My cultural life: singer Matthew Rose

Singer Matthew Rose. Photo: Lena Kern

Singer Matthew Rose. Photo: Lena Kern - Credit: Lena Kern

The Sussex-based singer grew up five miles from Glyndebourne where he performed his breakthrough role. Here he shares the cultural experiences that changes his life

Matthew Rose in rehearsal for 'In the Market for Love' by Offenbach, at Glyndebourne. Photo: Richard

Matthew Rose in rehearsal for 'In the Market for Love' by Offenbach, at Glyndebourne. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith - Credit: Glyndebourne Productions Ltd/Richard Hubert Smith

What I’m reading

I’m currently learning a new role - Richard Wagner in The Sorcerer of Bayreuth by Barry Millington. A lot of people assume that most of what we do as opera singers is perform, but actually 95 per cent of the work we do is the preparation for the role. It’s like the tip of an iceberg.

What I’m watching

I’m not much of a TV-watcher, but since March I have had the chance to watch some Netflix and I am on series five of The Sopranos. I’ve also been watching this fantastic Israeli television show on Netflix called Fauda.

What I’m listening to

I’m a classical music freak and I have a wonderful classical music app called Idagio. The last thing I listened to was a Rossini opera this morning. I do enjoy other genres of music when I hear them, but mostly I really love classical music.

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The music that’s got me through hard times

Mahler’s Second Symphony is a piece that I discovered at a moment when I really needed it; it’s an overwhelmingly powerful piece and every time I hear it, it makes me feel like a better person.

The last film I saw

We watched a Korean film that won the Oscar, Parasite. It’s pretty brilliant!

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The film that changed my life

When I was about 10, our family did an exchange with an Austrian family, so their kids would come over and spend summers with us in Sussex and my sister and I would go and spend weeks or months near Vienna, so Vienna was the first city that I really got to know and love. It was about the same time that I discovered the film Amadeus, which is about Mozart and I remember as a 10-year-old watching that film incessantly. But not the director’s cut - that’s an abomination! The released film is brilliant.

My favourite radio station/podcast

I wish I had got into podcasts more, but I don’t really listen to them. I do like Radio Five Live, so when I’m not listening to music I like to listen to that; I’m into sports and they have interesting interviews too.

My best experience in a theatre

As an audience member it would be Nicholas Hytner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre in London last year; it was so joyous and wonderful to watch. As a performer it would be when I sang the role of Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Glyndebourne in 2006. It was my big breakthrough and Glyndebourne have been so incredibly kind to me to give me this amazing start in my career that no one else would have done. It was a perfect role for me, in a perfect opera house as I grew up five miles away, so doing that was pretty special.

The book I’m most likely to lend to a friend

I have lots of foreign friends and they come to England and don’t quite get English people. There is a book by Kate Fox called Watching The English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, which is a brilliant explanation about the idiosyncrasies of being English; it’s a brilliant book, I’ve given many copies of that away. It’s humorous in that it describes exactly how we are as people; in the first chapter there’s a lady in a train station gently bumping into people and they all say sorry. It’s a perfect portrayal of how bizarre we all are.

My favourite local arts venue/event

It would have to be Glyndebourne, because I grew up near there and it’s the most amazing experience; you get world class opera in one of the greatest theatres in the world and then you get to go into these beautiful gardens and have a picnic. It’s the ultimate entertainment experience. Testament to Glyndebourne’s brilliance is the fact that it’s been copied by about five or six places that are trying to create what Glyndebourne created all those years ago. Glyndebourne was the first and the best and we should be so grateful that we have it local to us. And where else can you have a swim in the lake before a rehearsal?!

Matthew is currently performing in outdoor, socially distanced opera In the Market for Love, part of a programme of events at Glyndebourne arranged in the absence of its usual season which was cancelled due to COVID-19

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