Well, my first Queen of the Night is in the books! Not sure yet which books, but it is over and done. I was happy with how it went, although I still have a ways to go before I will be satisfied. I still have to focus a bit more on technique to get through the arias than I would like. I prefer to get to a point with my music where all I have to think about is the story I am telling. The monologue that runs through my head when singing the Vengeance Aria goes something like this: “Ok, keep it light. Don’t try to take the whole voice up to the stratosphere, just let it float. Right out the top of your head, that’s it. Keep those ribs expanded, sternum up.” And so on. It’s Phyllis Curtin’s voice that I hear, and it is comforting. Although I would much prefer to be able to stay completely in acting mode, as I can with so much of my other music.
Please don’t get the idea that I zone out of character while singing! That is a great fear of mine, having started life on the stage as a straight actor. I think I generally do a fair job of blending the disciplines. It’s just that now, while the Queen and her high notes are working themselves into my body and voice, the percentage is shifted a bit more to the singing side. Let’s say ideal balance for me is 80% focus on acting and 20% on singing; I feel that the Queen is at 40/60. Hopefully, though, still enough acting to be scary! View these photos and let me know what you think. (I'm the washed out redhead with the black antennae...)
I’m looking forward to two more chances to sing the role this weekend. Then, hopefully in the next couple of years, I’ll get to sing it many more times, and I can relax into this delightfully wicked (or callously betrayed, depending on your interpretation) character.
The rest of the cast is outstanding vocally as well as dramatically, as the above photos will attest. I have enjoyed working with them all, and feel I have found a kindred spirit in my Pamina. It’s not often two sopranos can ask each other for counsel on getting through difficult scenes in an opera! I know she has helped me progress, and I hope my advice has served her well.
So I say again, if you live in Western Washington and love opera, there is a gem hiding in Mount Vernon this weekend! More next week on all the other goings on…