20.6 C
Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Soprano Katie Rutledge hitting high notes through pandemic

Latest News

A disappointed dog

It’s taken a whole week for my dog to read to page 21 in last week’s Echo. She’s been...

Other News

Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group A: Labor

The Echo asked all the Lismore election Councillor candidates to send in a bio. First cab off the rank was current Councillor Darlene Cook and Group A.

Not wedging

Though it may be puzzling to some, I am heartened to see that some of the candidates for the...

When we get to 95 per cent vaccination, this will happen

Just when we were getting used to the current COVID roadmap, it has changed directions. Adjustments to previous settings scheduled for this milestone were announced yetserday.

Telling girls they don’t like STEM halves their involvement at any age

Even children as young as six can develop ideas that girls don’t like computer science and engineering as much as boys – stereotypes that carry over into teenagerhood and contribute to gender gaps at university, according to a study published in PNAS.

What’s Nu in COVID variants? Highlighted need for stronger Australian contribution

According to the End COVID For All campaign the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Botswana, most likely to be called 'Nu', underlines the need for Australia to step up its contribution to co-oridnated global efforts to prevent the virus’ spread and mutation.

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Katie Rutledge. Photo Daralyn Jones.

Ballina-based opera singer Katie Rutledge usually treads the boards with Opera Queensland, but this year things have been a little different.

She told Echonetdaily, ‘Although performances were limited in QPAC in Brisbane this year due to COVID, we did have the opportunity to perform “Opera Under the Stars” at Riverstage in the Botanical Gardens.

‘It was a beautiful concert with people purchasing a patch of grass rather than a seat,’ she said.

‘Online performances from OperaQ such as Aria a Day have also been great for artists to reconnect with their audience during COVID isolation and especially with border closures.’

Ms Rutledge remembers her journey to musical performance starting early.

Born in Grafton, she did her schooling in Armidale and was then admitted to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music to study Voice and Performance.

‘I have now completed twenty years of stage performances with Opera Queensland and some of those times with Opera Australia,’ she said.

Always singing

Katie Rutledge says she can’t remember a time in her life when she was not singing.

‘My mum is a jazz organist, my brother a professional drummer and many of my extended family members are singers, musicians and actors. The fascination of opera developed when I sang as a soloist at the Sydney Opera House as a twenty year old and I was hooked.

‘There’s something special and exciting about live theatre with elaborate costumes, stage design, different cultures, history and languages, so I guess musically opera was a good fit for me.’

In terms of musical inspiration, Ms Rutledge says she grew up singing from a wide range of genres, including jazz, folk, hymns and musical theatre.

‘Music to me is another way of telling a story,’ she said, ‘so I am always drawn to songs or arias that I can feel a connection to, no matter the genre or artist.

‘I have so many artists and songs that I love and have been inspired by, however the music that I have been listening to recently ranges from Powderfinger Unreleased, to anything by Puccini and Handel to local [now Berlin-based] band Parcels.’

Katie Rutledge. Photo Daralyn Jones.

She told Echonetdaily that while there have been many people who have inspired her musically, ‘it always comes back to my family. Mum, Dad, my brother, and especially my husband and two sons.

‘They are all extremely talented musically and very clever and interesting people.’

A musical education

Ms Rutledge spent six years at the Con and then two years studying at SCU, followed by a short stint in London studying with the late mezzo soprano Enid Hartle.

‘Working with Opera Queensland and Queensland Symphony Orchestra gives me the opportunity to see the people that I studied with all those years ago, from singers to instrumentalists.

‘It’s like a school reunion each year, except with like-minded people!

She says there have been many performance highlights over her twenty years as a professional performance artist.

‘Some of my favourite times have been working as a judge for the Bluesfest Grommet Busking Competition,’ she said.

‘I’m always inspired listening to young people write original songs, and hearing their stories.’

Ms Rutledge loves musical collaboration, having studied, performed and worked with ‘some amazing people over the years’, including artists such as digeridoo performer William Barton, David Williams. the late Jimmy Little, Producer Nick Di Dia, Bernard Fanning, Kate Miller-Heidke, Karen Schaulb, Christine Johnston (Cransky Sisters).

She said working with these artists and others such as ‘Bryan Proberts, Ross Nobel, Narelle French, the late Richard Gill and Megan Washington has been a fantastic learning experience.’

Future of music in the Northern Rivers?

Ms Rutledge feels that the Northern Rivers is blessed to be a cultural centre for artists to create new and interesting work from all sorts of genres.

‘I believe that all music has a place,’ she said. ‘It’s just finding the time and space to perform the work. For example I am totally loving our local men’s choir Dustyesky, I mean who doesn’t love Russian? And singing in Russian is awesome. The future is bright!’

She also believes in giving back via education, and passing on the lessons she has learned, as a teacher and judge at musical competitions for young people.

‘I was lucky to be a guest lecturer for SCU and Griffith University in Music Education and Choral Conducting,’ she said, describing both institutions as great places for young people to study and learn about themselves, creatively.

‘I have been really fortunate to have been supported by amazing teachers and mentors throughout my performing and teaching career,’ said Ms Rutledge.

‘For me, performing is a calling but I wear many hats! So for the past 25 years I have been really focused on making sure my students understand the ups and downs in the arts, even without COVID.

‘Hopefully we have been able to guide and prepare young artists at a secondary and tertiary level for a performing career as well as opening doors to other job avenues to support and bring balance to a musical life,’ she said.

You can watch and listen to Katie Rutledge’s performance of Opera Queensland’s Aria a Day below:

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Realistic, local agendas!

On Saturday 4 December we need to vote for people who focus on issues that can be controlled by Council. Candidates claiming they can,...

Coal shame for Queensland and Australian

Local Whitsundays resident Paul Jukes took action this morning against the continued development of the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine.

Wilsons River flood peak and flooding not expected for Tweed, Rouse, Brunswick River catchments

The prediction provided by the Bureau of Meteorology expects that locals around the Wilsons River at Lismore will see the river peak this afternoon at 4.20m. However, ‘Flooding is no longer expected in the Tweed, Rouse, Brunswick River catchments.

Vote for community

From 2007 to 2020, I lived in Byron Bay. I worked as a community-based coastal and marine researcher and writer. I wrote about this...