilliant combination! One thing I’ll definitely do is drink lots of herbal tea: it’s tasty and helps make sure that I’m hydrated for the show.
What’s the secret to your competition success?
I don’t think there is any great secret to success in competitions. I’ve always listened to my singing teacher (Dinah Harris) who gave me some brilliant advice: never second guess what you think a panel or jury want to hear, just sing what you love and music that really speaks to you. Having a fabulously supportive pianist to work with is also very important. As singers we’re so lucky that we’re very rarely on stage alone, and that relationship can really help calm any nerves brought on by a high pressure performance or competition environment.
What upcoming performances are you most looking forward to?
I’m currently preparing a lot of exciting things for summer 2020 – more details to be announced soon! I can’t wait to get my teeth into a role which feels like it will stretch and develop my technique and stage craft.
Which soprano roles are on your bucket list?
As I said, I’m very lucky that I’ve already been able to perform some of my bucket list roles. One of the roles that I’d still love to play is Ellen Orford, in Britten’s Peter Grimes. I first saw the opera at ENO and was totally bowled over by the music and the story. It is such a tricky and interesting role to play, there are so many choices to be made: especially regarding how culpable she is and how much she knows of Peter’s life.
I’d also have to say Mimi from Puccini’s La Boheme. I had the chance to work on the role with Barbara Frittoli as part of the Solti Accademia in 2017 and it was a life and voice changing experience for me. It would be a dream to make all that work a reality.
What’s your life motto?
Sing what you love; love what you sing.
You can find out more about Josephine at josephinegoddard.com, and follow her on twitter @josephine_fg