Thursday, March 15, 2007

don't mind me and my split personalities...

I met with the music director yesterday for the marionette opera that I'll be involved in next month. My role has changed a few times since I became involved in this project. The opera is called La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'Isola d'Alcina. First, I was hired to sing Melissa, who ultimately rescues Ruggiero from Alcina's island. Then, I was singing Alcina. Now, I'm singing... both! Alcina is a higher role, a magical temptress who can turn people in to enchanted plants, among other fun things. Melissa's singing lies a lot lower. She's "the good one" in the opera, and a much more grounded and earthy character than Alcina. She also has magical powers, but uses them only for good. In order to rescue Ruggiero, she transforms herself in to Atlante, and at this point she will be sung by a bass, so I won't be singing her entire role, but once she transforms back in to herself, she has a confrontation scene with Alcina, so I'll be talking to myself for a good 5 minutes or so. How fun! I guess I'll be experimenting with different vocal colors and characters! Of course, there will be different puppets onstage, so hopefully it won't be confusing for the audience.

In other news, apparently my Canadian envy has paid off -- I'll be spending six weeks at the Banff Centre this summer, participating in their Opera as Theatre Program! Woo hoo!!! I'm not exactly sure what my assignments will be there, but more on that as things develop. At the very least, I'll be spending six weeks in a great program in an absolutely stunning setting, so I'm excited!

Friday, March 9, 2007

note to self...

Don't sing coloratura like I'm playing scales on the piano!

I've been working on Rossini lately, trying to gain some freedom in the runs. In a coaching the other day, BK stopped in the middle of "Non piu mesta" and said, "This is great. But, you know, you don't have to accent every 4th note of every scale! It sounds like a piano exercise." And I flashed back to the 15-year old me, who used to spend 30 minutes every day playing every major and minor scale in succession, 4 octaves in 16th notes, parallel and contrary motion, and accenting every 4th note! Of course, I didn't always play this way in actual pieces of music, but somewhere in me, I feel like that's the way scales are done. I've been thinking about my coloratura for months now, working on it with my teacher, talking to people about it, and everything helped a little, but nothing was really the answer. I guess I just had to hear it from a fellow pianist!

The result? I tried the run again, thinking all the way to the end in one long line, and ta-da!!!! Smooth, exciting, easy, long scale! Well, until I dissolved in to giggles at the end. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Canada rocks my world.

I was in Vancouver this weekend auditioning for the Banff Centre. I have auditioned for them a few times before. It's always a good excuse to visit some great friends in Vancouver and indulge in lots of yummy tapas and sangria at our favorite restaurant. Generally, I think they prefer to hire Canadians, but the audition went very well, and I'm hoping that the fact I'm an alumna of a Canadian University might help me out a little. If only they knew how much I really want to be Canadian! Canada is so cool!

First of all, the spelling. I feel so much more sophisticated going to the theatre, or attending a centre for something. Secondly, it's great to feel like I'm getting a refresher course in French every time I go to the grocery store. Also, it (well, Vancouver and Victoria, anyway) really feels like home. When I went to Indiana after finishing my bachelor's degree in Victoria, I found that immediately I had met a circle of Canadian friends. I felt, still feel, I think, more of an identity as someone who has lived in Canada than I do as an American, in broad terms. Of course, Seattle, is probably the most Canadian of any major US city, so that probably has something to do with it.

Canada, like the US, has had new designs for their money in the last few years. The picture of the queen has been aged appropriately, and her picture is bigger on the front. I noticed a quote on the back (in English and French, of course!) by Gabrielle Roy: "Nous connaitrons-nous nos-memes seulement un peu sans les artes?" "Can we ever know each other even a little without the arts?" On their MONEY, people! I mean, come on! How cool is that?

In other news, I'm ready to get cracking on my spring projects -- the St. Matthew Passion and the first opera known to be written by a woman: La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall' isola di Alcina, by Francesca Caccini. I'll be performing this with the Northwest Puppet Center. I'm totally excited about both of these projects, and ready to dive in. There are some exciting things in the works for next fall (one having to do with Canada, even!), but more on that later when they solidify a little more.