Why - Marie

Why Wedmore?

Marie Vassiliou tells us

What did you know of Wedmore before getting involved with our Arts Festival?

I can hardly believe it, but I first came to Wedmore in 2000, when I was involved with the inspired and inspiring premiere of Mike and Kate Westbrook’s opera Jago, commissioned and performed by Wedmore Opera. Since then I have been involved in a number of other productions and performances in the area. I have got to know something of the people, the place, the atmosphere and I love it. I have made special, long-lasting friendships and continue to be amazed at how so many passionate, arts-loving people are able to pull together and create quality performances for the local community.

What do you prefer - Somerset Cider or Cheddar Cheese? Gosh, big question! After my last Wedmore Opera production, Eleanor Vale, I was presented with some delicious Somerset cider...and I’ve always loved visiting Cheddar and indeed eating cheddar cheese! The cheese probably wins it, but it’s a close one!

Which of our many Somerset tourist attractions is your favourite? I’ve always had a soft spot for Somerset. I have always said that I feel that I am coming home when I visit...there is a sense of breathing space and I feel calmer than in London. It’s impossible to narrow it down to one place...I loved walking around the Glastonbury Tor last time I went.

And which in the rest of the world? One of the places which is most special to me for many reasons is the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I first visited it with my husband early on in our marriage and last year we took our daughter to see it for the first time. It is a rather magical and inspiring place to visit.

Which soprano (or any singer) do you most admire? There are so many singers that I admire, for all different reasons. Of the sopranos early Callas recordings are probably my absolute favourite. The intelligence behind the singing, the absolute commitment to the drama and character, as well as her precision and boldness, I feel utterly transported when I listen to her. I also adore listening to Fritz Wunderlich, Anne Sofie von Otter and of course Luciano Pavarotti. 

After Wedmore, what’s your next project? I’ll be taking part in the St Lawrence Jewry festival at the invitation of Graham Allum and Sarah Walker, giving a programme of Bach. After that I will be performing a recital at The Hague, with a new colleague I have met through my recent interest in musical improvisation. We met at a symposium held in Estonia and then again in Finland. It was a joy to sing and also improvise with him. I am also rather thrilled to announce that in addition to being Professor of Voice at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, I have been invited to join the teaching staff at the Royal Academy of Music, starting in Sep. It is thrilling to work with the new generation of young opera stars.

Book now

Marie will be singing some sparkling summer songs, accompanied by Nigel Foster, at 4.45pm in St Mary’s Church on Saturday 8 July.

Tickets: £10, to include a glass of wine and some canapes