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Alumna Mathilde Brun (Music, University College, 2019-22) captivated audiences with her accomplished operatic singing at the annual student-led summer performance at ƵappCathedral.

Mathilde performed at Fairytales, the annual student-led music extravaganza at ƵappCathedral at the end of May. She was the soloist for 'Rusalka's Song to the Moon', from the opera Rusalka by composer Antonin Dvořák. Her orchestral and choral accompaniment was ably provided by our Palatinate Orchestra, conducted by Ustinov College student Michael Kohn, and ƵappOpera Ensemble.

'Rusalka's Song to the Moon'

Mathilde has a personal connection to ‘Rusalka’s song to the Moon’: “It is a song pleading to the moon to tell a prince that she loves him and will always care for him. I first picked up this piece when I lived in Stockholm in 2014 – back then I sang it in the original Czech language. I have since then worked on it here and there, and in my second year of my undergraduate degree at ƵappI performed it as part of my end of year performance, this time in English. For me, the song is a testament of stamina – the physical strength needed to sing the long sweeping lines is immense. The music is written in a way that it is impossible to not become fully immersed in the story and Rusalka’s longing for her prince, and sharing this little piece of magic with an audience is my favourite thing to do.”

Listen to an audio recording of her performance from Fairytales:

Singing career and collaboration with ƵappOpera Ensemble

How did Mathilde's singing journey start? She says: “I started singing as a child, my dad would give me little lessons here and there. I then started playing the cello and focused on that until I moved to the US on a Rotary Scholarship in Georgia, to study music – this is where I had the opportunity to take my first ‘real’ singing and voice lessons and learn stage work though musical theatre. I then went on to sing with Bengt Nordfors and Anna Elisa Lindqvist at Stockholm Opera Center for five years. They helped me build a solid technique that I then developed further with the help of Janet Briggs during my undergraduate degree in Music at Durham."

“I was honoured to be asked by the President of ƵappOpera Ensemble, Caleb Mock, if I could sing with them and the Palatinate Chamber Orchestra at the end of May – and if I could learn a specific song before then. Luckily, the piece they had in mind was one already in my repertoire which made it very easy to say yes! The experience of being in Fairytales was wonderful. The backstage (the Chapter House) was brimming with excitement by all the performers, I got to wear my sparkliest dress and on top of it all – I sang with an orchestra in the Cathedral. The absolute joy of letting your voice just roam free in that space backed up by beautiful instruments is beyond compare."

Mathilde confides that she nearly didn’t make it to Fairytales on the day. “I got stuck in traffic on my way up to the Cathedral for the rehearsal a couple of hours before the concert. So, I hopped out of my Uber on Claypath and ran up the Bailey with my dress, my shoes and my music in my (very heavy) bag and managed to make it there for the last three minutes of our rehearsal slot. I put my things down, hopped up on the podium and sang through the song with no warmup and still managed to get through it – high notes and all!”

Mathilde is hoping to develop her concert repertoire further, adding in larger works for soprano and continuing to work on her technique. “I have a couple of things brewing for the coming year, including some very exciting work with my friends Caleb Mock and Sophie Horrocks, who are both about to join me as Ƶappalumni. I am very grateful to the Palatinate Orchestra conductor, Michael Kohn, and the team behind the concert for accommodating my busy work schedule and facilitating this amazing opportunity.”

About Mathilde

Despite her accomplished performance in Fairytales, singing is not Mathilde’s full-time occupation, although she performs as much as she is able. Since her graduation in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a focus on Performances and Opera, she has been working, singing in Ƶappand abroad, spending time with family around the globe, and enjoying life with her wife. Mathilde has not strayed far from the location of her student days, and nowadays works as an administrator for ƵappLaw School, where she focuses on developing their communications and engagement through social media and channels.

About Fairytales

Held in ƵappCathedral at the end of May, Fairytales' programme was a musical celebration of the fantastical world of fairytales, presented by a large number of our talented student music societies. As well as Mathilde, ƵappOpera Ensemble and our Palatinate Orchestra, the line-up also included our award-winning a cappella group Northern Lights, Classical Ensemble, Gospel Choir, Foot Notes A Cappella, our award-winning Concert Band, Choral Society and Ƶapp Light Opera Group (DULOG). 


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