Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Undoing English

Another few rehearsals come & gone. Have a few days off...kind of. Tomorrow is Wednesday, so naturally, though I'm off for opera, I'll be singing at church. The choir is undertaking the Haydn Te Deum in a few weeks, so rehearsals are of utmost importance. Thursday, though I'm off for my day job, has turned out to be quite busy. I have another much-needed coaching session with our language coach. Then I have a voice lesson.

I'm so frustrated with my Italian. I feel like I've made progress speaking my lines, but singing them seems to thwart all progress. Mostly, it's diphthongs. Ahhhh, I hate the English language & its ever-invasive use of diphthongs! And being from Texas only exacerbates this problem. I also got a comment tonight that I'm not sure I understand. "You're making it too musical theatre-ish." I don't know if he meant my character, my lines, my actions, or what. Gonna have to ask my coach on Thursday & see if she has any insight into this latest criticism.

Found out I'll have an audition in a few weeks for a big musical theatre piece I've been dying to do. In September, Lyric Stage is doing a concert version of Sweeney Todd. I thought they would audition this summer, but I didn't anticipate it being this early. Have to choose & polish pieces this week.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Singers Don't Get Holidays

Today's rehearsal was long & grueling. We covered all of Acts III & IV, which we are combining into one act. Ugh. Six hours of recit, my favorite! But all of my scenes are now blocked. I have MUCH work to do. I don't feel like I'm portraying my character very well, and my Italian is atrocious, in my opinion. But I suppose these feelings are typical after the first blocking rehearsal (for me anyway).

Next rehearsal is Monday. No observance of Memorial Day for this crowd. I can't complain though, I only have to be there for the 4-hour evening rehearsal. Some of the principals have half the day and then the evening rehearsal too. Still, it's not exactly the most ideal way to spend a holiday. I may not be working at my day job, but I'll still be working.

So, you guessed it, the remainder of the weekend, I'll be buried in the music room with my score, working my Italian & my blocking. I hope to have a better go at everything on Monday. I have another much-needed coaching session sometime next week. Everything I had improved upon seemed to vanish in today's rehearsal. That's so frustrating! I know my coach was cringing at the piano, thinking "didn't we fix that?" Yes, we did.

Aside from that, I have two flute pieces to prepare and recital pieces to learn. Lots of torture from the music room for the neighbors!

On a different--yet related--note, my sweet husband cleaned house for me today. So I don't have to do any housework this weekend. I can focus on my music instead. Isn't he the bestest?!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Italian 101

Had my first session with our vocal/language coach last night. I had hoped to do some Italian coaching before the opera began, but unfortunately, my coach had to go back to Italy before we were able to do so. I know I have bad habits thanks in part to being Texan and to being American in general. Thankfully, I'm a chameleon when it comes to language. This is very helpful when you're learning languages b/c it means that I simply have to have someone say something to me correctly in order for me to learn it properly. I felt very encouraged after my first 1-hr session. I'll be working on my diction between now & Saturday. I hope I remember everything now that I'm working it on my own. I'll coach with my voice teacher today. Regardless, I do plan on having several more coaching sessions over the next week or two. Here's to having practically perfect Italian!

Eat More Vegetables

Rose is Rose has run several funny strips recently about encouraging the family to eat more vegetables. These two in particular are hilarious b/c they echo conversations that have occurred in my own house after I began serving more vegetables when we started eating the Sonoma way. I would definitely be Rose in these scenarios! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

First Rehearsal

Today was the first rehearsal for Figaro. I think it went very well. This half of the cast (several roles are double cast) seems very nice, friendly, and definitely complimentary of one another. I have a few things to work on --namely, a little issue with pronunciation of a particular consonant--before the next cast rehearsal on Monday with the second half of the cast. I know several of them already, so I know it will be equally as pleasant to work with this group.

I'm a little nervous about the first staging rehearsal the end of next week. Combining words and movement is always a challenge. Often, the words go as quickly as they came. But I've diligently been studying my character and think I have her under my belt. So I hope this does not happen, though I know I will be in good company as I'm sure every cast member will experience this at some point during staging.

While I should clean house today, I'm planning to rest the remainder of the afternoon. Cleaning can wait!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Developing Character

Had a lesson yesterday. Went very well. Actually, I think my progress may have surprised my voice teacher a little bit. With memorization out of the way, she said I'm now ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of my character.

Characterization often lends itself to the study of dialogue inflection. Adding appropriate inflection is difficult in a foreign language. It's often helpful to consider how you would do so in English and then apply those ideas in Italian. A little easier said than done but coming along, I think. Character, naturally, influences how inflection is placed. Likewise, emotion does too. So there is a lot to consider beyond the Italian itself.

I also have to figure out who I want Barbarina to be. From the perspective of plot, Barbarina is the gardener's teenage daughter and Susanna's cousin. She's in love with Cherubino, the Count's page, who is in love with everything that wears a skirt. (But what else can you expect from a teenage boy?) Barbarina wants nothing more than to marry Cherubino, who is also fond of her when he's not distracted by another girl. Considering myself at Barbarina's age, it's safe to assume that she is naive just as many descriptions have pegged her. She is also cunning, as evidenced by her manipulation of the Count in saving Cherubino from his wrath. She's also a typical, forgetful, flighty teenager as evidenced in several scenes, particularly the one with Figaro. So I think my Barbarina will be a cutesy, flighty, forgetful, naive girl. We'll see how that comes out in each scene.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Definitely Crunch Time

Enjoyed a nice albeit busy weekend. I played host to my family in celebration of Mother's Day. We enjoyed an afternoon of visiting and also dinner. A nice time was had by all. I also managed to survive my first flute performance in a long while. I agreed to play a duet with our accompanist at church. All things considered, I think it went very well. We're planning to do another duet for Father's Day.

As I said in my previous post, I'm lost in the trenches of Le Nozze di Figaro. I have half of my sing-song memorized and am diligently working on the remainder. First rehearsal is Saturday. I think it's on-book, though. Have to check into that to be certain. Anyway, I still plan to have everything memorized by Saturday, just to be on the safe side. I may have a church gig tomorrow night, which means I won't have the practice time I'd planned on. But I'm really doing most of the memorization while commuting and when I get free time throughout the day. I spend the evenings in front of the piano putting pitch to rhythm. So far, so good. I think I'm going to have the most difficulty with the finale number where the principals sing together. Why? Well, let's just say I'm used to singing the top, and I'm stuck in the middle. I have a new appreciation for seconds! This part is wicked hard!

Have I mentioned how much I hate recitative? Yeah, well, I'll just say it again...I HATE RECITATIVE! But aside from that, I won't complain b/c this is my debut.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In the Trenches

I've been "in the trenches," so to speak, this week and will be for the next several weeks. Aside from having to dust off the ol' flute to prepare a few pieces for church (and mind you, I haven't played in over a year), I'm in the throws of learning who, what, & why Barbarina is and learning all of her "lines." Who knew she had so much sing-song??? Which just so happens to be my least favorite thing of all to sing-speak!!!

So....until I firmly have Barbarina in my bones, can sing all of her lines forwards and backwards, and have any clue when the heck I have to be at rehearsal (I must really be a blonde b/c I'm having a difficult time deciphering the rehearsal schedule), you won't see much valuable posting.

In fact, be forewarned, any posting for the next few weeks will likely be whining.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

GSM Contract

Today's been a good day. Last night's storms were no match for my sleep deprivation or that of the critters - everyone in the house slept through.

I just got back from my mini-recital for ProMusica. It went very well. Everyone was complimentary of my program. I hope to be sponsored for membership or at least be asked back as a guest artist. The other artists were fabulous, as well - Evan, also from my voice studio, and the two high school players, a flutist and violinist. The two young artists truly wowed us all with their amazing playing!

Another bit of good news came from the mailbox - my Garland contract came. Yeah! I am a part of the ensemble, as I surmised. That's a relief, honestly, because I wasn't sure how I would have time to learn a role with all that is upcoming. There's still plenty to learn though - like dance moves. Still not sure of pay, if any, but it's closer to home. So even if it's gratis, I'm making money by saving on gas!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Professional Appearance

Last night was a rough night. The whole house - critters and all - were rudely awakened at 2 a.m. by flashing light and a loud boom a/k/a in N. Texas as severe thunderstorms. We all tried to roll over and ignore the raucous but quickly realized that it was futile. So we turned on lights and the local radar channel to check things out. For two hours or so, we watched the radar and listened to the NOAA broadcast. Exciting, right? Yeah, well, we were more than ready to go to sleep when things quieted down about 4 a.m. Of course, the alarm rudely went off at 5:30 a.m. signaling the start of another work day. Needless to say, it was hard to get up and get going.

I only worked half a day today. I have a short recital to give for a local professional group tomorrow - Dallas ProMusica - and wanted to get extra rest and rehearsal time. I've lazed around and taken a nice nap. I just finished my first practice of the evening and will run through one tough piece again before I go to bed.

For those of you new to ProMusica like I am, it is a group of both amateur and professional musicians who meet monthly, affording group members - and even guests, in my case - the opportunity to perform regularly. I intend to join the group, assuming a member will sponsor me, as a means of polishing audition pieces, as well as performing pieces only suitable for a recital setting. I will be presenting three of my NATS pieces tomorrow. Needless to say, I've been busy practicing the last several weeks since I want to make an excellent impression on this group of professionals. Assuming I can get a good night's rest tonight, I think I will present an excellent program.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What is Your Net Worth?

What an awesome reminder that we are worth more than our bottom line. We are priceless--to friends, to family, to God. How encouraging it is to know that our inherent value does not lie in our earthly wealth but in the irreplaceable value of our hearts!