Opera singer reflects on people who nurtured her talent

Samantha Hay, soloist  at Johann Strauss Gala in Sheffield City Hall.Samantha Hay, soloist  at Johann Strauss Gala in Sheffield City Hall.
Samantha Hay, soloist at Johann Strauss Gala in Sheffield City Hall.
Professional opera singer Samantha Hay was cast in a variety of roles during her time as a schoolgirl growing up in Matlock.

“When I was at Highfields School, I played Milk Maid in Oliver! and later at St Elphins, being tall, I got cast in all the male roles including Joseph & The Technicolour Dreamcoat,” she said.

“During my first year at Highfields, the music teacher, Joe Clarke, spotted I had some talent and set up an audition for Cantamus Girls Choir in Mansfield, who I sang with for seven years.Without him and Pamela Cook who ran the choir, I may not be doing this now!” said Samantha, a soprano.

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She is currently touring in the Johann Strauss Gala, which visits Nottingham Royal Concert Hall on January 3 and Sheffield City Hall on January 16. “This is the first time working with Raymond Gubbay, and although I have sung many gala concerts over the years, this is the first time I have toured as the only soloist.”

Reflecting on the pieces which she sings in the gala, Samantha said: “The Doll Song is lots of fun because it involves some choreography. I’m really excited to be working with six fantastic professional dancers - my own piece of Strictly! ‘Voices of Spring’ is quite a challenge, as the vocal line is very instrumental, so it’s quite technical to sing.”

Samantha, who lives in Cardiff, faces a busy start to 2016. She said: “The Strauss tour crosses over with my next contract when I start rehearsals for English Touring Opera, where I will be performing Donna Elvira and 1st Priestess (Iphigenie en Tauride).”

She trained at Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal College of Music, worked in London’s West End singing lead roles for the D’Oyley Carte Opera and then joined the chorus of Welsh National Opera and recently returned to sing Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) for the company.

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Tickets for the Johann Strauss Gala at Nottingham on January 3 are £32.50-£19.50. Contact 0115 989 5555 or www.trch.co.uk.

Yickets for the performance at Sheffield City Hall on January 16 range from £16.50 to £35.20. Call 0114 2 789 789 or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

Both performances start at 3pm.