Sunday, February 25, 2007


Note to self: Don’t come home and dive into an intense hour of singing after eating a huge brunch, no matter how inspired you might be after reading this month’s Opera News. Just don’t.

I have the worse case of heartburn I’ve had in months. Ouch!!

What was so inspiring? Here are some quotes:

Emily Pulley on rhetoric: “Professor Como said that the basis of good rhetoric – you know, the kind we never hear anymore – is to be a reliable source, speak the truth and love your audience. And something in my mind clicked. That’s the kind of singer I want to be.”

Diana Damrau on Aithra: “I’m looking forward not only to sing this but to play this role!” Opera can also be about the words!!

From a review of LHL’s Neruda Songs: “[Regardless of] the music on offer…, the mezzo could create for her listeners the illusion of complete spontaneity; she made every word and every not her own, performing with the commitment and pride of an artist who was delivering a piece that had been written just for her.”

Also, I’m sure I’m not the only singer who “does the math” about other singer’s ages when reading biographical articles. We all wonder how we’re doing, whether we’re on a track to achieve the same level of success by the same age. Of course, we know that each track is different, everyone gets to their peak at a different time, blah blah blah, but we can’t help but compare. I was inspired by doing the math on Emily Pulley, who reveals that she will turn 40 this year; she made her Met debut in a small role in 1993 (she was also a Met Competition winner that year), so at age 26. In the last 14 years, she has slowly worked her way from that small role to a full plate of roles at top houses and a reputation for success in American opera. We younger singers very easily forget that success isn’t handed to us right out of grad school, or right after a summer at a top YAP, or even after signing our first Met contract. It’s a long time coming. We work now to achieve later, if that makes any sense.

After all this, plus a few pages of Song of the Lark, I was ready to come home and get down to business! But my poor overstuffed belly didn’t appreciate getting pushed around by my overzealous diaphragm and abs, and now I have heartburn. So it’s armchair work for the rest of the night: L’elisir translations and diction work. Also very important steps towards achieving that success, but not quite as viscerally fulfilling as singing scales and arpeggios…


southern gal said...

a mature thing to realize = that it's not overnight!

and doing spadework! the thing about the piano is that my arms and fingers dont wear out as early as my voice would... so i often get up with sore shoulders!

learning to take breaks - 20-30-40 mins tops at a time is the trick but its hard sometimes - although I have found that i can practice for far longer if i take breaks and get more accomplished at different levels - just as long as i stay away from the computer and blogs! oi can they eat up the time!

good luck with the snow!

Anonymous said...

Pepcid Complete is the best (and only) thing I've found for curing heartburn once it's already happened. I rarely get heartburn (I take Nexium to eliminate that potential) anymore, but in those very rare cases, chewing one Pepcid Complete tablet has *always* worked for me. And if it can work for me, it can work for anyone.

ACB said...

Thanks, Anon! Maalox works for me these days, plus a supported yoga pose for about 10 minutes (lying on my back with a bolster under my shoulder blades).

I used to take a Zantac 150 every day and still have flareups from time to time. But, as it turned out, my heartburn was almost entirely stress related, and when I moved from Seattle, it went away. I don't take anything these days, and only have these episodes when I overdo it...

Funny thing, the mind-body connection!

Mme A said...

Forget the heartburn; where did you have brunch?

Scatterbrained Seal said...

Speaking of different tracks and such, I'm constantly worried that I'm singing rep that's too difficult for me. Is there a way to tell? For example, I'm currently working on the Count's recit/aria Hai gia vinta la causa...Vedro mentrio sospiro. None of it feels difficult (it's actually sounding very good), but the F# at the end is definitely tough. I know I need to learn how to sing those notes, and I'm not worried that this aria is too much, but what do you think?

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