13 February, 2006

15 Jan. "24"

15 January 2006 @ 01:33 pm
No, not the show.
Yesterday the statistics broke down like this:
40 singers. 15 sopranos, 2 countertenors, some mezzoes, some tenors and basses.
10 singers were 24 or under. 30 were 25-30.
All of the sopranos except 2 had come scoglio or dove sono on their list of 5 arias.
The remaining two both had the Doll and O luce, but otherwise the "coloratura soprano" categories were different.
There were two or three singers (in my opinion) that should not have been competing (either yet, or at all- technical issues, vocal issues). There were many singers who I thought should advance to the regionals.
I want to talk about the sopranos, since that is the group that I belong to, and also discuss the results a bit.

Is it "impressive" to judges to hear a full lyric who is between the ages of 21-24? Apparently so. The Encouragement award went to a 21 year old who, yes, had a beautiful instrument. Very well trained, nothing really wrong. Good dramatics, etc. It was all there, just minus the "package" of comfort on stage. But had she been singing other rep, perhaps chirpy rep, or soubrette rep, would the judges have noticed? Perhaps not. Perhaps it was because of the come scoglio with it's highs, lows, chests, runs, that is what made the perfect impression. Now, yes, I know this is a competition and you bring out your audience pleasers and everything. But what is the difference between a 21 year old singing it "really really well" and a 29 year old singing it "really really well"?
I am not sure. But it impressed the people that mattered apparently.

Next, a general note on soprano repertoire and how it is sung. I must admit that even my ear has become accustomed to the coloring of voice, the certain tone that I have gotten used to hear all of the come scoglio's and dove sono's of competitions, aria nights and performances alike.
Is it my preference or my ear? Is it nature or nurture? Are these voices all blasting out loud and a bit dark/swallowed on purpose because that is the top standard that has been set for these kinds of arias?
If I heard someone sing either of these in just a sparkly silvery but still booming voice (is that even possible), would I like it?
Well, I did hear it. Granted, it wasn't a loud voice. But it was sparkly and silvery. It was, ok. It seemed weak (that's just because the actual voice was),but the tone, sound quality, what have you, was actually very beautiful, and I can't help but ask whether THIS was the soprano that Mozart had in mind when he wrote these pieces. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't- we don't have recordings of the singers that far back to actually know.
But what I do know is that all of a sudden it was a screaming match, a bellowing match, a hooty, darkened, swallowed tone match that had all of the sopranos sounding like they were singing with a jawbreaker in their mouth.

And finally, a note about age. Now, I don't know if this was a mistake on the program or not. But when you are able to be googled and everyone can see that you are actually 29, and have had over 8 years of performance experience, yes, at top opera companies!, and there are newspaper articles online that say how old you are when you joined one of these prestigious residency programs, why does the program say that you are 23 years old? Of COURSE it is impressive then, that you can sing the crap out of any full lyric aria from Turandot or Fledermaus.

I was a bit shocked at this. I want to assume that this is a mistake of course. This particular singer has gotten to the regional finals before, as she did this time. This particular singer looked nothing like 23 years old, and in my opinion, sang nothing like a 23 year old singer would sing (unless they truly were a wunderkind). She has her act together. She sounds amazing, looks great doing it, and got to the audience. That's the point of these things---win over the judges and the audiences. And she did. But why did that program say that she was 23?
I will never know, unless it is "correct" on the regional finals program.

As far as my own performance it went very well. I know I got the audience with the first one. Cute, perfected, just all there, plus those high notes never hurt. The second one is my least favorite aria, but on there because again, it's the Italian show piece. It went well. I have sung it better, but have only been asked to sing it twice in audition/competition situations. So it will now be the one that I work on trying to perfect, seeing as how people are actually asking for it even after hearing all those high notes in the first piece.

Current Mood: curious
Current Music: music running in my head: Come scoglio (darkened)

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