Goddess

Saturday night was one of the best evenings of my life. My husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early. He bought me flowers, we dressed up and went to a fancy restaurant, and then we went to hear Renee Fleming live in concert. Now, in case you don’t know, Renee Fleming is a goddess, and my favourite (living) Soprano (my favourite Soprano of the past is Maria Callas, if you were wondering). Renee is first and foremost an opera singer, but she has also branched out into some other genres such as Jazz and Indie. You probably know her best from the soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings.

Her concert performance was breathtakingly gorgeous. She was a goddess, but at the same time so human. After the concert she came out to meet her fans, take pictures, and sign autographs, and guys, I met Renee Fleming!!

renee

She kindly signed her autobiography for me and smiled for a picture. I told her she was an inspiration, and she said, “You’re a singer.” Guys, Renee Fleming called me a singer (granted there was a tiny bit of a question mark in there). That makes it official: I’m a singer (I told her, yes, I was).

In the words of Anne Shirley, this marks an epoch in my life.

A Tale Retold

I went to the opera last night. We saw La Cenerentola, or Cinderella, composed by Gioachino Rossini. It was lovely.

The writer, Jacopo Ferretti, tweaked the story a little from the classic fairy tale to make it easier to stage – instead of a glass slipper Cinderella wore a pair of beautiful bracelets; and instead of a fairy godmother, a wise (and very rich) philosopher helped Cinderella to make it to the dance in style. Cinderella was very sweet and very sassy – my kind of girl. Her stepsisters were garishly dressed, and her stepfather (instead of stepmother) was a buffoon.

In another plot twist the prince switched places with his valet so he could more easily observe the young ladies. Of course, this led to some very funny scenes where the step-sisters spurned the real prince, thinking he was the valet; and where the valet revealed that he was, in fact, not the prince. Classic.

In the end, love won out and everyone lived happily ever after – even the horrible step-family. The opera proclaims (quite loudly) a message that God will reward goodness and that forgiveness is the best revenge.

(Considering that I’m a Soprano is it bad that I’m a little bit in love with the Tenor? He was quite lovely and his high notes were swoon-worthy.)

Too much school makes you old

Ah, the joys of being so busy you can’t see straight! Well, I can see straight, but if I get any busier I think I might just begin to pull my hair out!!

This evening was my last performance in a humorous play written and performed in English: Giancarlo Menotti’s “The Old Maid and the Thief.” The plot is full of twists and turns, melodrama, and puns. I played the town gossip, who is quite an old woman! T’was an interesting experience for me.
You can see from the picture that I’m learning another skill. I was inspired by a friend of mine who was knitting the most beautiful scarf in one of my classes, and decided that I just had to have a go at it myself. Currently I’m a little less than half done.  I usually play the young woman whose heart is breaking from unrequited love 😛

1 for the money…

Well, the first performance is over. Only 2 more to go. The main characters all sang well, but sadly since I had to be back stage the whole time, I didn’t really get to hear it. That’s why you listen in rehearsal when it doesn’t matter where you are. 🙂 The Tenor made it through and the Soprano died beautifully. Other than that I think all I have to say is that I’m giving blood tonight. This will be my 4th or 5th time, so I’m hoping it goes well and smoothly as it always has before *knocks on wood* (I’m a firm believer in Murphey’s Law).

Opera opens tonight

So after this week you won’t have to endure my opera ramblings anymore. Aren’t you glad? Although, everyone always says they miss opera afterward…

Oh, and they finally told us the results of our school competition. I’m an alternate in the final round in case someone gets sick. So basically I have to keep my piece going, but chances are I won’t get to perform it. But a good friend of mine made it to the finals. I m so proud of her!!!

Simply. Imply. simPLY. IMply.

This week has been insane. No, like, for real! Opera is just around the corner. The guest artists came in on Sunday. On Monday we ran the opera with the understudies singing the lead parts so the guest artists can get a feel for the opera and an idea about the blocking we’ve been working on with the choirs and such. And then yesterday we got to hear them for the first time. Boy do they have voices!! Multiple Soprani swooned over the Baritone’s voice. Azucena, the Mezzo, is my personal favourite. I just love her low register! The Soprano is good, but she doesn’t have as much pierce as I would like – the girl who understudied the part was just phenomenal! And the Tenor…well, we’ll see how he holds up. I’ve been told he switched from Baritone to Tenor, so he has a warmer tone than a lot of Tenors, but his high notes aren’t as secure.

Wow. I’m such a musician. Lameness.But awesomeness too, I suppose.

I’ve been able to tat a bit today. It makes me happy. I looked at my progress (I’m only about a fourth done), but the edging looks seriously good with the scarf! I think it will end up turning out really nice.

Tomorrow I’m going to a voice competition. NATS stands for the National Association of the Teachers of Singing. The last 2 years I’ve gone on to regionals. But then again, the last 2 years I’ve actually been ready to perform my pieces. What with all the craziness going on here I’ve had little time (and less motivation) to practice. Something about the middle of second semester just doesn’t bode well for the aspiring muisician…. Anyway, my pieces are varied and ambitious: Nacht und Traume (Schubert), Nuptiae factae sunt (Hindemith), Depuis le jour (Charpentier), Malvina (Donizetti), The Serpent (Hoiby). The Serpent is my favourite!!! It’s so funny and I get to ham it up. 🙂 Here’s the text:

 

The Serpent

There was a Serpent who had to sing.
There was. There was.
He simply gave up Serpenting.
Because. Because.
He didn’t like his Kind of Life;
He couldn’t find a proper Wife;
He was a Serpent with a soul;
He got no Pleasure down his Hole.
And so, of course, he had to Sing,
And Sing he did, like Anything!
The Birds, they were, they were Astounded;
And various Measures Propounded
To stop the Serpent’s Awful Racket:
They bought a Drum. He wouldn’t Whack it.
They sent, —you always send, —to Cuba
And got a Most Commodious Tuba;
They got a Horn, they got a Flute,
But Nothing would suit.
He said, “Look, Birds, all this is futile:
I do not like to Bang or Tootle.”
And then he cut loose with a Horrible Note
That practically split the Top of his Throat.
“You see,” he said, with a Serpent’s Leer,
“I’m Serious about my Singing Career!”
And the Woods Resounded with many a Shriek
As the Birds flew off to the end of Next Week.

 

Oops…

Well…I’ve been meaning to post since Sunday afternoon…

Well, for one thing, I passed my piano midterm. Yay!!!!! It really wasn’t that hard – mostly scales and arpeggios and chords, but, still, that’s something, right? (I’m such a bad person. I haven’t practiced piano in over a week…)

My second piece of news dates back to Sunday, and it’s a bit of a story. Ok, my Sunday afternoon nap is one of my favourite things in the week. I mean, seriously, sleep. ‘Nuff said. So this Sunday I took my nap like usual. Only this time my body decided it didn’t want to sleep well. In the middle of my nap I woke up, like, 3 times, each 5 minutes apart. Each time I attempted to go back to sleep and my dream kept going on. I was dreaming that the school administration was about to announce the winners of the competition that I was in this weekend. Even though I’ve been telling my self I didn’t make it into the finals and I didn’t feel like I sang very well, I was still really nervous. So much so that I kept waking myself up from my dream. I never did find out who made it….

And third and last, I just wanted to give y’all an opera update (you know I’m going to be going on and on about this for a while, at least). As a gypsy in Il Trovatore (an opera by Verdi), I’m only in 1 scene – the Anvil Chorus. It’s kind of nice to have a small part, since it cuts down on rehearsal time, even though I would love more stage time. Well, today I tried an experiment. Several of the gypsy men bring in wheelbarrows all empty and lonely. So I thought it would be nice if I went and kept those wheelbarrows company –  by riding in them as they come out on stage. More precisely, I lay in the wheelbarrow and pretend to be sleeping off a hangover. The lights wake me up when I come onstage, and I stagger off groggily. It makes me so happy!!!! I know, I’m weird.