Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Foreseeable Future

Another great singer has removed herself from public performance. According to a statement on the IMG website, Barbara Bonney “will not be performing for the foreseeable future.” (Read more at Playbill Arts.) I have heard that her health is fine, which is a huge relief, but I cannot imagine a personal grief so great that it could remove her from performing completely. I send her what strength and love and hope I can.

She was, along with Dawn Upshaw, a singer who drew me into this art form. If CD’s could wear out, I would have worn out these lieder/chanson CD’s about five years ago. When I sing these songs now, as when I sing certain Debussy songs that Dawn recorded, I have to very careful not to just regurgitate their interpretations! Ms. Bonney was also a Sophie worth studying.

Imagine how thrilled I was to sing for Ms. Bonney in a masterclass at New England Conservatory in 2002. Somewhere in a box, I have my notes from the class. All I remember without reviewing the notes is that she reprimanded me for touching the piano (“You wouldn’t walk up to Yo-Yo Ma during a duet and place your hand on his cello, would you?”), but praised my German diction. Ha, I found a picture! Ignore the skinny girl with bad posture, and just imagine her joy at singing for one of her idols!

Ms. Bonney was a huge advocate of living in Europe for a while as a young singer, an idea that has recently resurfaced for me. A year or two in Germany, performing twenty performances of roles that will grow to be your “bread and butter” roles, can be an invaluable experience. Who knows if I’d be able to do it now, but I’m looking into it…

I wish Ms. Bonney peace and joy in her time off, and I hope sincerely that it is just that. “Time off,” and not an end.

And on a different note, today we welcome back a diva of a different sort: Trrill is back! Just in time to gear up with all the other opera bloggers for Opening Day of the 206-2007 season. (Is there such a thing? Something like this, perhaps?)

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