It is somehow easier to write about the good things here – the new gigs, the successful gigs, the fun stories. The past month has been, while not exactly bad, a bit harder than most. A persistent cold that has only just left me; a long trip to NYC where I had to muscle through the cold to give a concert and two auditions (thank god - or, rather, Phyllis! – for good technique); coming to terms with being overbooked, and, hence, having to bow out of a commitment; and the general malaise of springtime. All in all, not stuff I want to dwell on. But they are part of this life of performing, so they deserve a mention.
I think I’ve talked enough about being sick. I will say two things, though. First, I have become determined to get to the root of the causes of my frequent sickness. The mental, emotional and physiological causes; I suspect that all those aspects are playing a part. Stress management, a few holistic health professionals, and continued therapy should help me get that part of my life under control. (A word on therapy: Everyone should do it! I’m determined to help remove the stigma of being in therapy, to help people see it as a part of overall “health care” and not something for crazy people. Although, we’re all a bit crazy, aren’t we?) The other thing about this bout of sickness: my husband finally caught something from me. He gets sick maybe once every two years or so, but this one was too fierce to be ignored. The difference, though, was the he lost his voice! Scary. I have never – knock on wood – lost my voice like that. I know several other singer who did this season, and the idea is so scary. All the more reason to get my health in order.
I ended up giving two auditions while I was in New York; I had only been planning on the one. But while rehearsing with my pianist (a fairly connected NYC native whom we’ll call R), he mentioned that he was playing for another manager’s auditions that evening. He called their office and got me in. I was still coughing and had very little middle voice, but my line and high notes were there. So I did the audition. It went well enough for a last minute thing. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the company (he was late and a bit disorganized), but they haven’t called me, either! All in all it was just another opportunity to sing for someone in the business.
The second audition – and the one I was most concerned with – was the next day, and I was still feeling pretty crappy. My voice felt weak and my uppermost notes were just not there. But I decided to leave the “high note arias” on my rep list, trusting in the adrenaline factor to help out if need be. At the audition, R and I decided to change my starting aria from “O zittre nicht” (Magic Flute) to “Come, now a roundel” (Midsummer). (In most auditions, the singer selects the first aria, then the panel chooses from the remaining selections on the singer’s repertoire list.) I’d started all my auditions this winter with the Flute aria, and it was a great starter for me, but that day I knew I’d be too worried about the high F at the end to give a great performance. The Midsummer aria is slow and shows control, and also has a great high note, even though it’s “just” a C#. It went very well, and then, the heavens really smiled on me. Instead of asking for another opera aria, Mr. W asked for Bach!! I couldn’t believe my luck. Bach is like a balm, both for the voice and the soul. I nailed the aria (“Ich folge dir” from St. John), and afterward we talked about Tanglewood and my upcoming events. It was very pleasant conversation, not at all forced. All in all, a great audition, even with the stress of not having all my notes. Now, we wait.
This is a long entry, so I’ll write more in another post about being overbooked, and also about the drama at the airport on my way home from NYC!! Sheesh.