Professional opera singer reflects on her time in Cantamus

Professional opera singer Samantha Hay’s talents were nurtured as a member of a world-famous girls’ choir.

Her seven years with Mansfield-based Cantamus stood her in good stead for a career on stage. She said: “Without Pamela Cook who ran the choir, I may not be doing this now.”

Samantha is currently touring in the Johann Strauss Gala, which will be staged at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall on January 3. at 3pm.

She said: “This is the first time working with Raymond Gubbay and although I have sung many gala concerts over the years, this is the first time I have toured as the only soloist.”

Reflecting on the pieces which she sings in the gala, Samantha said: “The Doll Song is lots of fun because it involves some choreography. I’m really excited to be working with six fantastic professional dancers - my own piece of Strictly! ‘Voices of Spring’ is quite a challenge, as the vocal line is very instrumental, so it’s quite technical to sing.”

Having recharged her batteries in Paris over Christmas, Samantha faces a busy start to 2016. She said: “The Strauss tour crosses over with my next contract when I start rehearsals for English Touring Opera, where I will be performing Donna Elvira and 1st Priestess (Iphigenie en Tauride).”

Samantha trained at Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal College of Music. She worked in London’s West End, singing lead roles for the D’Oyley Carte Opera, before joining the chorus of Welsh National Opera and recently returned to sing Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) for the company.

Tickets for the Johann Strauss Gala are £32.50-£19.50. Contact 0115 989 5555 or www.trch.co.uk