Friday, October 13, 2006

long time no blog!

Lots has been going on, and there's plenty to write about. The side effect of this, of course, is that there's no time to write about any of it. Here's a little update.

A couple weeks ago I sang in the Sun Valley Opera competition (which, interestingly, takes place in Seattle). There were seven finalists from various places around the country. I am not at all sure that competitions are for me. They seem so contrived. I have a hard time putting an art form in a competitive format like that, and the idea of judging voices, particularly when there's no role or anything in question as a result, just seems a little weird to me. However, it's another opportunity to sing, and while I still fall within the age limit for most of them, I'm trying to give them a chance. This was a good way to start, as the competition took place in a church where I sang as a soloist for six years, and where I still teach piano lessons twice a week. I felt very at home. It was a particularly interesting competition in that the first round consisted of each of us singing an aria, and in the second round we were all required to sing a musical theater piece. Having started singing late, I never did any musical theater in high school or anything, so this was a totally foreign concept to me. I chose "Bill" from Showboat, because I've always loved that song, and hey, when am I ever going to have a chance to sing it, right? It was actually really fun. In the first round, I sang Nicklausse's aria Vois sous l'archet fremissant, which is my starter in most auditions nowadays. Apparently, the judges liked it -- I got third place! More importantly, I learned a couple of things. There's a universal truth of singing that we all know on some level, but which many of us (well, certainly me, anyway) seem to have to learn the hard way: sing what you sing best. period. I'm finally over feeling like I have to sing something that shows everything plus the kitchen sink in one (usually long and showy) piece. Nicklausse shows what my voice sounds like. Lots of great, rich middle with a nice high note at the end. The thing I took away from the competition is that I now feel totally comfortable starting with that piece in any situation. I have lots of showy coloratura (Rossini and Handel) on my list, and some more difficult pieces musically and range-wise (Meg from Little Women and Komponist), and they'll ask for what they want to hear. All told, a valuable competition experience. Who knows? I might do a few more.

In other news, I finished all my apprenticeship and young artist program applications yesterday and put them in the mail. It feels, even more than in past years, like a huge weight has been lifted. I got them all done in plenty of time, but being gone for the first half of September really screwed up my normal timeline, and I've felt totally panicked and stressed about getting them all done. Luckily, I recorded a good demo this summer, so that part (usually the most stressful for me) was easy this time. We'll see what happens. Probably due to the fact that I have such a busy schedule this year (and maybe because I continue to feel more and more comfortable with my voice), audition season seems like less of a big deal than usual. Just another job to do. I think that's a good sign.

In the last couple weeks, I've been doing something new singing-wise. Seattle has a large (and growing) recording industry, mostly for film soundtracks, trailers, and video games. Often these pieces involve not only an orchestra but a chorus as well, and I've been doing lots of sessions lately. It's been really fun. Generally the orchestra records during the day, and the chorus (of between 20 and 40 professional singers) records at night. The music is your typical action-movie stuff -- a lot of it sounds like Carmina Burana, complete with fake latin. :) It's good for the sight-reading skills, good money, and it's been good to see some old friends and meet some new colleagues. However, it's also long hours -- last week we had three nights in a row, two from 8:00-midnight, and one from 8:00-1:30 in the morning. Not good if you have anything to do the next day! I'm not complaining, though. The recording engineers were there from 9:00 a.m. all of those days! And, one of the singers in the choir is a morning news anchor for a local television station, and had to be at work at 4:00 a.m.! Sheesh!

We just started music rehearsals for Hoffmann, and I think it's going to be a good show. Performances aren't until Thanksgiving weekend, and we have 5 or 6 music rehearsals before staging starts -- a nice luxury, for sure! One disappointment -- my audition aria isn't in the version that we're doing. Oh, well. Such is life. :)

Finally, I was just offered a new gig for the spring -- singing Rosina in a school-tour adaptation of Barber of Seville. I'm excited about it. Rossini is something I hope to sing a lot more of in my career, and this seems like the perfect way to ease in to it. If I can sing "Una voce poco fa" (or whatever it will be in the English translation) three times a day, starting at 8:00 in the morning, then I think I'll feel comfortable singing Rosina or Angelina anywhere, any time. Actually, now that I've written it, it doesn't really sound like "easing in to it" at all, does it? More like throwing myself in to it!

So that's what I've been up to for the last couple weeks! The result of being so busy (well, that and the fact that I hate to clean) is that both the apartment and my car are a horrible mess at the moment, so I'm happy to have the day off to get organized. Happy weekend, everyone!

1 comment:

Ariadne said...

(I washed the car today, too!)

This was an *awesome* post, packed with interesting tidbits, M. I'm so glad all these great opportunities are coming your way. No one could deserve them more, I'm sure of it!

Hugs,
Ariadne