In 2018, with the support of a scholarship from the Anne Reid Memorial Trust, Clare moved to the UK to study opera and vocal studies with Jane Irwin at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Her studies there are also supported by the Helen Mackaness Award, a Dame Eva Turner Award, the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, and the Waverley Fund, as well as an Anne Bellam Music Scholarship, and a Graduate Women New Zealand Fellowship.
Prior to that, she studied with Drs Morag Atchison, and Te Oti Rakena, at the University of Auckland School of Music, New Zealand, where she graduated in classical voice performance with a BMus (Hons) in 2017, and MMus in 2018, both with first class honours.
While completing her studies at the University of Auckland, she was a soloist for the Last Night of the Proms with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra under Peter Thomas, soprano soloist for the University of Auckland’s Carmina Burana under Emeritus Professor Uwe Grodd, a return soloist for the contemporary music ensemble the Karlheinz Company, and a member of New Zealand Opera’s Freemason’s Chorus, most recently for their productions of Manon Lescaut, Aida, and L’elisir d’amore.
She attended both New Zealand Singing School, and New Zealand Opera School, and has been awarded an Auckland Arts Excellence Award by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, as well as twice winning a Lilburn Trust award for best performer.
Clare has appeared as Antonia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Penelope (The Golden Apple) and Le Feu (L’enfant et les sortilèges), as part of the University of Auckland Music School’s Wallace Opera Training Programme. She has also regularly performed with Auckland’s Opera Factory, most recently as Madame Herz in their production of Der Schauspieldirektor and in a masterclass with Simon O’Neill. Other roles include Die Witwe (Elijah) and Israelitish Woman (Judas Maccabeus).
At the RNCM, Clare has sung principal roles in numerous fully staged operas and opera scenes. These include Madam Wanton (The Pilgrim’s Progress), Madame Lidoine (Dialogues des Carmelites), Die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Mademoiselle Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor), and Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus). Clare has also been privileged to take part in public masterclasses with Sir John Tomlinson, Amanda Roocroft, Susan Bullock CBE, and Graham Vick CBE.
Clare’s performances as Madam Wanton (The Pilgrim’s Progress) and Madame Lidoine (Dialogues des Carmélites) have both received positive reviews, with Opera magazine’s review noting a “delicious cameo from Clare Hood as Madam Wanton”; and, Number 9: Theatre, Music, and Film noting: “… soprano Clare Hood as the new Prioress, Madame Lidoine, brought a richly spiritual voice to the convent as it entered its darkest times”.
Clare has recently been a semi-finalist in the prestigious IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition; a semi-finalist in the McCormick Aria Competition; and a finalist in the Dame Malvina Major Wellington Aria, winning the Robin Dumbell Cup for the singer with the most potential. She looks forward to returning to the RNCM to complete her final year of study on their prestigious PG Diploma in Advanced Performance in 2020/2021, with support from an RNCM Entrance Scholarship, and the Evelyn M Harrison, Kathleen Mary Reardon, and John Baros Scholarships in Music from the University of Auckland.
Clare would like to thank the Anne Reid Memorial Trust Scholarship for their generosity in supporting her in the first year of her Masters studies at the RNCM. Without their support, she would not have been able to take up her offer of study at this prestigious school of music.