King’s student takes part in opera — about burgers

BURGERS. Opera. Definitely two words you wouldn’t put together off the top of your head.

But last month the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) in Waterloo became a mini Royal Opera House, hosting the world premiere of ‘Burger: the Opera’.

Now after being in the spotlight in both the culinary and opera scene, I sat down with Mimi Doulton, a third-year Music student at KCL, to talk about her experience performing at GBK.

Hi Mimi! So how did you get approached to perform at GBK? 

Well, earlier this year I sang in a production of Gluck’s Orpheus at the Rose Theatre, Bankside where I met Robin who runs Secret Opera company.  A few months later I got a call at work from him asking if I would be interested in singing at GBK – it sounded too fun to resist!

Most importantly, did you get any free food?

I have never eaten so many burgers in one week of my life! It was just great. There was the scope to have three burgers a day, but I never managed more than one shamefully.

Obviously this was a fantastic opportunity to showcase opera to the general public. How important do you think this is?

Bringing opera to as many people as possible is something very close to my heart. There are so many opportunities to watch opera outside the theatre that people are unaware of.

You can find free live-streaming online from different theatres every week, and not to mention the cinema output of places like the ROH and the Met in New York.

It’s no longer true that opera is inaccessible (if it ever was). You can watch it anywhere, any time, at no cost and I think that is wonderful.

As a music student, how do you think classical music is fairing at KCL? Do you think it should be promoted and showcased more?

KCL has a thriving classical music scene, although unsurprisingly this is mainly experienced by the music students.

It would be great to see more people from other faculties joining ensembles and coming to watch our shows.

University is all about trying new experiences and there are cheap/free concerts basically every week that give people this opportunity.

Finally, what are you future ambitions in music once you leave KCL?

I have two ambitions. My first and foremost ambition is to train as an opera singer, an arduous process that will probably take the best part of the next 10 years…

Whatever happens at the end of that, it will have been worth it. I love what I do, I love the people I sing with and I love the music I sing.

My second ambition is to continue sharing the love! I have spent the last year and a half in jobs where my main focus is researching and promoting music streaming services and that’s also what I’m writing on for my final year dissertation.

It is immensely frustrating that some performers actively work against making these services possible and I want to do the exact opposite.

I suppose the ultimate plan is to be working as a musician in a world where the digital audience watching a stream of a show is 10 times the size of the live one in the theatre.

Because how EPIC would that be?!