At about the age of 15, my sister and I joined the local Big Little Theatre Company, and I learnt to stand in front of an audience and perform. It was also where I started to use my voice. We would sing cabaret. Because of our mother, [a dance teacher], we had danced our whole lives — it was all very jazz hands. We performed in most of Bournemouth’s venues, and got paid £50 each for a gig.
It was through the company that I met my first singing teacher. Jon Andrew was the first person to hear something more classical in my voice. He got me singing Mozart, and I got the classical bug. There’s so much going on being a teenager, so much emotion, and opera gave me a channel for it.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.