For the first time in about three years, I am on an airplane and NOT on my way to an audition or job. It’s kind of nice! I’m going to spend Easter with my parents in Colorado, and, while I will be singing in church on Sunday, it doesn’t even remotely count as a business trip. How refreshing!
I brought plenty of “work” with me, though. I leave for New York a week from Sunday for the Augusta Read Thomas profile concert at Miller, and I still have a lot of prep work to do. I’m starting to get really comfortable with the piece, and coming up with a game plan for the best way to get the most out of rehearsals. A personal game plan, that is; I have no intention of trying to run the rehearsal! It helps that I have worked with the conductor before. Alan Pierson, of Alarm Will Sound, was a Tanglewood Fellow with me last summer. We met when he saved the day on a chamber music concert that we just couldn’t get together. It was a very small ensemble of excellent musicians, and with two or three more rehearsals we would have been able to “conduct” ourselves, which is often best for small ensembles. For intimate chamber music, I think it’s best not to have an extra body standing between the ensemble and the audience. It’s supposed to feel like we’re in your living room! But, due to a strange set of mishaps and misunderstandings, we just couldn’t get comfortable with the piece in short order. Alan stepped in and gracefully guided us through to a great performance. In NYC, he’ll be conducting his own orchestra, so I assume he will be even more comfortable and in control.
I can’t remember if I wrote last summer about all the things I learned about the singer/conductor relationship at Tanglewood. Don’t ask me why, but before last summer, I viewed the conductor as a crutch, as something to lean on only if I needed help. This feeling was probably another by-product of all the “singers aren’t good musicians” comments I endured in college. Well, I’ll show them! I’ll be such a good musician that I won’t even need the conductor! The idea makes me laugh now. Unless I were doing a one-woman show, performing music is about collaboration. I have learned that I can communicate with a conductor – verbally during rehearsals, and in the mysterious non-verbal way during performance – and that together we can present a synthesis of our ideas of the composers work. It’s fascinating. The same thing applies to pianists during song recitals. I know it seems elementary, but it was a real discovery for me.
Well, I have digressed! What I was trying to say is that I have my ART score with me, and that I intend to step away from family craziness (meals at our house were once described as an “insanity refresher course!”) a few times a day to review notes. I also have Act I of Orphee aux Enfers, which starts rehearsal next week. Incredibly fun music, and very tonal! The perfect counterpart to the ART piece.
I’ll try to post again in a couple days, but if I don’t: Happy Easter! Mmmm, Cadbury Crème Eggs…