Soprano Louise Alder is one of the UK's brightest stars. She was a finalist in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and won best Young Singer at the International Opera Awards 2017.
March 8, 2018
image © Gerard Collett
S: What are you up to at the moment?
LA: I’m currently in Belgium for a week, singing two concerts of Rossini arias with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra.
S: What do you love most about your job? What would you change about your job?
LA: I love the music. It’s sounds corny, but I really do. Classical music has surrounded me my whole life as a sort of first language, and I can’t help it, it ignites a fire in me that no other type of art or theatre does. I love meeting people and drawing inspiration from others that I watch and work with, and I love having the opportunity to lose myself entirely in a story, often not from my era or country and become a totally different person. Personally I wish there was a way I could consistently at a great level, earn enough to live comfortably and be at home more. I also wish the industry attracted a broader cross section of society, both in the audience and on stage.
S: Which woman in the opera industry most inspires you?
LA: The opera industry is jam packed full of inspiring women, particularly of course on stage. I can honestly say any woman in the industry that manages to find a balance between a personal life, particularly with regards to the logistics of having a family and or stable partnership, and a fulfilling career, is my hero.
S: What are your main interests and passions outside of work?
LA: When I’m not learning notes or words... I really enjoy repairing and up-cycling furniture, painting, watching Netflix, particularly documentaries, cycling on my lovely new bike, drinking wine and eating great food with friends.
S: Have you ever considered your gender to be relevant to the challenges of your job?
LA: As a young woman, in the first few years that I was working full time, a number of times I felt walked over and dismissed by older men in situations that my male colleagues were given much more respect. I know that this is not specific to my chosen job however..
S: Where would you like to be in ten years from now?
LA: In ten years from now I would like to have children, a loving partner, healthy friends and family and have retained my love and passion for singing.
S: Do you worry about balancing your career with your personal life in the future?
LA: All. The. Time. Now. In the past. In the future.
S: Have you ever been advised not to have children for the sake of your career?
LA: Yes. By a woman, strangely enough someone who managed to do it herself..
S: In a business where there is always a plentiful supply of artists ready and willing, do you think changes should be made to make the industry more inclusive for artists with families and/or dependants?
LA: I am the daughter of two professional musicians who spent my childhood juggling their diaries so that one of them was at home while the other went on tour or worked. They ensured we were brought up by both of them equally while maintaining careers in top orchestras and choirs and sometimes as soloists too, for my entire childhood. Now being in the same industry I see the sacrifices they made and at what cost. And as a singer who sings a lot of opera, often forced to be away for longer periods of time than they were, the task will be far harder. In fact, in the industry’s current state, I’m not sure it’s possible. And that’s frankly terribly upsetting.
S: Which operatic character have you most enjoyed playing and why?
LA: I love any character that has depth. Musical depth, dramatic depth, emotional depth, all of it ideally.. I particularly adore Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Susanna from Le Nozze do Figaro. Strong, clever, single minded women! A side note.. I’m absolutely gagging to do a trouser role. And I’m only gutted us sopranos aren’t afforded the opportunity often!
S: Which novel or play by a female author would you like to see adapted for the operatic stage?
LA: There are so many! But particularly, a book by an amazingly clever woman who was head girl when I joined my secondary school, Jessie Burton: The Miniaturist.