I was just reviewing the cut list* for my upcoming Messiah concerts. Turns out they are including a section that has always been cut in my experience, which means I have a new solo to learn! It is the beautiful “If God be for us, who can be against us,” and I will enjoy learning it – and singing it! Handel’s music fits my voice very well; I’m about to add one or two of Cleopatra’s arias to my audition repertoire, I think…
PBO will be performing two concerts of the complete Messiah and then two performances of highlights paired with the Bach Magnificat. I haven’t performed the Magnificat before, so for that piece I’m learning a solo aria, a gorgeous SSA trio, and, since we’re performing the E-flat version, a duet for soprano and baritone. Lots of new music, lots of wonderful music.
I’m starting to get very excited about these concerts, for several reasons. Mostly, I realized today that I haven’t performed in almost three months! I have enjoyed the break, and I needed it, certainly. I couldn’t have gotten as settled as I am here in NYC if I’d been scurrying about performing, and my voice needed a rest, too. I’ve been going through a bit of a growth spurt vocally, and I’ve needed these months to fine tune things with my teacher, get some new rep up on its feet, and gear up for the next phase. But I am ready to get back to work!
Another reason I’m excited is that Stephen Stubbs will be conducting. Mr. Stubbs is a very prominent member of the international early music community, running the Boston Early Music Festival for years and recently moving (back) to Seattle, where he’ll be involved with several of the areas early music groups. Digging around a bit, I found that bio linked above on the website of the new Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera, his latest endeavor, it seems. How exciting for Seattle!
I’m always looking to learn more about a specific style of singing (singing styles generally being based on a time period), and this will be a wonderful opportunity to learn from a master. I’ll be nervous when I sing for him the first time, afraid that I will do something stylistically that will make him run screaming from the room! Of course I realize that chance is small, but I am completely open to the likelihood that he’ll have an idea or two that will make my performances more accurate. Learning on the job, so to speak.
* With a large work like the Messiah, groups will often cut out one or more movements to keep the running time down. There are cuts that have become traditional over the years, but it’s always good to double check!
On another note, I had one of those auditions today, where the folks behind the table say really nice things to you that make you think you got the gig. I’ve learned by now that said comments mean no such thing, but they are indicators of making an impression. So, whether I’ll be cast in a really fun and exciting role in April 2008 is yet to be seen, but I know that I made a good impression with a good company. Not a bad day at work.