Fans of opera and choral music often wonder how best to engage the younger generation. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok?
The key, if you ask Perth soprano Bella Marslen, is exposing them to the live experience.
The West Australia Opera 2022 young artist made her debut aged just 12 with the children’s choir for the opera production of Pagliaccilater switching to opera singing in high school before going on to study at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
At WAAPA, she came to discover that an appreciation of classical music was more widespread than she had first thought.
“It was amazing to be surrounded by people who were also very passionate [about opera],” she says.
“And I was also surprised that if I was talking to contemporary people, or jazz singers, or musical theatre, there was a respect for the demand for classical singing and there was an understanding with other singers from the technical principles behind classical singing, and how beneficial it can be, whatever style or genre you sing.
The 25-year-old admitted she loves going to DJ sets and festivals as much as any other young person, but when she takes friends to classical concerts, “they went ‘Oh, wow.’ So that’s what it’s all about.”
“And I think that’s the key; I think people must be affected by the vibrations in the air and the frequency of the music and how that directly affects the body and how it can bring out emotions,” she said.
Classical music is “designed to be live,” Marslen said, and there was only so much a listener could experience through a recording.