06 March, 2006

On singing ..maybe part one

Why singing? Why opera? Why not any other profession?

When I was younger: I just liked singing and I didn't care for whom. I liked that I learned things fast, and well, (even when I was only doing musical theater when I was younger), and when I started singing opera I loved that it had so many other parts that I had to get right before I could consider a song "learned". Translating, reading the original book or play the opera was based on, learning it in my voice, listening to other famous people singing it, singing it for my teacher only, then maybe for an audition, and then maybe even getting to sing the role.

I almost hate that I get one or two chances in performance to really convey everything that has been involved in learning a role for me. In Lucia i felt like I did so many more hours of thinking about her dramatically, vocally and emotionally, than I could actually tell people about in my performance. Of course due to nerves, only thinking about the voice, and just trying to be in the right place on stage at the right time can get in the way of all of that.

I do LIKE performing, but it's not the love I have about this profession. I love mastering the role and having something that someone else wrote, with whatever historical background, whatever soprano, whatever conductor and lyricist, now in my own repertoire. It's mine because of what I put into it, and no one else. I can get told where to walk on-stage, but I am still responsible for why i'm walking there.

I do have to sing the notes of the page, but it's still me that's making the decision about how to sing them and why I would even bother to say these words.

The feeling of the musical process is fascinating to me, and yes, I prefer when there is an end" to the means of learning that comes about in terms of a performance. But i'm often let down by performances because there is so much more that can't possibly have been there on the one night of singing/acting that I put into it. Even though it's fine, or better than fine..to other people.

Some singers say they love performing. Yes, me too. I love the feeling of live theater, I love the feeling of polished technique, I love the feeling of preparation getting me here. I love being in front of people (more often if they are strangers than family members). I love the orchestra, the curtain up, looking into the wings and seeing the stagemanager calling cues, my colleagues waiting for their entrances, fixing things on-stage and unscripted. Even the nerves before hand that bring a smile to my face that is taking a turn toward the anxious- to remind myself that I DID put the work into this that it deserves, and I CAN do it and it will be the best that I can do.

But there is so much more that belongs to this choice for a profession, and I think I like that work even more--with the perk of getting to perform it for an appreciative, knowledgeable and impressionable audience.


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