Saturday, October 22, 2005

A day off

It has been a delightful day, and it’s only 3:00. I slept in (a good thing, too, since I didn’t “come down” from the post-competition high until about 1am), got a latte from the cart in the lobby, ate a makeshift breakfast from the groceries I bought on Thursday, and watched a bit of the Missouri-Nebraska game (sadly, once I stopped watching, the Huskers stopped playing…). After a short meeting with the finalists at the Hult Center, right across the street from my hotel, I was released into the unseasonably beautiful Oregon afternoon. Sunny and 65º, perfect weather for perusing the Saturday Market. I found some real treasures, giving me a head start on my Christmas shopping. This evening I think I'll grab some dinner and see a movie, then try to head to bed early. Nice to have a "day off!"

So, more about last night. I was first again, as they kept the same order from the morning. Not an ideal spot, what with 23 other singers to come after you and potentially erase any impression you might have left on the judges minds. But since they got to hear us twice in one day, a nice set-up, the effect of going first was negated a bit, I think. One bonus of being first is that I got a few minutes in the green room with the pianist, Daniel Lockhart. Turns out he’s played for the West Coast Opera Auditions for the past few years, and I told him my awkward tale of this year’s audition! Had a good laugh about that, once again. We also looked through the music for my aria, and I pointed out the things to watch out for, i.e., getting a little “Viennese” on the first few “Ha ha ha”’s. Getting to have this conversation in detail off stage was great, rather than tossing the music at him on stage and saying, “Watch me here, and try to meet up with me here, and …” while hurrying to my spot to sing. It gave us both a level of comfort that carried over into the performance. It really felt like we were a partnership performing and sharing, not two strangers trying to muddle through. And he’s playing again tomorrow!

I have to say I enjoy singing Adele in German more than in English. There are just more fun and naughty and flirty words to play with! Even if the audience doesn’t speak German or have titles, the text is easy to play up and give them the general idea. For the first time, I was truly comfortable with the coloratura at the end, taking my time to really breath and set up each different section as a different sort of “laugh.” It was fun! And finally, as if a culmination of all the work I’ve been doing these past few months, the high D at the end was everything I wanted it to be. It was if Nina was there with me, in one instant telling me all the things she’d helped me with this summer: open your throat, connect the high note to the lower note, let that note vibrate! It felt so good. Now if I can just get that feeling to connect on Eflat and E, I’ll be in like Flynn.

The judges for the semi-finals were Jonathon Field, Pamela South, and Erie Mills, a coloratura soprano of much renown. I actually thought at one point, while singing, “Ms. Mills surely has sung this role; I wonder what she thinks!” She will also be on the panel for the finals tomorrow, along with two new judges. A carry-over from the semis is a really good idea; she can contribute information about the full performance of the singer, not just the few minutes the other judges will have seen.

The other finalists are two mezzos, one baritone, one bass, and six sopranos! Most of the sopranos are lighter voices; rep for the finals includes “Caro nome,” Manon’s “Gavotte”, the Silver Aria, and Nannetta (me, big surprise!), with “Ain’t it a pretty night?” and Rosalinda’s Czardas (Fledermaus) being offered by the heavier lyrics. Oddly enough, no real “fireworks” pieces were chosen (the arias were chosen by the judges, and while we were allowed to give our opinions, very few people changed their assigned aria). I thought about asking to sing “Glitter and be Gay,” but then I thought that I should ride the wave of success that Nannetta seems to be bringing me!

Thanks for all your kind words. Hope you’re having great weekends, too!

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