Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's working!

Let's start with the more interesting and important information.  This summer I am participating in two programs.  One is in Loch Sheldrake, NY singing in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and the other is in Buffalo, NY singing scenes from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  Both of these programs are a blessing to me.  After an overall disappointing audition season, these were my last two chances to obtain gigs for the summer.  The program in Buffalo, which is called Cadenza Workshop, was discovered almost by accident through a show I was doing with Rochester Lyric Opera.  The other program, Opera Advantage, is run by Nico and Carol Castel, whom I have worked with before when I was in Spoleto, Italy.  There are points both interesting, amusing, and a little scary with all of this happening so quickly and unexpectedly.  First, both of these operas that I am going to be working on are based on plays by Beaumarchais, although I am performing them out of order.  Barbiere should be before Le Nozze, but I suppose I get to see the characters as "mature" people prior to their youth.  The scary thing about these is that I have about a month to learn and memorize both of them.  Additionally, I need to raise some money to cover expenses for these programs.  I am currently trying to plan a benefit recital to accomplish this goal and will provide more information as it comes along.

Along the same line as the preceding paragraph, I had my best audition to date yesterday.  I auditioned for Syracuse Opera yesterday and changed my daily routine for audition days quite a bit.  The results were much better than I anticipated.  I used to find myself with little to do, so I would arrive quite early (1-2 hours to be exact) and wait around for my time to come.  Yesterday, I instead chose to hang out at my cousin's house until about 2 hours before my audition.  I then took the 40 minute subway to my audition place, grabbed a quick lunch at Subway (probably wasn't good practice to have the onions, but I love them so...), used the practice room I reserved (brilliant idea!) to warm up, and walked next door to my audition where I only had to wait for about 20 minutes.  My audition began as they all do, the awkward entrance and introduction of the first piece, which was Alfredo's aria from La Traviata.  After I sang this fairly well the two auditors conversed a little and actually asked me to sing a second piece!  This may not seem like a big deal, but I haven't been asked for a second piece since I switched to tenor, so this was quite momentous to me.  They asked for Sam's aria from Susannah and I sang that pretty well also.  Some major things that I noticed in this audition apart from the second selection being requested were this:  My voice and technique have finally become strong enough and stable enough that I no longer crack or shank high notes, despite nerves.  I still have an involuntary finger or leg twitch that accompanies high notes, but the notes themselves are secure.  Also, I am able to do more of what I want through intent from both a technical and musical perspective, and I feel I am beginning to make music instead of simply singing words and pitches.  My physicality may still be lacking, but I like to think that I am making up for this with how I am treating the text.  I don't prescribe to the gesture for every line business anyways.  I'm more of a fan of the one or two meaningful gestures during the course of a piece idea.  Overall, regardless of the results, this was a successful audition.

Spanish...  There is something about this language that I just do not have the motivation to learn it consistently.  My LingQ account has lapsed again due to nonpayment, but that doesn't really hurt my feelings, especially with all I have to learn in the next month.  On the plus side, during my drive to NYC Sunday and the drive home last night, I listened to Spanish radio as long as I could pick up the station and I managed to find a singer whom I like, Hector Acosta "El Torito."  I am currently listening to an album of his on Spotify, actually.  I also still listen to Catholic radio on my phone at work in Spanish and speak what I can with my friends who speak.  So I am still improving, it is just a very slow pace.  Many people want me to perfect my Spanish because of the practicality of it in today's world in the U.S.  Perhaps that is why I don't really care that much about learning it.  In terms of my own career, there is very little music that I sing that requires Spanish.  I'd rather spend my time beefing up my Italian, German, or French.  I would rather learn Russian and I will be come 2014.  Hopefully come August I will be able to get back into LingQ for Spanish and make a push to get myself to a somewhat respectable level of Spanish before the year is out.  I learned French in 8 months; given my current level of Spanish, I should be able to get to a similar level in 4 months.

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