Gillian Keith Soprano

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Believing in Better

Now that autumn is here, many of us are wrapping up against the cold, curling up on our sofas, and keeping close to the warmth and safety of the indoors. But I am feeling at odds with this winter instinct – I feel as if I’ve already been hibernating for the past several weeks.

A simple accident at home in August resulted in surgery that has forced me off my feet for the better part of three months. I was thankful for the long, warm Indian summer we enjoyed here in the UK, as it meant that I could at least sit out in my garden, even when I was unable to run around the park or stroll along the canal.  But I still feel as if I’ve missed the delights of an entire season.

Still, no point dwelling on disappointments! What I’m trying to focus on is better. And by that I mean getting better, starting with my poor injured tendon.  My disadvantaged toe, the rubbery muscles of my left ankle, my lopsided gait and my pretty little scar all need love and attention. There is healing to be done, and I believe it starts with my ability to dream of running, jumping, dancing, stretching, and all the things I’ve longed for since I was forced to start my season of sitting.

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Another dream that is bringing me out of hibernation is my project called “Debussy And His Muse”. It was borne of a recording I made a year ago of songs by Debussy, many which were written in his teens for a woman with an extraordinary voice and captivating character – a woman he called his ‘melodious fairy’, and who inspired him to write so much beautiful music.  Earlier this week I gave my first performance of this show, featuring letters, memoirs, and some of his most exquisite songs. I was presenting myself as writer, researcher, actress and singer, and it felt like a great leap of faith to put myself forward under such a big umbrella.

To do it I had to believe in better. I had to believe that my idea to present something beyond the ‘expected’ was an improvement. In this case I knew that the music was wonderful on its own, and that a simple song recital would be impressive and entertaining; but to tell the story properly I needed and wanted to do more.

I dream of taking my simple, yet powerful production to festivals, concert halls and salons far and wide – of sharing my new CD with anyone who wants to hear the music and learn about the story. I also dream of a healthy, strong and insuppressible me, and the day when I can wear my favourite pink running shoes again!

Please check back soon for news of my ‘better’ days, including this week’s performance of Mozart’s C Minor Mass in Sheffield, a fund-raising performance of one of my favourite Bach Cantatas, and my reacquaintance with my Russian dictionary!