Friday, April 28, 2006

swimming through

There hasn't been much time to post this week, but lots to post about. 3 auditions, a recital, 3 concerts this weekend, and a great master class.... Lots of wonderful things are happening. Unfortunately, I'm too busy and stressed to really enjoy any of them. I feel like I'm swimming through molasses -- struggling as hard as I can just to get to the next thing, and there are so many things stacked up that there's no end in sight. But, I have a little break right now, and I'm hoping that the simple act of writing about them will help to clear my head, which feels crammed full at the moment.

In addition to the audition for the scholarship I was awarded last week, I also had auditions for 2 local companies over the weekend. Both went well. The first is doing a new opera over the summer. It seems like an interesting project -- the composer was present at the auditions and is flying out for the final week of rehearsals and writing a new chamber orchestration for the occasion. I was happy with the audition, and the committee really seemed to like what I did, but I'm fairly certain I won't be offered anything (i.e. I haven't heard anything yet, but know of some people who have received offers). The second was for Tacoma Opera, one of the larger small companies in the area. They still have one weekend of auditions left, so I know I won't be hearing anything for a while, but they do have a wonderful season for mezzos coming up -- Carmen and Beatrice and Benedict (Berlioz). I sang something from each at the audition, and both went well, though I think Berlioz is a little better fit for me, both physically and vocally. In any case, there are two mezzo roles (one big and one smaller) in each of the 2 operas, so I'm hopeful that something will work out. In the meantime, I hardly have time to think about it, which is probably a good thing.

Yesterday was the recital I mentioned in a previous post, for which I was preparing the Wesendoncklieder and Chansons de Bilitis. It went well, and was very well received. However, I didn't have time to prepare nearly as thoroughly as I would have liked. I used music, which was fine for the event in question (it was very casual), but I hate using music. Anything that interferes with direct communication of the music is extremely distracting to me, and a music stand between me and the audience, especially one that I need to look at while I'm singing, certainly interferes! I considered making some program changes and replacing the cycles with ones I've performed before, but in the end I decided that it would be better to just get these two cycles learned. I can always perform them again. And I will definitely do that -- I'm in love with both of those cycles! The Wagner are so lush and gorgeous, and the Debussy are so sensual and charming. I'm hoping to find some time in the fall for a full recital, but more on that later.

Meanwhile, the teaching year is reaching it's most hectic point, at least for performing arts teachers. My high school choirs have their concert tonight, and I haven't been so nervous for anything in years. The kids are prepared and I'm sure it will go fine, but conducting a concert of kids is totally out of my comfort zone. I know it's good for me, and I'm glad I'm doing it, but I'll breathe a sigh of relief tonight when it's over (and perhaps a celebratory martini will be in order, as well). The showcase class that I team-teach has their performance on Monday, but that's much less stressful for me -- I just have to sit behind the piano.

Speaking of sitting behind a piano, I'll be doing that at another concert this weekend -- I'm playing some orchestral piano parts in a local orchestra concert. The conductor is a friend and colleague, and he calls me whenever parts come up. I love it -- playing piano as part of an orchestra is a totally different experience than accompanying a singer or playing a sonata, or even playing chamber music. I love sitting in the middle of a large group of musicians, counting measures of rests, hearing the parts play off one another. It's another thing to do, but this one is a refreshing change.

Through everything this week, the recent tragedy at my alma mater has been constantly with me. I didn't know any of the five talented young singers (I graduated well before their time), but just knowing the school, the halls they walked down, the groups they sang with, the professors, the practice rooms, has made them feel close for some reason. It has affected me in ways I never would have imagined. My heart goes out to their families, friends, and the school that was their temporary home.


Anonymous said...

Hey Melissa - hopefully you remember me! Funny thing happened tonight. . . I heard a band sing "That Lonesome Road" and it made me think of you and Dallas, so I googled you guys, and here I am! Wow! You are one impressive lady. . . I kept thinking as I was reading all of your singing credits, "Hey, isn't she a pianist?!?!" Sounds like you are busy and in demand, as well you should be. I'm glad to hear that you have such a great musical career!
Take care,
Karian Brigidear

Melissa said...

Karian! This is so bizarre -- I was thinking of you yesterday and googled you! I tried to email you through your school district but it didn't work. Send me an email -- mplagemann at gmail dot com.

I'm coming to Victoria in a couple weeks -- are you still around? We should get together. :)