Tuesday, June 22, 2010


This is definitely a work in progress. My goal is to take the parts that sound pretty and apply it to the notes that don't. I hear all the bad ones, trust me.

I also need to learn the part in the middle... you can see/hear that it's a bit mushy.

Like I said, it's Work In Progress.

I recorded a little of Lascia ch'io pianga also, but for some reason the sound didn't take. Maybe the movie program is trying to tell me something?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Telephone Excitement

Had a great voice lesson the other day!!! I've been practicing riding my voice on top of the airstream and WOW it really makes a difference. My teacher was excited too - she actually called a colleague (someone I've met before) and we left a message on his answering machine of me singing, and then she was all exited to tell him (on the machine) that it was me. She said they're all supporting me and wanting me to do well. Can I express in words here how it feels to hear that?? No, I cannot. But let me just say, it feels nice. It feels great. Like, weepy great. I didn't actually weep (apparently I save that for the opera house) but it was very nice to hear. Eventually I'll post a recording here to share my progress. I sound like someone else. Sometimes I have to stop and think, Is that me? Who is that? Oh, it IS me. So hard to explain. What a change, what a difference. I promise, I'll get a recording up soon. Soonish.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Has It Really Been a Year?

Exactly a year ago today I was in a tiny theater in Philadelphia watching the most intense opera I've ever seen.

So just for the sake of nostalgia, here's a video from that very production. Turn back, Tarquinius! If you decide to watch, I recommend you click through to YouTube to see the full video window. The blog format here chops it almost in half.

Eek. Watching that small, desperate clip is bringing some of that awful and wonderful tension back to me. Opera keeping me awake? So what else is new.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cakes and Lessons

Things have been very busy here in the I'd Rather Be Sleeping household.

First of all, Alex turned 6!!!! I still don't believe it myself. Check out the cake - how awesome is that???? And then... one of the toddler guests blew out the candles! Oops. Then I stuck my hand into a burning candle when I try to relight the others... but Alex held it together and waited for his chance to blow them out. It all turned out great in the end AND we had the R2D2 cake!! Artoo! Chocolate!! With chocolate frosting that was then covered with white buttercream frosting, then gray and blue and all the lines and so on. A friend of mine made the cake and then I helped her decorate it.

Here is Alex's first view of the cake:

The other Alex news to report is, he is in the process of being tested for our school district's Gifted and Talented program in music. He passed the first part and had the 2nd part of the testing today. I have no idea how much more testing they do. No one really seemed to know when I asked. But Alex says it's all been so so so so easy. So that's good!! The first part was for pitch. They played two tones and he had to determine if they were the same or different. Today it was for rhythms, same deal.

Then he has his very first recital this coming Sunday! He might play something on the piano, but I doubt it. Hopefully he'll go through with his stand, bow, stand presentation. Here he is practicing during a recent lesson when his teacher came to our house.

I have been getting into the groove with my new teacher. It's hard not to compare teaching styles - she and my previous teacher are very different. The past several months with my prior teacher she had been working on me singing through the low passagio. Now we're all about sound. Rounded, full sound. My first teacher used to stop me to correct diction and pronunciation. My new teacher focuses on... sound. Rounded, full sound. Raised soft palate, keeping on top of the air, keeping my voice on top of the airstream, focusing to a point over my nose, punching the air forward. I keep thinking, "Punch it, Chewie!" to remind myself. (Star Wars on the brain.) For some phrases she tells me not to worry about the words, just focus on getting the sound, the air in the right place, and then we can add the words back in. She recommended I do ab exercises. She has told me not to be afraid - and that I'm going to have to face my very soul (or something like that) in order to reach my goal. It sounds hokey but it made sense in context and still makes sense. It's really the same old story. I have to trust myself, trust my body and let the sound come. She is really good at sensing what I need to do to vary the sound for different vowels. And I really can hear an improvement. Husband says he heard it after the first lesson I had with her this time around. That lesson happened to be just before that vocal evaluation, and it definitely helped.

I record the lessons on my phone and later listen to the lessons without singing along. Then I sing afterwards if I can (like if I'm not at work or if Alex isn't asleep) and I can hear the difference. Just listening to her describe and demonstrate, and then pull it out of me, helps me figure it out even if I'm not actually singing. Mental, it's so mental.

I mentioned that I was learning some Handel piece. It's Lascia ch'io pianga, with a page of recit before the aria. My first recit!! Not that it's any different than singing an aria, except the tune is not really there yet. It hints at the tune of the aria and then BOOM the aria - and what a beautiful piece it is. Here's my favorite "listen and learn" role model, Cecilia Bartoli, giving her rendition of it. The aria only, no recit:

If I can sing it half as beautiful as she does, I'll be happy. I'm still working on controlling the volume once I get the airstream in the right place.

So, where have I heard this before? The movies???? It sounds so familiar. And WOW so sad. That's fine, I can do sad.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gilbert, Sullivan and... a Salarian?

Remember I said that Alex had suggested that there be a Wii Lego game of Carmen? Well, today Husband was playing a game called Mass Effect 2. He started snickering and guffawing and then called me over to see this:

So you see, Alex's idea isn't that far off... Well Ok maybe it is. But this video is sort of cute, in its own geeky, computer-alien-roleplaying kind of way.

Again, Not Again

Just got the word (after following up) that my local opera co "is all set" for supers this summer. I wonder if my name fell off the mailing list - Now that I think about it, I haven't gotten any of the emails about supering over the past several months. Then by the time I follow up, it's too late - the parts are filled. Oh well. I'm sad, because I really do like to do it, but also relieved, because that means, no conflict with the upcoming Opera Project recital, if I am chosen to sing in that. And no conflict with various upcoming parties and other events. I won't miss the waiting around at rehearsals, the sweating and the possibly uncomfortable costumes. I will miss seeing how a production evolves through rehearsals into its own organic entity. I will try to get out there this summer to see the performances. Definitely Don Giovanni - the director is the same person who directed Traviata, which I did super in, and I'd like to see his take on Giovanni. Plus It's Mozart!!!