The things you learn from local newspapers….
Nottingham, birthplace of D H Lawrence, is getting all excited about local girl Catherine Foster. This summer, Catherine will be singing Brünnhilde in the Wagner bicentennial Ring at Bayreuth. She used to be a midwife at the Nottingham city hospital. She tells Kate Stenhouse of the Nottingham Post:
‘In 1993, I was looking after a couple who had just come on to the labour suite and as we were chatting I found out that the husband was quite a figure in the amateur opera circuit of Nottingham.
I said that I was interested in singing and was looking for a teacher at that time and he gave me some names that led me to Pamela Cook MBE (founder of the local girls chorus, Cantamus). …
‘I remember standing outside the door with my resignation in my hand and my heart in my mouth and even walked away once. Then I just thought – I can either go through life as a ‘could have been’ or I could give it a go and see where the experience took me.’
Catherine went on to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire. From 2001 to 2011 she was engaged at the German National Theatre in Weimar, singing her first Brünnhilde there and her second at Hamburg. It’s become what you might call her labour of love (all right, delete that joke).
She has sung in major continental houses, but not in the UK, apparently, since an ENO engagement 13 years ago. Someone in London needs to get their radar retuned.