She has performed in over 40 countries around the world thrilling audiences with her amazing voice and satirical pieces which have evoked laughter in many music halls.
British-born Melinda Hughes who is an international opera and satirical singer/ songwriter, was recently in Barbados and thrilled 90 persons during a performance at Cobblers Cove, St Peter.
At the event, she gave Barbadians a taste of what opera and satirical singing is all about and also interacted and mingled with some of the hotel’s specially invited guests. The event which was private and by invitation only was described by Melinda as “absolutely stunning.”
In an interview with Bajan Vibes on the grounds of Cobblers Cove, Hughes spoke about her love for singing, how she became involved in opera, what satirical singing is as well as her future plans.
“I was always singing since I was a child. It was just a natural progression for me, head of the choir, singing the solo in the Christmas carol concert, lead role in the school play. And I loved all music and all singing,” she said.
When asked why opera, she noted that opera music was part of her growing up experience.
“My grandmother wanted to be an opera singer, but she wasn’t quite allowed to, so it was a bit in my family and I heard it. But it wasn’t until I was studying for my A levels (and) needed a break from all the studying, … to walk and listen to some music to clear my head (that) I found that classical music was the best thing for that,” Hughes said.
She noted that opera was a genre of music that touched her in a way that nothing else could. “…It was just something that got to me like nothing else and I think it is because as a performer, you have great ridiculous plots and amazing costumes and you are playing with an orchestra. The pieces are super theatrical with the music on top, and to sing it moves me like nothing else,” she said.
Hughes began to recount the themes of some of her satirical pieces which made persons around the world erupt in laughter. One of them was based on a woman who heard about recycling and decided to drink six bottles of champagne a day so that she could have bottles to recycle.
Another, she told Bajan Vibes after erupting in laughter for a brief moment, was about a woman who loved taking selfies so much that while on a romantic trip with her significant other, she attempted to take a selfie on a cliff, fell off and fortunately survived. As she was falling, though, she was able to take a selfie with the hashtag #dead.
Regaining her composure, Hughes revealed she was working on releasing a new album next year to celebrate the 100th year of the establishment of Weimar Republic in Germany.
“It was a very interesting period about ten years before Hilter became chancellor. So, it was an explosion of art and music and paintings, literature and it was an incredibly rich time in Germany,” she explained.
“So, we are writing a show about famous cabaret singers from that time, which combines some of the music from that time as well as the new ones that we are writing and there will be a CD to accompany that.
“We are mixing music from the 1930’s with our own stuff so the satire will have resonance from that time because, like them, we are doing social commentary of what is happening in the world,” Hughes explained.
Hughes has plans for students in Barbados who may be interested in music whether they want to become an opera singer or not.
“I am doing a mentorship course at Trinity Music College in London and if there’s enough interest when I am here, I may go into a secondary school and see who is interested in listening for a half hour and have a little chat. They don’t have to be interested in opera but if they want to sing, they need to find a good teacher, they need to be disciplined and they need to be committed,” she said.
Hughes said she had heard a lot about local opera singer Shantal Martin and was interested in doing a concert with her next time she returns to the island.
“ I want to do some concerts with her here. She is really good and that would be a really awesome vehicle. I was shown a video and I was like this voice-whoa. I would like to do an opera evening here. I would bring a tenor over and incorporate her. To have an opera singer from the island is very good,” Hughes said.