I’m one of those strange hybrids—London-born, bred in France, married an American ... as to career I’d say mother, writer, teacher. I was brought up with the voices of McCormack, Fischer-Dieskau, and Callas, my earliest operatic experiences Traviata at Covent Garden with Callas and Gobbi, and Arabella in the same house with Fischer-Dieskau and Della Casa. I can’t say I can recall much of any of them, the first live performance to have any real impact on me being Olivier’s Uncle Vanya at the National Theatre. I’ve been going to the Wigmore Hall since I was four years old, so I suppose you might say I was brought up on recitals.
I’ve always been a writer of some sort; my first degree was in English (second in music) and I began my career in print with articles on the poet John Clare. I began writing about food soon after moving to Northumberland, and became senior inspector for The Good Food Guide, a position that took me all over the U.K. and led to being poisoned only once. I taught English at various schools and became an assistant principal before deciding that I just had to have a third baby in 1998. I began writing about music soon after the birth of my daughter, when I finally had some time to attend all the operas I wanted.
I reviewed for Seen & Heard for five years, latterly as London editor, then for Opera Today, The Classical Source, and now for MusicOMH, where I am classical editor. In writing about music I try to convey both information and enthusiasm in graceful language, and where operas and recitals are concerned, to give readers a sense of what it was like to be there. I try to give a feeling of the special quality of a singer’s art, and to provide an accurate and, I hope, entertaining account of productions. A fellow editor recently paid me the wonderful compliment of saying that I write “brilliantly and accessibly about complex things,” a standard to which I most definitely aspire.