Cirencester's own opera star Maria Jagusz sings the praises of local talent
The name Maria Jagusz at the top of a bill is always guaranteed to sell tickets. But this internationally renowned talented opera singer is now as happy preparing other people for the limelight as she is taking centre stage. She spoke to Charlotte Shepherd about her love of teaching.
“THERE is an amazing amount of local talent in the Cotswolds,” explained opera star and singing teacher Maria Jagusz. “I don’t know if it’s something in the water.”
Nurturing this talent is something that Miss Jagusz has become adept at ever since she moved to Cirencester. “Teaching has been such an enriching process. Seeing someone blossom in front of me is so fulfilling.”
The greatest accolade for Miss Jagusz is when she hears that former pupils have gone on to reach great heights and indeed her walls at home, where she offers private singing tuition, are lined with past pupils who have taken the opera world or West End by storm.
As well as soloists with opera houses, her students have gone onto perform in West End smash hits like Les Miserables.
It is as a singer that Miss Jagusz will be known to many of her legions of fans. As a mezzo soprano she has sung at many of the opera companies across the world including the Royal Opera House. A particular highlight was singing with the three tenors.
The birth of her son meant that touring became more difficult and she moved to Cirencester to put down roots. It is here that she began to teach, linking up with Cirencester College and Cheltenham Ladies College.
“Cirencester College had the most extraordinarily talented singers. On average I have found about one singer a year who has gone on to have an exceptional career.”
Six years ago she set up MJ-UK Productions Limited, which puts on several concerts throughout the year and one blockbuster show every summer at the Bingham Hall to give her pupils, some as young as eight, the chance to work with professionals and showcase their raw talent.
“I feel very lucky to have the capacity to help these youngsters. It is so important that they have the opportunity to be as good as they can be.”
* Maria Jagusz is taking to the stage herself alongside MJ UK students in a two part musical evening of Mozart’s opera Bastien and Bastienne and excerpts from musicals. The show will be performed at St Peter’s Road Church, Cirencester on 6 November and Poulton Village Hall on 12 and 13 November at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from Cirencester’s Tourist Information. Visit mj-uk.co.uk for more information.