At the top of their game

Sally Cole
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Performers Maria Campbell and Nathan Keoughan talk with musical director Lisa MacDougall during a break in rehearsals for Anne & Gilbert - The Musical.

When Maria Campbell and Nathan Keoughan landed roles in this summer’s production of Anne & Gilbert - The Musical, they were thrilled.

That’s because after studying at prestigious voice schools they are returning to familiar characters with renewed confidence when the show opens at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre in Summerside on June 21.

“I have a lot more experience. I know where to place my character. I feel her more within me,” says Campbell, who reprises the role of Philipa Gordon after completing her masters of music degree in opera performance at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Her new knowledge is helping in different ways.

“It has given me a comfort level that I can walk in and know where to place my voice in the different songs,” says Campbell, who studied under Dame Kiri Tekanawa, one of New Zealand’s opera greats, and performed the role of Nancy in her university’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring.

In her journey as a student, she faced a challenge when, after being trained as a mezzo-soprano and learning the repertoire, her teacher told her that she was indeed a soprano.

“It doesn’t sound like something major, but being a different voice type can throw a wrench in the works. But coming out of that allowed me to try various techniques and styles of learning. And it has made me a better performer for the show,” she says.

Similarly, Keoughan is self-assured about returning to his role as Roy Gardener after a year at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston where he studied with renowned baritone Michael Meraw.

“Coming back to the show I have so many new tools to work with. For instance, Meraw taught me a technique that allows my voice to become operatic. I’ve always had a loud voice, but now I can project it to the back of the house,” says Keoughan, whose bass voice filled the room when he sang May I Offer You My Umbrella during a recent rehearsal.

In addition, working with directors, coaches and conductors in school opera productions like The Magic Flute and Candide provided him with valuable experience.

“I like filtering through what everyone says and putting it on stage,” says Keoughan, adding that before leaving Prince Edward Island his voice teacher was Stephen Bouey and his coach was Sung Ha Shin Bouey.


Organizations: Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre in Summerside, University of Auckland, New England Conservatory of Music NEC La Bohèmeat Highlands Opera Studio

Geographic location: New Zealand, Boston, Prince Edward Island Canada Ontario

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