Gyula comes from Veszprém in Hungary, and I ask what made him think of coming to Ireland.
I have early memories of seeing traditional Irish musicians on TV. Myself and my friends really liked it and would listen to Irish trad a lot. We were all rockers and big into U2, of course, so we ended up, in our Summer before university, coming to Dublin and busking on Grafton Street. I really enjoyed my time in Dublin.
Gyula grew up in a music-loving home and studied classical music throughout his school days. As a trombone-player, he also played with brass bands.
When I went to University, I took less interest in music. I concentrated on my studies in English Literature and Theatre Studies.
Will this be to the benefit of OTC audiences, I ask, that he has also studied Theatre Studies? Does he enjoy the acting side of opera?
I enjoy acting, but I also really enjoyed directing. My work in Theatre Studies makes me look at opera critically – I’d like to take it apart and explore each piece of it. That’s something I very much want to pursue in the future. Also at university, I had lectures in Irish culture from Michael Geaney, which renewed and strengthened my interest in Ireland.
Nearing the end of university, I re-engaged with classical music and I found myself a singing teacher. I learned that I had a voice.
When I graduated, I began working as a teacher. I really enjoyed teaching, but I couldn’t help thinking that there was more for me to do with music, and particularly with singing.
I didn’t want to find myself at some stage in the future wondering what might have been. I kept thinking: you have just one life.
I googled ‘Dublin + music + teachers’ and the first hit I got was RIAM (Editor’s note: well done to the Royal Irish Academy of Music’s web manager for getting the SEO so right!). I applied. I auditioned. I won a place. That was three years ago. Now Ireland feels very much like home.
Some of my classmates at RIAM participated in OTC’s Young Associate Artists Programme last year and when I spoke to them about their experiences, I decided to apply.
I note that each of our young artists usually has some particular aspect of the programme that particularly appeals to them, whether the essential tools of professional headshots and contract advice or the invaluable opportunity of professional stage and touring experience. What is Gyula most looking forward to?
The masterclasses and workshops are something I’m really looking forward to. A masterclass with Ann Murray straightaway at the beginning of my year on the programme was a great start. It was hard work! I took a lot of notes. One of the really useful things is that, now, when I’m working through that piece, I can see her notes and I remember what she wanted from me and it makes me work harder. It means that the impact of that class continues long after.
The experience was also gratifying, because there were times I got it right, and she was happy with what I was doing and told me so. That was a huge thrill and very satisfying. A positive response like that is really encouraging
And so we go full circle as I ask Gyula is this why he doesn’t want to be caught in a film clip, because he likes a live audience so much?
The response you get from a live audience is incredible. There is nothing like it!
Opera Theatre Company audiences will be able to hear Gyula Nagy – and see him perform – with his fellow young artists later this year.