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As acclaimed soprano Julia Doyle prepares for her performance in Handel’s celebrated Messiah on 11 December, she took some time out to tell us a bit about her pre-concert superstitions and some of her musical heroes.
How did you get into music?
My family are all incredibly talented musicians; my Mum (who has taught most of Lancashire) taught me the piano, my Father (professional violinist and conductor) taught me the violin, and my brother is an incredibly talented musician and is now a conductor, so I grew up surrounded by the stuff.
When did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
My Father desperately tried to persuade me to do something sensible, and I did try by studying Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge and working for a little while in research, but once I moved back to London I started singing in groups like Polyphony and The Sixteen; I still seem to be doing it 10 years later, and loving every minute of it.
What do you fear the most?
Losing one of my children.
Which mobile number do you call the most?
My poor husband’s!
When you’re not busy practicing/performing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m not sure I’ve had any spare time since my daughters (aged 2 & 4) arrived, but a perfect day with family would involve a roast lunch, a muddy walk in the countryside and a film in front of the fire.
Who’s your musical hero?
Do you have any pre-concert rituals?
Not really, but occasionally I’m hilariously superstitious; if I’m doing a run of concerts and one goes particularly well, I assume it must have been thanks to my choice of earrings that night or something, so I try and keep everything exactly the same the following night! Utterly ridiculous.
If you could choose to work in a different profession, what would it be and why?
A speech therapist or a midwife (it’s easy to spend a lot of time naval-gazing as a singer, so I really wish I could give something back in the community), or a farmer with a smallholding in the middle of the lake district.
What are you reading at the moment?
Just finished Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth and am about to move onto the next in the series.
Who’s your favourite musician/band at the moment? (doesn’t have to be classical!)
I’ve always loved Kylie Minogue and I still think she’s utterly fabulous.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Just how precious life is, and that you can never tell what is around the corner.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
I’ve only just discovered Der Gerechte Kommt um by Bach/Kuhnau and I adore it, so that’s a current favourite. And first thing in the morning the girls and I like to dance around the kitchen to Basement Jaxx Do Your Thing!
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
Not only are they world-class musicians, and incredibly versatile in the range of repertoire that they perform, but they’re just the loveliest group of people to work with.