“Ultimately it is the fusion of vocalism with body language which counts and in this respect, Diana (Zerlina) was very successful.”
Edward Mendelsohn, The Stage, Opera Inside Out
After finishing high school and having had the opportunity of working with Martin Isepp, a coach at Glyndebourne Opera at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music, I returned to my native country, the UK, to study with Esther Salaman, a vocal consultant to the National Opera Studio. Esther and I worked hard together over the next 10+ years. Through scholarships with the Madeline Finden and Wingate Trusts I worked independently with opera coaches, teachers and conductors.
I learnt the craft of opera performance onstage in small opera companies in the roles of Despina, Cherubino and Musetta. I did a year at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music studying with Pamela Cook MBE and completed my Diploma in Opera Studies. I won the Conservatoire’s top singing prize, the Mario Lanza Opera Prize and in the same year I competed and was a finalist in the Royal Over-Seas League and Kathleen Ferrier international competitions. I then went on to tours with national companies as Pamina, Barbarina and understudy of Rossini’s Clorinda.
“This work needs an excellent soprano soloist to do it justice and in Diana Sharp we got just that. Her superb intonation lifted the performance which was beautifully phrased.”
Crutchley, Leicester Mercury, Poulenc Gloria
As an oratorio soloist I’ve had the pleasure of performing amongst others; Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle at Winchester Cathedral, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Ripon Cathedral, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Wells Cathedral and Poulenc’s Gloria, Brahms’ Requiem and Handel’s Theodora at Leicester.
As a concert artist I’ve particularly enjoyed the open air ‘Last Night of the Proms’ style concerts with semi-professional orchestras (so long as the British weather cooperated). I was lucky to perform for several thousands yearly at a Royal British Legion event. Performing at music festivals has given me the opportunity of exploring more unusual repertoire. However, there’s nothing quite like singing with an orchestra especially Strauss’s Four Last Songs or some Gershwin.
My collaborations with Dawn Foxall (on the left above)have been immensely rewarding both vocally and artistically. We have travelled across Europe including Sweden and Italy performing at festivals, in churches and in the open air under the guise of ‘Sirens’ and ‘Opera Larks’. We worked with international accompanist David Barnard at Edinburgh Fringe Festival devising and performing a comedy opera sketch that was well received by the press.
Family life and teaching have taken over my time and energy, but led to a greater understanding of how my own instrument works and I now enjoy singing in many different styles. It’s always a pleasure to learn and interpret a new song and put my own spin on it.
“…she achieved a nice balance between delicacy and passion… excelling in the comic, the dramatic and the showy.”Mark Marshall, The Salisbury Journal, Mediaeval Hall Recital