by Karine Hetherington
Meet Dominic Bevan, a tenor who has sung with us at KOFMA.
Tell us a bit about your childhood.
We were a big, musical family. There was no television. We were only allowed to watch opera videos. I can still picture Don Giovanni, scene by scene.
Did you always want to become an opera singer?
I definitely chose not to be an opera singer.
I had a bad experience with a singing teacher at a Conservatoire in Paris, who bluntly told me not to bother with a singing career. I was studying law at the Sorbonne at the time. I decided then that I needed a proper job, to get married and have children.
What did your family think?
Everyone in the family could sing – but I suppose my voice wasn’t something out of the ordinary. So I put the idea of singing to bed for a while.
What made you change your mind?
I was working for my father’s financial firm and not enjoying it. In my spare time I planned trips to beautiful churches in France and sang with friends in a choir. I sang baritone then, never solo. One day our soloist couldn’t make the trip. Ben, my uncle, asked whether someone else would step in. I leapt in knowing by then that I could do it.
So you didn’t start off being a tenor?
No. It was my uncle Ben who persuaded me that I was a tenor! My voice was underdeveloped. Ben persuaded me to audition for the Royal College of Music and prepared me for the audition. I was accepted and gained a scholarship for a post-grad diploma. Then I did a Master’s for two years.
Where does KOFMA come in?
KOFMA was amazing. It provided a friendly, supportive environment for me to perform repertoire that was challenging for me at the time. A few years ago, I didn’t have a name and despite my scholarship, I was broke living in London.
When I wasn’t singing with KOFMA, I was selling KOFMA concert tickets in church. KOFMA has been a steady presence throughout my training.
What work have you been most proud of to date?
Singing Lensky’s role in the ‘Duel Scene’ of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – when he dies on stage!
Yes – Russians in the audience were greatly moved by your performance. Modern or Classical opera for you?
I sing both. I find modern opera extremely exciting – liberating. There are fewer expectations somehow. My experience performing in several modern operas at the Royal College Music this year, based around the theme of Frankenstein, was incredibly rewarding.
What would be your perfect role?
- Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugène Onegin’
- Don Jose in Bizet’s ‘Carmen’
- Lyonel in Flotow’s ‘Martha’
To be an opera singer, what do you need apart from a great voice?
Thick skin, but I’m very self-critical.
Do you get nervous before walking on stage?
Of course. I take deep breaths and channel my energy and excitement into my character.
Preferred language to sing in?
French. I was at school in France.
What are your other interests, besides singing?
Cycling, Early music and architecture. Cooking – I’m always looking for new recipes.
How do you define success?
Earning a living from a soloist career.
What’s your next role?
I’m singing the role of ‘Orphée’ in ‘Orphée aux Enfers’ in France this summer.