A short Italian lesson: to help get those long Italian vowels and short double consonants into my tongue and mouth and voice, I’ve been told by several folks to speak the text exaggerating those sounds. For example, this line from the Figaro Act II Finale - “...qui li ha fatti capitar” (“here has made them come” or “has sent them here”)- has a double consonant in the word “fatti” and a long vowel in “capitar.” I keep getting them mixed up, putting a double P in capitar, so I’ve been drilling the line like this: “qui li ha fat--------ti caaaaaaaapitar.” Out of tempo, stopping all sound on that double T, and holding that Ah long enough that I make the following P very short. It's a great way to drill the recits, too; this kind of direction to the words creates a naturally conversation shaping.
Clear as mud? Awesome.
This week I’ve been multi-tasking in some funny ways: listening to Figaro on my iPod while marking my score and drilling rhythms for The Old Burying Ground, or listening to TOBG while typing up my Barber translations. The mix of new music and Classical is a fun stretch for my brain! Nothing like hearing a steady 4/4 while counting “2/4, 6/8, 9/8, 3/4…”
I was studying this afternoon (and eating lunch, even more multi-tasking) when “that moment” in the Act II Finale came up on my earphones (the “Deh signor nol contrastate” moment, with that low E in the double basses, you know the one). I put down my pencil and had a moment of amazement. It’s here! In four days we start rehearsals. I get to sing that beautiful role, to create that wonderful character, to tell that silly and touching story.