Nicole Evans has been singing for as long as she can remember, but she didn’t fall in love with classical music until she was 15 years old, during her years at Christchurch Girls’ High School. She performed in her very first opera in year 13, in the chorus for Canterbury Opera’s production of Turandot.
Nicole went on to study a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in German at the University of Otago before heading to London to take her singing career to the next level.
She spent two years in the opera school at Morley College in London. Her tuition at Morley College was partly funded by the New Zealand Society of the United Kingdom (a society for Kiwi expats) and Morley College’s own bursary fund. During her time there, Nicole got the opportunity to work with many high profile conductors, directors, pianists and coaches.
One of the most influential people she met there was her singing teacher Jacqueline Bremar, a dramatic soprano.
“There are a lot of charlatans in the music world who will be happy to take your money while delivering very little, but Jacqueline is the real deal. She truly knows what she is doing and is an amazing teacher, mentor and friend.”
After a long stint in the UK, Nicole Evans has returned home to Christchurch where she is pursuing a career as a singer.
The 32-year-old has immersed herself in singing, performing onstage in operas, oratorio or in recitals. She also teaches singing.
“I have dipped in and out of professional singing since 2001, but really have focused on singing more over the last three to four years.”
Nicole is passionate about the creative process of learning and staging a role. There are four distinct phases that go into getting a new work onstage: learning the music, music rehearsals, blocking (staging) rehearsals, and finally performing. Nicole enjoys each stage as each draws on a different skillset.
“When you first open a score and start learning new music, you and the music are total strangers, but by the time you get onstage you are old friends.”
She loves the interdisciplinary nature of classical music. The performance aspect involves foreign languages, vocal technique, a high level of musicianship, acting, stagecraft, and costumes, while the business side involves being entrepreneurial, marketing yourself, and a whole host of other skills related to being a freelancer/running yourself as a small business. Nicole also has a background in administration and working part-time as the operations manager of an academic charity.
Nicole’s long-term goal is simply to keep singing.
“This is an incredibly difficult industry with no job security and limited financial rewards, unless you are in the highest echelon of opera ‘superstars’ – in which case the money is pretty great!”
Financial security has become more of a priority for Nicole since she has recently started a family.