GREG PRITCHARD.countertenor

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After completing his music degree at the Russell group University of York, which he attended from 2014 - 2017, Greg considered various possibilities for continuing his music education. One option that increasingly appealed to him was to study in Europe, particularly Germany or Austria. In January 2017 he flew out to a very, very cold Austria where he stayed for a couple of days before going onto Berlin. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in both Austria and Germany finding he liked the food and cultural experiences that both countries had to offer. However, he knew his German language skills were not of a standard that he  would need for study at an advanced level. He decided to relocate to Berlin, a young vibrant city, and originally had planned to go in January 2018. However, things that anyone initially needs to get ‘sorted’ when relocating quickly fell into place during a further exploratory trip to the city at the beginning of October 2017, he brought his plans forward and started living in Germany’s capital from mid October 2017

One of the things that anyone moving to somewhere completely new, especially when the move is not in the first instance part of attending a university, is to build up a circle of friends. Fortunately this is something that Greg’s sociable nature makes reasonably easy for him. He used his love of performance initially to meet new people and joined a theatre group and a choir. The image to the right is of him wrapped up warmly against the cold of his first Berlin winter just before singing a Christmas Concert with the choir in one of Berlin’s beautiful churches.

A particularly busy end to 2018 sadly left no time for community group activities. After initially using on line resources and of course day to day life in a German speaking city for extending and improving his German language skills Greg enrolled at a private language school and commenced an intensive study programme for the intermediate language competency qualifications recognised by the German government. He also started teaching part time at one of Berlin’s International Schools, where his native English speaker status was an important asset; he taught sessions involving story, music and movement with young students which he enjoyed very much. He has missed his young pupils since moving back to Wales - which you can read more about below. (To read more about his life in Berlin please see the Berlin page.)

The aria‘ O del mio dolce ardor’ is from the opera Paride ed Elena by Gluck; the plot of which covers the events that occurred between the judgement of Paris (Paride) to the flight of Paris and Helen (Elena) to Troy. The opera premiered in November 1770. In the aria Paride declares his love for Elena singing that

The air which you breathe,

At last I will breathe -

 …a familiar and recurring sentiment expressed in songs of love by suitors across the centuries.

Listen and enjoy the high notes.

Welcome, whether you have been following Greg since he first came to the attention of the media or have just ‘discovered’ him a good place to start may be the ‘Been there….’ page, and its sub-pages, where you will find some introductory facts and information on the range of performance activities that have been keeping him busy since he came to the attention of the public; including charity engagements, overseas appearances, a tour and television appearances.

If you delight in Greg’s high notes why not listen to the recording below of one of the arias he performed for a summer recital in 2017.   If you would like to find some biographical details on Greg then the ‘Low Downs’ page will provide visitors to this site with some background information on him . As well as biographical details the ‘Low Downs’ page has information on tutoring that Greg has done, choirs that he has sung with and information on an invitation to appear in a rarely performed opera in Mayfair.

Details of the range of music courses that Greg has attended in recent years can be found on the Opera Courses page and its sub-pages. He has been a member of the W.I.A.V. Saturday Academy and attended an International Opera course also affiliated to W.I.A.V. In September 2015 Greg completed an Opera Intensive Summer School course at the  National Opera Studio in London.  It was the second year that he had attended a Summer School at the National Opera Studio, previously he completed their Opera Intro. Summer School. The National Opera studio was established by the Arts Council in 1979 and since 2003 has had premises in Chapel Yard, Wandsworth. The Studio acts as a link between music colleges and the six main opera companies in the U.K.  

In the summer of 2016 Greg attended an intensive week long course taught by the Cambridge Early Music organisation and had a full bursary to return in 2017. In 2016 Greg had attended a Summer School at Jesus College Cambridge hosted by Cambridge Early Music who provide intensive study weeks in historically informed performance of early music. He was invited to apply for a place in 2017 also and received a full bursary for attendance of the Monteverdi Legacy Summer School which took place the first week in August 2017 at Girton College; read about his time there on the Opera Courses page.

Also In August 2017 Greg sang in an all male production of Tosca. Greg sang soprano with the chorus and was also a cover for the shepherd boy’s aria ‘Io de sospiri Mia’.  Tosca was the second all male opera production that Greg had performed in - the previous year he played the title role in an all male production of CarMen. Further details of both of these productions can be found on the CarMen and Tosca pages of this website.

Performance contact details and a ‘Message for Greg’ box, which he really enjoys receiving, can be found on the ‘Contacts’ page.

Back to Wales

Greg had by no means entirely left the UK during his time in Berlin and during his time there he regularly returned. In January 2018 he visited to see family and friends and he was also delighted to accept an invitation to appear, at the end of October 2018, at a charity event for the Terrence Higgins Trust Wales.

In August 2019 Greg returned again to Wales to see family and friends combining  this visit with attendance at a Summer School at the Wales International Academy of Voice.

Greg has regularly attended Summer Schools with a variety of establishments both before and during his time at the University of York. He has attended and enjoyed Summer Schools with the National Opera Studio in London and the Cambridge Early Music Organisation. In 2017 he gained a fully funded place on one of their summer programmes of study and would have attended a second week had it not clashed with rehearsal and performance commitments that he had already made with the Carmina Priapea Opera Company to perform in a production they staged of Tosca; details of which can be found on the Tosca page.

Greg looked forward to attending the WIAV Summer School, especially as he had not had the opportunity to go to one in 2018. The Wales International Academy of Voice is part of the University of Wales Trinity St David and offers full time undergraduate and post graduate programmes of study as well as a Summer School. This year the Summer School afforded the students attending the opportunity to sing for a number of internationally renowned performers including the soprano Rosemary Joshua who is the head of the Dutch National Opera Studio and Della Jones who has appeared with all the leading British opera companies and undertaken foreign engagements throughout the world. Greg has previously worked with Della Jones when she was a tutor on one of the National Opera studio courses he attended. Greg found this years WIAV Summer School immensely enjoyable and all of the vocal coaches incredibly supportive. He completed the two weeks feeling vocally rejuvenated and  ready to start an exciting new chapter, details of which are below.

When tutors at the WIAV Summer School discovered that Greg was intending to apply for a place on a post graduate music degree it was suggested to him that rather than applying for a course in Germany, which had been his original intention, why did he not study for the MA in Advanced Vocal Studies programme that is taught at WIAV? As the Summer School came to a close he was auditioned for the MA and offered a place for the Course starting in October that year. Greg was delighted to be offered a place on the MA in Advanced Vocal Studies, an opportunity only made available to a select cohort each year and accepted the offer, opting to undertake the course of study over the two year part time route rather than the one year full time one. Having made that decision Greg then essentially had less than a month to pack up his entire life in Germany and move back to the UK,  a process that included flights back and forth and the hiring of a large transit van and driving between Berlin and South Wales twice, that is there and back again. He was determined that he was not going to leave behind a beautiful piano that he had only purchased earlier in the year. He was able to do most of the things he needed to do in the tight window he had but has returned once to Berlin over New Year,which is also his birthday, to say good-bye to friends he did not get a change to see before his rapid departure and also to do some administrative tasks that he had just not had time for before he left. Greg is enjoying his return to study very much and is getting used to being a commuter once more driving into Cardiff for regular coaching sessions. Whilst there is no more hopping on and off the U-Bahn to travel around Berlin, he is now back to having to drive in city traffic for the last part of his journey to the Academy, there is the compensation though of the beautiful Welsh countryside being on his doorstep once more.

The image above and immediately below is of Greg appearing in a performance of  a touring production of the Marriage of Figaro with the Mid Wales Opera Company. Some of the post graduate students of WIAV appeared in the opera as members of the chorus. Greg played the part of a servant and used his bass rather than countertenor voice for the performances. The tour had been scheduled to appear at venues throughout Wales but had to be cut short when all theatres were closed.