13 November, 2007

new muzique learning.

After a wonderful opening weekend, spending the next day with relatives who flew in to see the show, I had a day off yesterday.
Except- it wasn't REALLY a day off, because I arranged to have a coaching on some upcoming repertoire that I will be presenting in about 2 weeks.

A 2 hour coaching later, I felt fabulous.
We sang through two brand new Italian arias (I needed to get a quickie recording of this done for a last minute submission)...which brings me to a post on learning music and getting in your body.

I HAD to record this music. It's from a rarely done opera, by a composer known more for his symphonies and oratorios than operas.
Early music, so there were ornaments to be worked out, and it just also had to MAKE sense (yes, all 8 repetitive minutes of the aria).

I received the music on Friday afternoon.
Looked at it repeatedly on Friday night, a bit on Saturday before the show.
A lot more on Sunday (which even included buying the arias on itunes to make sure I was going in the right direction on my own).

But without my usual resources here of libraries with scores, recordings, easily accessible coaches that could bang through it with me before I had to record it--I did it all on my own, and yesterday at the coaching I have to say it went quite well!

I CAN say that the arias were in my voice. Maybe not so much my body.
The recording is accurate, it is nuanced in the correct period of music and vocalism that the era and text and ornaments require. It is sometimes exciting, but it is definitely something that I can tell, when listening to it, that is not a role I've had experience with.
No staging in scenes class from undergrad. No auditions previous to this, no recording projects that make this one of my old "standards".

It's new and exciting- and that sounds a bit weird to my ear, which is used to hearing polish mixed with ease of delivery.

I am "happy" with the recording, but I wonder how much different it may have sounded IF I had either sung this role before, learned the whole role, or had any experience with the opera whatsoever before I was informed on Friday that I needed to record the aria asap.

And so, about learning music on the "quick". What I do:
Get music.

Look through pages of music to see the high, the low, the coloratura, the A or B sections, get a feel for the structure of the piece.

Translate words.
What? Old school Italian? OK, translate them using the ancient dictionary and make sure you understand that it's about cupid mocking YOU, not you mocking cupid (fool reflexive verb tenses that are no longer used).

Bang out some pitches and rhythms.
What? It's Baroque? Awesome! I already KNOW the A prime except for all the ornaments I have to make up now!

Try to sing through it.
What? No piano? No rollout keyboard?
Just that same pitch pipe that you used as the music director of your a capella group in college? YEP. Hope it's still at A440 after being dunked in chloraseptic spray numerous times when you sang while you had mono because you were committed to the group! And also when it was at the bottom of your bag which was mysteriously submerged twice in pineapple juice from those mini containers you used to keep in there, but forgot about before slamming said bag down on the pavement to wait for the shuttle but to the top of campus.

Break down and check out online.
Has anyone sung this? Is it a midi file? Break down again and go to itunes. WHAT? You can buy the entire 3 opera compilation for 65 bucks? NO THANK YOU!
I'll just buy this aria for 99 cents. You rock, itunes.

Oooh- lookey-here! I WAS singing it correctly, and HEY! That chick just used the same ornament I was going to in the prime! sweet! I'm on the right track.

And that is how, two and a half days later and an opening night later, I prepared for this recording.

But hey, it sounds great, all the notes are there, and I probably will never have to sing this aria ever again in my life unless I get the actual role--and you know what?
It's actually a really nice little sing! A sweet character, well-written, funny and heartfelt at the same time.

Today- day off from singing.
Tomorrow- next show.
After tomorrow- back to the new music learning (Messiah). I'm already rejoicing greatly.

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