Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wotan's Farewell

Recently, Jon and I saw one of our favorite baritones, Bryn Terfel, sing a program of Wagner with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. One of the most well-known Wagnerian baritone arias, I would even say one the best-known Wagnerian arias is Wotan's Farewell. It is the end of Die Walkure, the 2nd of the 4 operas in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

The premise is a heart-wrenching decision by Wotan to punish his daughter, Brunnhilde, for falling in love with a mortal. He decrees that she must live with the consequences of her actions, meaning he must put her to sleep on a rock for whatever mortal to find her and make her his wife. She begs him to protect her with a charm that will only let a true hero break through to her, and Wotan agrees.

This video picks up with him leading her off, and then calling on Loge, the God of Fire, to surround the rock with fire to protect her and allow only the bravest of men to penetrate it. Interestingly, he calls this man "one who will be freer than I, a God." Thus, he gives up his favorite daughter, she, of course, hoping it will be Siegfriend who saves her. (leading into the 3rd opera, Siegfried)

Wagner has never held great appeal for me, but after listening to this recent concert with Mr. Terfel, and learning more and more about the stories behind his music, I can't understand why it's taken me this long to get into it. It's everything I like about opera: drama, leit motifs, lush harmonies, soaring melodies, and big singing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So, how did the performance go?

I can't believe that I haven't posted about my performance of "In the Beginning" with C_________ this past September. I guess it hasn't been in the forefront of my mind since it happened.

I felt really good about the whole performance. Except for nerves affecting the first phrase ("In the be-gggginnnning" - it was a bit wobbly), I felt confident and that I sang really well! It was a major accomplishment for me to get over my nerves, since that's been my battle from the beginning. Everyone in the group was so supportive and kind, and I got a lot of positive feedback from the director and people in the audience. I realized that this is the sort of thing that fits very well in my life right now (concertizing), since I do not have the time to devote to shows with a family at home. It just is not realistic. What is also fun, is the choir I'm with, Lyricora, gives me a lot of solo opportunities as well, so it helps me get more well known through them also (hopefully more as the group becomes more well-known over the years).

I should be able to get the recording for "In the Beginning" in a couple weeks, from what the director told me. That makes me nervous for a couple reasons...first, the afterglow of feeling so good about this performance could be totally eradicated from listening to me sing with a critical ear, and second, the choir backing me was really sub-par for this piece. They are, as I said, a wonderful group of people, but really not suited for such a difficult acapella piece. So, there are many wrong notes, many wrong chords, many wonky things going on...but, c'est la vie.

My family was out for the performance, and quite a few of my friends came too, which really touched me. I felt really supported through the whole thing. And Jon, who is pretty honest with me, thought I sounded the best I had in a while. So, very pleasing. :)