Interview: Soprano Sophie Bevan set for 2012 Edinburgh Festival
Performaces include Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bach and Handel
This article is from 2012.
With awards and acclaim piling up at her feet, soprano Sophie Bevan will have a familiar face and voice beside her this August. She tells Carol Main that music is kept firmly in the family
‘Fun’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘luck’ are words which crop up regularly in conversation with Sophie Bevan. The 28-year-old soprano clearly enjoys her chosen career and the growing number of prestigious opportunities which are coming her way. They may be fun and wonderful, but it’s certainly not all down to luck. Bevan is one of the hottest talents around, a beautifully expressive lyric soprano with an easy creaminess to her rich tone that adapts to a huge variety of roles. Earlier this year, she walked away with The Times Breakthrough Award at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards, fending off a variety of actors, artists and authors for the coveted prize.
Although Bevan has appeared plenty times on the Fringe – proudly winning an award with Painting Music, a group that combines art and music for children – and has been in the audience for EIF performances, this is the first time she’s been invited to be part of their programme: ‘It’s fantastic to be doing the real deal, and I feel very honoured.’
Not that Bevan is giving up on the Fringe. She is also singing Bach and Handel with Ludus Baroque at Canongate Kirk. To those Fringe pieces in Bevan’s Edinburgh 2012 repertoire are added EIF performances of Purcell’s King Arthur and the incidental music to Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in its original version with vocal numbers as well as the famous overture and ‘Wedding March’.
‘It’s such glorious music,’ she says, ‘really cheeky and charming.’ Joining Bevan on stage for three of her four appearances is her younger sister, Mary, another rising soprano star. There may well be more to come, as the Bevans number seven girls and a boy in the immediate family, with around 60 cousins who are also all musical. ‘We’re all very close in age and close as a family; we’re so used to spending time together. Mary and I love working together and as our younger sisters might go into singing, we’ll always have someone to sing with.’
It’s a busy summer for the sisters and even more so for Sophie, who gets married in July. ‘This past year or so, everything has happened so quickly. It’s like a whirlwind. I feel like I’m getting to sing everywhere both at home and abroad, with exciting conductors and festivals around the world, including back in Scotland for Lammermuir in September. I expected it to be a gradual process, but it’s not!’
After a brief honeymoon, much of which will be spent learning scores, Bevan makes her debut at the Royal Opera House in the autumn singing the Woodbird in Siegfried. It’s good preparation for her ROH appearance next May as Pamina in The Magic Flute. ‘I love all the dressing up and acting with opera, but I also love the interaction with the audience and looking them in the eye in concerts and recitals. I just hope I keep being lucky enough to do it all.’
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 13 Aug, 8pm, £12–£42; King Arthur, 27 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£42. Both performances at Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 0131 473 2000; Ludus Baroque, Canongate Kirk, Canongate, 0131 668 2019, 8 Aug, 7.30pm & 9 Aug, 7pm, £16 (£12).