A Classical Future
Becoming an opera singer is not your everyday career but for Amanda Roocroft, it was a dream she turned into reality
Being an opera singer is not something that everyone wants to do when they leave school. It’s an industry that’s renowned for being tough and only the very best succeed and make a living from it, but for one local lass who was born in Coppull, Chorley, Amanda Roocroft, she had wanted to be a singer from an early age and that’s exactly what happened. Today she is an international opera singer performing all over the world.
With a family background in music, she also played the piano and cornet, but singing was her first love. Amanda studied at Southlands High School, before joining Runshaw College. She got a place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she studied singing under Barbara Robotham.
Now at 52 years old her 25-year career, has led her to sing in leading roles in some of the most famous opera houses of Europe and North America and secured an international reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting singers, in opera, concert, and in recital.
She made her professional recital debut in September 1989 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and her professional operatic debut in 1990 as Sophie in ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ with Welsh National Opera. In 1994 she was the subject of a Granada Television documentary ‘Amanda Roocroft: Opera’s Rising Star’. The film, directed by Colin Bell, chronicled the first seven years of her career, beginning with her days as a student and ending with her solo recording debut for EMI Records.
She has appeared with leading orchestras throughout Europe and North America with conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Ivor Bolton, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniele Gatti, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Valery Gergiev, Sir Mark Elder, Antonio Pappano and Bernard Haitink.
Highlights from Amanda’s career include her New York Philharmonic debut; Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ with Riccardo Chailly in Milan; regular appearances at the BBC Proms in London and at the Edinburgh International Festival; a European tour with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester; and playing Ellen Orford in ‘Peter Grimes’ with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle.
In concert Amanda has appeared with leading orchestras throughout Europe and North America and has performed at many of the world’s leading opera houses and festivals including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Glyndebourne Festival, the English National Opera, the Welsh National Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Netherlands Opera and the Salzburg Festival.
She was also the winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for her performance in the title role of ‘Jenu˚fa’ at English National Opera.
A soprano singer, Amanda is as passionate about teaching as she is performing and believes in developing young singers to become unique, well-rounded artists using a solid technique and a vivid imagination. She has recently been announced as the new Visiting Tutor of Singing at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
She said: “I am thrilled and excited to be joining the vocal and operatic department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. I have heard great things about Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and I feel proud to be joining a fantastic team of colleagues.”
Paul Wingfield, head of vocal and operatic studies, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire added “We are delighted that Amanda will be joining our team this year. She brings with her a wealth of experience both as a performer of international standing and as a highly-regarded teacher.”
“She comes to the department at an exciting time in its history as, together with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a whole, we look set to go from strength to strength.” She took up her position in late 2018.
Closer to home, The Amanda Roocroft Theatre is located at Runshaw College’s Leyland campus. It is a 128-seated space hosting a number of dance, drama and musical theatre productions each year with a student cast and produced by staff all of whom have experience of working in professional venues and productions.
Named after her, both in recognition of her outstanding achievements but also as an inspiration to other students, that by working hard and following your dreams you can achieve what you want to achieve.
So next time someone you know says they want to be a singer, remind them with a lot of dedication, hard work and talent, your dream could come true.