Friday, June 12, 2009

Catchin' UP

Wow! Time flies when you're busy... I know... a month is way to long to go without posting something, but... nonetheless.

Well, Don Giovanni went well last month. We had two performances - one on a Friday evening and the other on the Sunday afternoon of the same weekend. It was low key in the sense that it was basically a concert version with some minor staging, in a small space in the McLean Community Center. We had good sized audiences both performances and many people contacted us to say they would like to see more performances. We are slated to sing in DC in July - a condensed version of the program. It looks like the workings of a new opera company are forming. If I didn't have to work full-time, I would spend more time helping with the business side of it, but as it is right now, there are other folks who have come "out of the woodwork" to see if they can't make it happen. In fact, John Turner, the gentleman who organized the show originally, got a call from someone who used to work for the Orlando opera doing publicity, etc., so hopefully that will lead to something bigger so that we can see greater things come to the McLean area.

I gotta say though, that Elvira was definitely a challenge for me. I'm glad I sang the role, but boy(!) what a workout! I was sweatin' buckets after each performance and though I was physically tired, I was not vocally washed. I am so excited about that because that means that I am singing right - using the body and taking all the pressure off the chords. In fact, I sang at a musical fireside (the term used in the LDS church for a spiritual gathering consisting of music and spoken word) only about 1.5 hours after we finished DG, and had no problem singing. I was still in great voice! (Now the next day was another story! LOL. I felt like I had been hit by a freight train! Sort of like a runner the day after running a marathon.) But I rested up and was back to the grinding stone a couple days later.

I met shortly thereafter with Carmen to get my music assignment for the festival in San Francisco this summer. I don't think I've mentioned this, but I was invited to sing at the InterHarmony Music Festival in San Fran this summer for two weeks. I am sooo excited about this opp because I will be singing mostly chamber music - excerpts from Faure's "La Bonne Chanson" and from Rachmaninoff's opuses. (As a bit of trivia, I just looked up the plural for "opus" and found that that it is the word "opera" - or some use "opuses." Isn't THAT interesting! I can't say I'm at all surprised - makes perfect sense that many opuses would constitute an opera.) Anyways... along with the chamber music we'll sing some other arias and art songs. We'll be staying on the San Fran State Univ. campus. I am very much looking forward to that! Stay posted for pics of performances from the Wharf and of Phase 10 card games - a great favorite of those going!

I recently returned from Chicago to attend the Classical Singer Convention. While I took away some very good information and a couple of great contacts, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the convention as a whole. I think the intention to provide classes and information for singers of all stages, the focus was so much on the University aged singer that I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already know. However, I had a wonderful AFE (audition feedback experience) where I sang for Mr. Hines who works with Chicago Lyric, and Stephen Goldberg who directs for the Indianapolis Opera. Both were very complimentary and then gave me some very good feedback as to my coloratura style and how to clean it up. They were very constructive and left me with many good resources for study and even a coaching recommendation. I was very impressed with their sincere interest in my progression as a singer.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my friends who did not have as good an AFE. Neither one really got the type of feedback that I did - meaning it was not helpful. We were very discouraged by that. Most of the masterclasses that we attended were geared toward young singers - the singers in them were not developed with their characters, etc., so I felt like I was the audience to what would be a lesson with one of my students. Ah well...

There was a very good class from the director of an opera company in New York State (the name escapes me at the moment) about how to make it to the top and stay there. This was very encouraging because I realized that with a couple more years of focused study/work, I could be singing for bigger houses. He said that most singers don't make it to the top because they aren't willing to put in the hard work. There are so many singers in the middle that could be on top, but just aren't willing to give what is required. I was very glad to hear that since many times as singers we think it's for lack of talent... not so!

Other than that, there was not much to be had from that convention. However, I did get to see one of my favorite teacher/singers - Dr. Alfonso Anderson who teaches at UNLV. I met him when I was at AIMS. He is such a plethora of good information and such a wonderful teacher. I sang briefly for him and he gave me some very good reminders about my sound as it pertains to my support. I really enjoy being around that wonderful man. It was so good to see him!

Well, it's now busy, busy, busy. I'm going to try to put together a recital in the next couple of weeks to help raise money for the cost to sing at the festival in San Fran. (I think sometimes I bite off too much...), but I have to remember that singing for me is another full time job on top of the already full-time job that I have. [sigh]

OH! One other thing... looking forward to returning from San Fran as I will be singing for an agent in New York... I'll definitely keep ya'll posted on how that goes.