Aimee Daniel – Taking opera back to my roots

25 July 2023

Aimee Daniel joined Welsh National Opera as a Vocal Intern in January 2022. Since her appointment, she has been involved in a wealth of projects within our Programmes and Engagement department. We caught up with her to find out how she found opera and how the internship has helped her forge a career in the arts. 

‘I was fortunate enough to have two fantastic music teachers at secondary school who really nurtured my passion for music, from singing lessons to talking through my options for music college. Nothing was ever too much trouble. I began my journey into the professional world in 2011 as part of Welsh National Opera’s Youth Opera, in a production of Stephen Deazley’s The Sleeper.

In the current climate, a full-time career as an opera singer is extremely hard, so it's been really important for me to gain additional and transferable skills to make me a more well-rounded musician. I decided to apply for WNO's Vocal Internship because I really wanted to engage with young singers and give something back to the Company that has nurtured my own love of singing. Opera finds its way into the heart of people from all walks of life, and so it’s our duty to find those communities and give opportunities to those who wish to become a part of this wonderful world. My internship has really given me the confidence to pursue these roles, as well as performance-based roles. I have been really fortunate to work with some fantastic mentors during my internship and have been involved in various projects including Come & Sing Hospital concerts, Cradle Choir and WNO Youth Opera.

I always knew I wanted to take music and opera back to my roots in the South Wales valleys, to encourage people from my background to pursue music, introduce them to opera, and show that opera is an incredible and fun art form which we need to cherish, as such a musical country. I recently had the privilege of returning to the Welsh valleys to run workshops in a handful of schools in my local area of Ystrad Mynach, based on Liza Lehmann’s Nonsense Songs (a song-cycle based on the ‘nonsense poems’ from Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). I attended my own primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Allta, which was a surreal and wonderful experience, singing in the same school hall where it all began for me.

As a musician I feel like I’m always learning and what I’ve learned during my time at Welsh National Opera is that even while my personal development is still underway, I already have a lot to offer people and have a great toolbox to teach and guide young singers. It’s been lovely being able to pass on my own knowledge and hear the difference it makes.’

If you are interested in becoming a WNO Vocal Intern, keep an eye on our social media channels for our next round of recruitment.