Observations: A vocal athlete's new workout


"I stopped because I felt that I wasn't able to deliver the performances I had been able to before," says the opera star Sally Burgess who retired in 2010. "Singers are vocal athletes and so I stopped before I wasn't good enough."

And now she directs opera; her production of Verdi's Il Trovatore for Dorset Opera opens next week. "I've directed a few but I'm still the 'new girl' on the block," she says. Music runs in the family – Neal Thornton, her husband, is a jazz pianist and composer, and her son Tim Thornton is a jazz bass player, whose new album New Kid launches next month. "He's witnessed the dedication needed for a career in music," says Burgess.

'Il Trovatore', Coade Theatre, Bryanston (www.dorsetopera.com) 25, 27 & 28 July