I'm back in Boston for these few days, visiting and performing at my alma mater (one of them), and visiting and coaching and seeing the Fall opera production at my alma mater (the other one).
I had a great coaching on Lakme yesterday with one of my favorite coaches who really helped me understand Zerbinetta as an undergrad about to embark on two and three years of offering Zerb at auditions.
I loved him for that, and I continue to love Strauss because of all of the exploratory work we did on line, chord structures, counterpoint, and how it all fits with the vocal line and emotive goals of text in the Ariadne.
We discussed the ariettas in Lakme a bit (pourquoi, dans la foret, sous le ciel, and tu m'a donne), and how to balance the enunciation of the French with the line that does not take any language into account and is simply a beautiful, languishing melody.
What I think I tend to do most is actually act the French. Which is correct. Well, the method that works for me. I mean, language is the most important. There WILL be cousins of mine at the performance who have lived in France for a number of years, and I want them to understand what I'm singing! But at the expense of the musical line?
Which is why sometimes you have to let the 'lega' take over just a bit more than punching out those "little words" in the text.
And I"m sure by March/April I'll come to a really nice settlement between the two, but for now they are still in a fight.
And French is kicking legato's @ss.