INTERVIEW: Upcoming opera star Natasha Agarwal

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There’s a chance to see three up and coming musicians at St Nicholas’ Church, Loxley, on Sunday at 3pm, in a free concert.

Natasha Agarwal (soprano) has performed in the UK, France, Holland, Italy and in leading roles at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai; Georgia Morse (cello) has performed as a soloist on many occasions including the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Orchestra del Carmine in Florence; George Fradley (piano) has performed Beethoven piano concertos and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. All three are postgraduate students at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Natasha has put together the programme, and tells Herald arts about it and her burgeoning career here.

Tell us about your connection to Loxley.

“I did my undergraduate degree in Maths at Warwick University, and I’m currently studying singing at the Royal Academy. While I was at Warwick, where I was a choral scholar, I did a lot of music and got introduced to Duncan Watts [musician and concert organizer] at Loxley through work I did with Opera Warwick.

“St Nicholas’ is such a lovely place to perform, and there is always a lovely warm appreciative audience.”

What is the programme for Sunday?

“It will be a varied programme of romantic era songs and opera and more modern pieces, particularly by contemporary female composers, such as Gwyneth Walker and Betty Rowe. There’s lots that everyone will recognise but some new music as well, including Mozart, Tchaikovsky,  Puccini and Rachmaninov; it’s quite varied and entertaining and finishing with a piece by Bernstein as it’s his 100th anniversary this year. We’ve found a lovely piece for voice cello and piano.

“As a trio we’re an unusual combination – not an ensemble you usually see. The three of us came together for a module last year at the Academy. We have lots of lovely repertoire that we’ve found and built up. We’ve done a few recitals around London and Cambridge, and are so looking forward to Loxley.”

Maths then music seems an unusual career path – what’s next?

“For me it was important to have a broad foundation. I love maths, and wanted to study something that was challenging and interesting, but I knew that I wanted to pursue music too, so it was a back up plan if I should need it.

“Maths and music have so much in common, it’s fascinating. I actually did a paper on relationship between maths and music, there are lots of amazing abstract ideas about what links the two. When I was at Warwick 70 per cent of the orchestra were maths students, which is incredible.

“I’m hoping to pursue opera, and would love to study abroad.”

You’ve been performing opera in India, we understand

“Yes, my family are originally from Mumbai, so this summer and last I’ve been out there to perform at the Royal Opera House in a few charity concerts. It’s been an amazing experience; I love performing there and seeing my family. I’m really hoping opera will continue to grow there, as it’s the only surviving opera house, and so it’s new and exciting.”

What would be your dream opera role?

“I love The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart is a genius, it’s a long opera but so special and clever, there’s never a dull moment. I did play Susanna at Opera Warwick, and would love to do it again.”