Lara Rebekah Harvey graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2015 with a BMus first-class honours and recently completed her postgraduate studies there.
Between terms, she has sung in the chorus for summer festivals as well as some roles for Opera Holland Park and Wexford Festival Opera. She had a small role in Holland Park's production of The Merry Widow this July.
Now she's stacking supermarket shelves.
The young mezzo, needing to cover her living expenses, is earning £9 an hour at Lidl being that promises of work have dried up since the coronavirus led to the shutting of all theatres.
The 27-year-old is typical of many musicians, singers and dancers who find themselves at home and unpaid, and so she feels that she's “lucky to have a job” at the supermarket, where she's been working for three weeks.
My first week was exhausting because it's very physical and there's a lot of heavy lifting. Some colleagues there do know I'm an opera singer and I think they are quite surprised. But although I'm grateful, I can't wait to get back to opera – she told The Daily Mail.
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.
Massive respect to Lara Rebekah Harvey for doing this. By taking on this work now, as well as helping to pay her own bills at this difficult time for musicians, she is helping to keep her compatriots, including the elderly and vulnerable, from going hungry. Thank you.
A good number of artists in North America are doing much the same things. Their work for the next 5 months has disappeared.
Nice to see you here,
As a senior in the highest risk category I truly appreciate Lara for doing this “front line” job. I also hope she is being extra careful about her own safety. Grocery workers are among those being infected pretty often. So take care Lara.
Grateful in Oregon USA
I think the published stories like this one have only one purpose: to sell the advertised singer afterwards as “wow-jump from the supermarket shelves to the opera scene”. It is not fair!
I think its important tor these stories to remind us of the vulnerability of performing artists everywhere. It may not be news since artists everywhere are doing what’s necessary to pay their rent and have food for their families, but it should not go unnoticed or taken for granted that this is a way of life musicians choose. There should be stronger support or some sort of safety net as exists for other professions.