Bursting out of the pit at any Birmingham Royal Ballet performance will be the glorious sound of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, our wonderful live orchestra. In an ongoing series of interview with the players, we spoke to Vera Pereira, who explained the path that led to her current role as Bassist.
How old were you when you first started playing?
I was 12 when I started the double bass but have been learning music since I was 6. I started with the organ, moving on to piano and finally double bass.
What did you want to be when you were a child, or did you always want to be a musician?
I went through different phases. We always had a lot of animals in my family so I wanted to be a veterinarian at some point. Then I thought it would be cool to be a dancer. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized I wanted to do music.
How long have you been in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?
Since September 2014, so 7 months.
What’s your favourite ballet music?
I love the classics. It always makes me happy to play Nutcracker or Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky but my favourite composer for ballet music would have to be Stravinsky, because his music was very revolutionary.
What’s your favourite pop song?
My favourite song is ‘When I Fall in Love’ by Nat King Cole but I don’t think of it so much as a pop song. I also like Esperanza Spalding and Regina Spektor.
What instrument would you choose to play other than your own?
I always thought it would be fun to play the harp. The sound palette is very soothing. Having carried a double bass my whole life though, I know better than to pick a big instrument as it’s a hassle to carry around in the tube. I’d probably go for a piccolo or something…
Favourite pit, and favourite concert hall?
I haven’t yet made up my mind on which pit is the best but I do know that Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona is my all-time favourite concert hall! It’s very original, having ornate decorations all around it in a Gaudi-inspired building. What it has in terms of looks is mirrored in its excellent acoustics that make it a pleasure to play in.
What’s your favourite touring meal?
Definitely anything from the Warehouse Café in Birmingham which combines modern vegetarian with home-style food.
How do you relax away from music?
I love reading, baking, reading about baking as well as more sporty activities such as going to the gym and doing Zumba. I’m also an avid photographer, taking pictures whenever I can.