Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magic Flute observations

I have been listening and watching and then listening some more, with occassional attempts at singing in the midst of this amazing talent surrounding me. So many of the people in this opera company are so talented and so comfortable with their talent. Comfortable with the stage, the orchestra, the drama, the schedule, each other. I am not so comfortable, but am not uncomfortable either. I am just hopeful and learning and least I hope I am. There are not many mezzos in this opera, but I am learning so much from the few that are singing, and the sopranos just by their approach to the music and diction and breathing and energy and character development. A few things I've learned:

- Mozart really was a genius. I kind of knew this before, but now I know it. The way he sets the music for each character and scene is nothing short of amazing. When you consider the time he lived and composed, and what he did with what was known and it continues to be so thought-provoking and beautiful for even today...Wow. He understood how music could communicate and that it should communicate.

- These people are not scary. Some of them are more diva-ish than others, but that always exists in every profession. All of them are like me, in that, they simply want to sing, do justice to the music, and enjoy their time with others.

- The directors are incredible and motivated to help you display your best while making the production as great as it can be. They stay true to the art form while making it fresh and accessible for the audiences today.

- No one cares if you flub a note or lose technique for a moment if you know your stuff, are confident, and don't do it again. Everyone is really positive and supportive, cheering each other on. For example, the girl playing the Queen of the Night has some butt-hard arias. Everyone knows it. Every time she sings them and soars, everyone gives her big smiles and thumbs up and applauds loudly at the end. You gotta have friends to support you when you sing that stuff day in and day out.

- The directions come fast and furious for staging, and you better be ready to do it stat. Again, it's ok to mess up and ask for clarity, but this is another level of performance and you must pay attention.

- I am not as scared to audition now that I've been at it with these people for a little while now. I know a bit more what to expect, and I know that (with a few exceptions of incredibly, unbelievably that's-not-fair kind of talent) I am comparable to the singers up there, Masters degree in performance or not.

- It is do-able to balance time with family and time with singing. But it is a definite sacrifice. I am maybe the only one there that's married. Probably the only one with a kid as well. They care in the sense that that's interesting, but it's also something that doesn't matter in giving me a little fact, I'm sure some of them consider it a good thing since they will have more opportunity than I since they don't have the responsibilities I do. But, I plod on. It's frustrating that I can't audition for another show for next month...or that I shouldn't is more like it. But, ultimately I want to spend time to connect with my family for a while again, and then do another show. Maybe 1-2 shows a year would be good with concert engagements in-between.

- I learn best by listening. For some reason, my brain understands what must be done to achieve a good sound if I can hear someone doing it. Recordings aren't quite the same, it's better if it's live. I've had a recent epiphany just from listening to these people.

That's all for's really fun. Last night, we had a sitzprobe with the orchestra for the first time. Really cool. Tonight, it's the first time with props and costumes. Maybe I'll be able to post some pictures after the shows done.

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