Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things are beginning to click!

The last two weeks have been good weeks for me on both fronts.  I have gotten back into a pretty regular study schedule with German and have noticed a lot of progress as of late.  I am now picking up small chunks of passages when I listen to Radio Horeb or watch Extr@.  I find that I am beginning to be able to express myself with a little more ease in daily conversation and am feeling more and more comfortable with the language every day.

Speaking of Extr@, I discovered this program while looking through my subscriptions on youtube the other day.  One of the channels I had subscribed to had liked one of the videos of Extr@.  Upon some research I discovered that the program is designed for language learners and is available in English, French, Spanish, and German.  The storyline is silly and the production value and acting leaves a bit to be desired, but I do find the program easy to watch and I can catch a lot of the dialogue.  Overall, German is progressing nicely now that I am back into the regular swing of things.

I have also been having similar experiences vocally.  My first roles as a tenor are coming up in about two weeks and I am starting to become comfortable singing them straight through in succession.  I was worried a few days ago because I felt like it was a struggle to get through the second, more demanding role of Rinuccio, however I eventually reminded myself that I will have some time to rest in between my sung parts in the role as compared to in the practice room where I sing through them in succession.  I recently discovered the vocal posture that I like to maintain while singing and this has made my life considerably more easy.  I have to verify that this is the correct posture when I meet with JRL in a couple of weeks, but I believe that this finding is a huge step forward for me.  

As this upcoming performance is nearly past, I am beginning to look forward to auditions for some summer young artist programs and putting together my package for this.  I am still lacking one aria in my package, but I hope to be able to rectify this problem also when I meet with JRL.  Singing has become really exciting again and I find that I fall more and more in love with the art form as I continue to progress, both vocally and linguistically.  Ultimately my language goals are designed to further my artistry and the more I delve into languages the more I see the beauty of the way composers set words to music; and the more I grow vocally the more I am able to enjoy telling the stories of these operas and songs.

In a quick look ahead, after this performance I am going to be focusing on securing my audition repertoire for the upcoming season.  After I have those pieces in a good place I intend to start to work on a recital program to be performed before I leave Rochester in about a year.  I am still trying to iron out a potential program, but I am leaning heavily towards performing "La bonne chanson" by Gabriel Faure and "Dichterliebe" by Robert Schumann.  It is said that Faure's work is considered by some to be his Dichterliebe, so I think this will be a nicely tied in program.  My plan is to sing both works in their original keys, which I personally believe is the best way to perform art song.  This way the audience hears the music exactly as the composer envisioned it.  As I begin to prepare this program I will reflect on it here and provide details of any upcoming performances of both the recital and any opportunities I receive through auditions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vocal Epiphany!

The last two weeks I have focused almost completely on the music side of my life.  With Rinuccio approaching in a month I have been working feverishly in preparing the role.  As I am beginning sing through the role in one sitting, I noticed at first that my endurance was an issue.  Luckily as with most muscular actions, the brain adapts quickly and I am having less and less issue with consistency getting through the role. In coaching the role for the first time this past week I had a bit of an epiphany.

At a coaching a month or so ago I was told to be careful of my pitch on descending lines as I tended to go out of tune.  I found this to be odd, because I generally don't suffer from pitch problems anymore.  Nevertheless, I have since been paying extra attention to my descending lines to make sure they are in tune.  At my coaching last week, with a different coach who knows me and my voice better, I was told again to be careful of descending lines.  The catch and epiphany however, was that this coach told me that I was coming out of my resonance.  Ah ha!  Upon hearing this I was easily able to address the problem and found things to click much quicker.  I learned that if I come out of my resonance that I sound as though I am out of tune, but it is more that I become flat in tone rather than pitch.  I also learned at this most recent coaching the need for pacing myself.  Admittedly I do not really know how to do this, so I am experimenting on my own and doing the best I can to save my big vocalizing for my most "dramatic" parts of this role.

In addition to Rinuccio, I learned last week that I also need to prepare Tinca from Il Tabarro for the same read through.  This doesn't bother me much, although I am now stuck waiting for a score before I can learn the role.  The estimated delivery time is 10 July, which will give me about three weeks to learn the role.  Luckily, the role is even smaller than Rinuccio.

Since my focus has been so much on this upcoming event my language studies have faltered a bit.  I still listen to radio horeb and speak with my German speaking friend rather regularly and feel that I am in a good place with German still.