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Baker's Dozen

Cabin Fever: Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s Favourite Music
Stephanie Phillips , May 5th, 2021 09:24

Beverly Glenn-Copeland takes Stephanie Phillips through the albums that fuelled his love for music over the years, from the soundtracks to secluded woodland trips to meetings with younger artists inspired by his work and how he found the work of Sting


Leontyne Price – Arias From Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly, La Rondine, Tosca, Turandot
I was introduced to Leontyne Price when I was about 16. When I was when I was young, I was listening to music from all over the world. I was listening to West African drumming, some music that was coming out of China, I was listening to things coming out of India.

I listen to a lot of things, and what happened was that around the 1960s or so Leontyne Price hit the big time with the Metropolitan Opera. Suddenly, there was an album of hers. I don't know where it came from but there she was. I remember staring at this album, down in the area where my parents had their music to listen to, or to boogie to, or whatever you wanted to do it. I remember staring at this album and thinking, look that's a Black woman singing opera at the Metropolitan. I listened to her voice, just outrageously glorious. I thought, okay, because at that time I already knew that I was going to be a singer. I also knew that I was going to study classical music, because I started doing that at 15. Even though at that point I hadn't really defined the fact that I wasn't crazy about opera, here was someone who was doing something that had something to do with what I knew I wanted to do, which was to be a classical singer, and to be a Black classical singer of European music.

She was, in a way, like a role model. Maybe not a role model, but she was an inspiration. Looking at her and listening to her was like going, okay, you can break the colour barrier around anything if you're brilliant enough. I didn't really know her story, and I read up about her and I thought, wow, look at her determination. She had an unusual voice. She was able to sing in the contralto range and sound like a contralto and then sing way up and hit high Cs and sound like a soprano.