Saturday, July 08, 2006

Guten tag! I am almost through my first week and boy, has it been a great week. I am starting to get used to the time change... I'm still waking up in the middle of the night for about an hour or so, and then I manage to fall back asleep. But I am singing well despite that and the cigarette smoke smell in my room. I think the person that was in here before me was a smoker. Yuck! Ah well....

I had my hearing for the faculty on Thursday. It went sooo well!!! My high notes soared and I didn't have any tension in my sound. It was wunderbar!!!! I sang the Sophie part of the Rose Presentation from Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss and then Regnava nel Silenzio from Lucia de Lamermoor by Donizetti. I messed up the words a little on the Strauss, which caused some pitch issues at one part - I was thinking the wrong words... words that were on the next page. Anyway, I kept going as if nothing happened. It turned out great. The Lucia went fabulously. A short time after I sang, the faculty went on break, so I spoke with a few of them.... they were very complimentary. I had one woman who is an Austrian opera singer - Elisabeth Beis, come to me and say that she wanted to see my resume and speak with me a little bit. I did speak with her earlier today. She is going to help me get ready to audition for someone from the Opera here. I'm not sure what will come of it, if anything, but any audition is a good one. Not sure if I have what they would be looking for, but you never know. We'll see. We will find out next week, or perhaps tomorrow, what our class schedule is going to be and what concerts we will be singing at.

I spoke in depth with another teacher here.... he teaches at the University of Las Vegas... his name is Alfans Anderson - an incredible tenor! He said that as he listened to my singing, that he noticed a special quality about the sound. He said that it had a very distinct color to it... that it was different than anyone else's sound, and that my high notes just sparkled. He said it was gorgeous. I was very flattered by his compliment! I will continue to work to get that sparkle in the sound.

I sang in a master class this morning with Gabriella Lechner. She is a legend in Austria... very famous opera singer and now teacher. She is PHENOMINAL!! I sang Je Veux Vivre from Romeo et Juliette for her. This was very interesting!!! This is a piece that I have sung for a very long time, and that I thought, was fairly polished. Well, this is what happens when you sing for a legend.... they find everything wrong with the song. Not that everything was wrong, but she had a lot of things to fix. The French was all over the place, and I am just laughing because I had worked on that soooo much. So we fixed some of that. But more importantly, was that she found STILL a lot of tension in my tongue. Unfortunately, I had developed some very bad tongue and jaw tension with a previous voice teacher, that has taken me over two years to work through. Well, those issues are still fairly obvious in my singing... at least to the trained singer's ear. On my high notes, I wasn't opening my mouth wide enough, so that my jaw was vibrating and the back of my tongue was lifting up. That is not a good thing! So, I have to work very hard on relaxing my tongue and further opening my mouth on the high notes. I worked to get away from opening my mouth too much because I used to swallow my sound when I did that. Now, I have pretty good placement, so I can open it wide and the sound will not get swallowed. I did this throughout the piece as she coached me, and the difference in my sound was incredible!!!

I also have to work more on putting my body into my singing... supporting from the ground up. All these things take time, but if I can get a good handle on them, I will be on the right track. I had some new found friends here take notes for me and listen, and they said that the high C at the end of the piece sounded like I blew the top off my head when I sang it. The cool thing is that once I applied the things she was telling me, that high C was 3 times bigger and clearer, but took the half the effort! It was the coolest thing!!! I can't wait to get started on lessons next week to learn even more!

Here's some pics of the master class with Gabriella.... I'm sorry they're not very close up, I should have asked the girl taking them to zoom in. The other pics are of a restaurant that we had dinner at last night. It's up on the hill above the city - the Restaurant in the Wood. It was beautiful!!!

Tomorrow is Sunday, and all the shops, etc., are closed for the Sabbath. It will be a nice restful day. I'm going to go to church in the morning. They have one here - it's across town, but I can ride the trolley to it.

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