Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Speed Interview- Anna Dennis

Mon Mar 11 2013

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As the first in our series of Bach Unwrapped concerts approaches, we chatted to soprano Anna Dennis about snakes, Schoenberg and silent films…

What do you fear the most?
Snakes and parties where I only know one other person.

What was your breakthrough moment?
I don’t really recognise one in my singing career, but I suppose that performance milestones with a personal resonance, like first singing Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, a piece I listened to over and over again as a teenager, have often felt more significant than more objectively recognisable arrival points,  like making my debuts at La Scala or at the Proms.

Which mobile number do you phone the most?
My boyfriend’s.

What or where is perfection?
The sea, bluebell woods, russet apples with stilton and my nephew Oscar’s one year old skin, amongst other things.

Who is your favourite hero and why?
Buster Keaton in the title role of his film “The Camera Man”, or really Buster Keaton in any of his silent films, as his heroes always encompass the same qualities. They are overlooked daydreamers of extraordinary physical grace and ingenuity who attain their hearts desires through a combination of surreal serendipity, intellligence and godlike athleticism. All without using any words at all.

What is your favourite ritual?
A few Octobers ago, I was walking through woods near Knole in Kent, and saw that the ground was thickly carpeted in fallen chestnuts, beautiful plump ones.  We filled our pockets and bags and it has become a yearly harvesting ritual which ends with a chocolate chestnut cake or two.

What living person do you most admire and why?
I have an older friend called David who lives his life with inspiring zest and an unusual generosity of spirit. I really admire him.

What other talents would you like to possess?
I’d like to be able to tap dance excellently enough to dance with Fred Astaire.

Most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t really know yet, but listening and laughing seem to be both very important.

Most played piece of music on MP3 player?
Lawes viol consort setts.




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