Yolanda becomes Flora in Germany
Yolanda Shamash: researching “creepy” role
GCSE revision and preparations for Israel tour would be enough to keep most Jewish teenagers busy over the next few months, but Yolanda Shamash will also be starring in an opera in Germany.
The 15-year-old from Palmers Green is to share the part of Flora in the opera version of Henry James's ghost story The Turn of the Screw.
The opera, written by Benjamin Britten, is being staged in the 1,300-seat Dusseldorf Opera House and another large venue in neighbouring Duisberg in May and June.
Yolanda, who was chosen after just one audition despite never having performed professionally - and with little experience singing opera - will relocate to Germany this month for rehearsals, taking her school books with her.
She will take her exams during the ten-week run, with her proud father Jack visiting regularly "to make sure I get to my exams". She also plans to contact the Jewish community in the area to keep her well looked after.
A keen singer since she was a child, Yolanda has been taking lessons for six years. "I was always the kind of kid who sings all the time and has to be told to shut up," she said.
Although Yolanda is unsure whether she wants to pursue music as a career or go into journalism – her father's profession – she said she was looking forward to the challenge.
"It's going to be chaotic - the whole thing will really be a learning curve."
Not having read the book before she won the part, Yolanda said she was now getting to know her character. "It is a bit creepy," she said.
And even after her final curtain, Yolanda has plenty to look forward to. In July she will jet off to Israel as part of a Noam tour group.
"I will have some good stories to share," she said. "I'll have done a lot of travelling this year."