Who knew that the cure for a really lousy day was a voice lesson?
Today was one of those days that just never really got off the ground. I rarely have bad days, I’m an optimist and an idealist, you know this. But today? I just wanted to go back to bed. About every two hours I would think that: “When do I get to crawl under my covers?”
Because I’m an optimist, I often disregard things that are bothering me, choosing instead to think that they’ll just get better. And often they do! But sometimes the proverbial shit* hits the fan, and I have to face the music. Some of the things today are personal, but there was professional stuff, too: frustration that Bhakti fundraising is (way) behind schedule, disappointment that a possible Hillula performance has had to be postponed, even (gasp!) some professional jealousy.
But after a much-needed dinner with JD and finally getting some stuff talked about, I move on, this time with a plan. Well, the start of new plans.
1. A mailing list campaign for The Bhakti Project. I jumped in so far over my head with this thing, it is not even funny. I have more contacts in New York now, though, and I’m getting more help and advice about how to proceed. I’ve reset my short-term goal, focusing on raising the rest of the commission fee: $4000. I can totally do that. We’ll worry about the recording later…
2. JD and I, together with Judd, are back to the drawing board / brainstorming for performance opportunities for Hillula. We’re also workshopping it, a bit, working together to find its final incarnation. We all love the piece, and we want it to have the opportunities it deserves. So, I say again: stay tuned.
3. The successes of my friends and colleagues should help motivate me in these endeavors. I see how their hard work has paid off and am reminded that maybe I can do more. Nothing comes to us in this business without a little hustle, so it’s time to “hustle my bustle,” as my mom would say. Bustle hustling!
Even with all of this, this new outlook, I was still seriously weighed down. I had a voice lesson scheduled for 8pm, and I thought about canceling, but it was too late to do so without having to pay for it any way. I figured I might as well go; worst case, we’d just talk about rep.
Well, glory be, if things didn’t just go swimmingly! We worked our normal half hour of technique tweaking; this is the first time I’ve been with a teacher long enough that I can really tell that working “his” technique is helping, that things are “sticking.” It felt so good. Then we started on the things I had in my bag: Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise (can anyone tell me why I haven’t sung this until now?!) and a couple of songs, the Dew Fairy aria from Hansel & Gretel, and then we pulled out my audition book. I showed him what I’ve been taking in these days, and he gave everything the green light. But then I said, “What do you think about substituting a Manon aria for the Juliette?”
He agreed, and then suggested her first aria, “Je suis encore étourdie.” The thing about Manon – and this is true of many opera heroines – is that the vocal writing starts out fairly light – young, sweet – and progresses in heaviness to the end of the opera, usually expressing her demise. Gilda, Juliette, Mimi (?). I said that I was hesitant to offer that first aria, since I would be afraid the audition panel would hear it and think “Well, that’s pretty, but does she have the voice for the end?” I’m still learning to embrace this fuller voice that has shown up this year, still shedding the mental skin of the “soubrette” label. Me? Manon? Can I sing “Adieu notre petite table?”
Yes. Yes, I can. Say hello to my new French aria.
By the time we wrapped up, I felt so much better. Clearer of head, lighter of heart. I love to sing. It makes me feel good. And yet, it is often very hard to sing when I’m upset. Heh, often? Always. Unless it’s a performance that I can totally immerse myself in, I hate singing when I’m upset. But I think I need to remember this evening and how much that hour of opening my heart brought me joy, how immersing myself in the music lifted my spirits. And so much better for me than a pint of Pomegranate Chip Haagen-Dazs!
* I think this is the first official swear word on The Concert… I’m sorry; I just couldn’t think of a better metaphor! It was that kind of day. Call me a bad writer.