My website has soundfiles!! Erik and I stayed up way too late last night, even though it was once again a “school night” for him, getting the Downloads page set up, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. He even found a really simple way for us to have the files available for streaming or for download, rather than one or the other. Once again, technology is very cool!
I’m happy with the files I’ve chosen, too. They are all from live performances, as I have had no time this fall to get a recording session organized. (You’d think it’d be easier for me, since I have a husband who is a recording engineer and a friend with great recording equipment and another friend with access to a church, but, no.) Listed in reverse chronological order, the first recording is still a year old. The oldest is just over two years old, from October 2003. Here are my thoughts on each.
The Lakme Flower Duet was recorded in January of this year at the Opera Rescue Tsunami Benefit concert at Town Hall Seattle. It is a gorgeous piece that really needs no introduction, other than to say that Sarah and I had a wonderful time singing together and we are both happy with the recording! (It is posted with her blessing.) That is a rare thing, as singers are picky! Our voices blend beautifully, which is really key for this duet. I decided to post the whole thing, since it is an “opera gem” that I figured people wouldn’t mind hearing!
My first public outing for Zerbinetta is next, from a Ladies Musical Club of Seattle concert at the Asian Art Museum (great recital hall in the basement!). I want to record this again, but for now, I’m happy with what this shows. I feel that in the past year, I’ve gotten more free with it and I’m having more fun. There is one note that I’m still not totally happy with, but I’m working on it… And, no, there is no prize if you can figure out which note! I’ve included the last half of the (12-minute) aria, the half with all the fireworks.
My first full role with orchestra, Britten’s Tytania, is next. I chose to use her first aria, “Come, now a roundel,” rather than “Be Kind & Courteous” for a few reasons. You don’t hear it as often (in auditions), which I think is a shame. I guess those spectacular strings are hard to replicate on the piano. Also, the legato is a nice contrast to the fireworks in the other arias. And, hey, a nice floaty high-C# never hurts, either!
The next song, “In a Gondola” by Ned Rorem, is one of those stage moments a performer treasures her entire life. I sang this song and another (“Song for a Girl,” both from Rorem’s Six Songs for High Voices) at the Tanglewood concert celebrating the composer’s 80th birthday. I was terrified when I saw my music, as they are truly HIGH! The other we ended up transposing down a half-step (dear, sweet, talented pianist!), and it still ended on a sustained high-Eflat. Eeeek. But, when it came time to sing, the magic of the moment was truly with me, and I just lived the music. It was transporting for me, taking me to the realm of performance where we get to stop worrying about the words and the notes and the breath and the legato and all that intellectual stuff that can get in the way of truly inhabiting the stage. Afterwards, a friend said to me, “If you keep singing like that, people are going to start asking you to sing Zerbinetta!” Ha! This performance is one of the reasons Tanglewood is so special to me. To read the text, visit such stuff.
Finally, my favorite recital closer: the Prima Donna Song! I know people find this piece annoying, but I think it is so fun when performed totally tongue in check. Lots of places to work the audience! The little chuckle you hear at the beginning is in response to a little curtsey I gave, already in character, and this character hates to curtsy. Unless she’s doing big Diva Bows, which I do during the interlude and then chastise the audience for not clapping. Fun! Also, a moment that doesn’t really translate on recording: I hold the final high note FOREVER (it’s only a B)!! With my arms up and eyes closed, totally wrapped up in myself, and then, towards the end, I take a peek to see if the audience is still with me. Again, just a fun moment!
I’m going to home for three uninterrupted months this spring, so I’m planning to record some more arias. Nannetta, of course, along with Adele and maybe Sophie (Werther). I also have some concerts from the fall that might have usable tracks; we’ll see. I don’t want to have more than five or six at any one time, though. Don’t want to give it all away! Enjoy.