Saturday, July 05, 2008

Big weekend

As is often the case with concert performances, all of the elements are coming together at the last minute. With our concert tomorrow night, we will spend this afternoon doing a room run, fitting Mr. Alexander into the minimal staging we’ve worked out (and trying to remember it ourselves! We’ve only had one rehearsal for each act...). This evening we’ll caravan into DC for the Sitzprobe with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center; I think our rehearsal might be on the stage, which will be all kinds of awesome. Tomorrow morning we’ll do a sound check; since the Filene Center is a large (huge) amphitheater, we’ll all be miked, which takes a little pressure off getting those low- and middle-voice passages out. I’m never worried about my high notes being heard! God bless formants... Then in the afternoon, we’ll have a “dress rehearsal,” which will mostly involved checking entrances and exits and who does what with which chairs. Then... showtime!

Needless to say, I won’t be singing every line at every rehearsal. Having a fresh voice for the show is most important, but there will be a few other times I’ll want to sing out. I’ll probably sing Glitter at both the room run and the Sitz; I’m very confident now that I “have it,” but it won’t hurt my confidence to get two more runs under my belt. The room run will also be my only chance to try my blocking in my (very tight and slinky) dress! Gotta make sure I can roll around on that row of chairs as melodramatically as I’d like...

Getting Glitter up to snuff - or, rather, up to my own very high standard - has been a process. For those of you who don’t know the aria, it is one of the more manic coloratura arias, building in frenzy and ending with a series of sustained high notes, climaxing at an e-flat. Now, I think you know how I feel about high notes that have “e” in the name... They have been my Great White Whale. I still don’t feel great about the e-natural, but I think I have tamed the e-flat! As long as I keep myself completely in the moment, singing and acting, I’m fine, but as soon as I step outside myself and start listening to the note, the tone quality changes. Less vibrant, less supported. Having B’s ears here has really helped, as I trust him to tell me the truth and to help me navigate through any issues. Each time I’ve sung the aria, I have felt more and more confident. I think it’s ready to go!

I was lucky enough to coach this with Erie Mills, who sang the role under Bernstein’s baton many times, and she had lots of helpful and encouraging things to share. The one I will be holding onto most strongly this weekend is this: let the orchestra convey the mania of the piece. They are going to be blasting at full steam, full of energy and excitement. All I have to do is ride the wave. If I can stay relatively calm, Cunegonde’s mania will definitely still come through in the brilliant mix of orchestration and singing. I don’t have to add any real hysteria to the mix!

Wish me luck, and pray that it doesn’t rain tomorrow!!

8 comments:

Patty said...

Most orchestra folk have played the overture to Candide since ... well ... some of us since high school. It's really a gas to play. Imagine my shock and great surprise when I heard "Glitter" for the first time!

"You mean ... she SINGS that?! Whoa!"

Have a grand time! I wish I could be there.

skolderup said...

Best wishes, Anne-Carolyn, on e-flats, staging and all of your cast. I know it will go splendidly!

SK in Atlanta

Coloraturaaah said...

toi toi toi! You shall indeed glitter I'm sure! Have fun!

Peggy said...

I don't know you, but I'm a fan through you blog (I do hope you keep writing it), and I was in the audience on Sunday evening. What a fabulous show. You were amazing! The bottom of your voice works, the middle is warm and luscious, and the top gave me goosebumps. Fantastic high E Flat. Did you hear how much the audience loved you? If the conductor hadn't started up the duet to shut us up, we'd have yelled and screamed for 5 minutes at least.
I'm in love with your tenor. Jason Alexander as Pangloss was a revelation - he is SO versatile. I know he has a stage background, but George in Seinfeld doesn't even come close to showing what he can do.
With all that, the highlight for me is in the finale when the orchestra drops out, and we're left with the sound of a wealth of great voices singing in 8 part harmony - the sheer beauty made me cry, and I start to cry just thinking about it.
You should be proud - of your own performance and of the entire production. A star is born, I think.

Gregory said...

LUCK! You better take the ruby necklace and spread some coloratura joy!

Downbeat said...

I saw you and the rest of the wonderful cast at Wolf Trap last night. It was really a fantastic show! Such a shame you all did all of that work for one performance... but it was definitely worth it.

Well done!

Jessica said...

ACB! at the last minute we decided to get tickets to your Candide last night. I was so excited to hear and watch you. The show was wonderful and you were fab!!! No one would have ever known you even had to think about those E-flats! Brava.

Peggy said...

You don't have to post this, but that Washington Post review today was such a cop-out. From where I sat, Row M over at the Stage Left side, the sound certainly was not tinny. And one CAN tell the quality of a voice when amplified. In fact, I think amplification magnifies vocal faults, and I heard NONE. The only thing you can't tell from amplfication is how the voice carries in a normal opera house setting. So, that's not what this was, so why review it that way. He blew off "coloratura fireworks" and "winning stage presence", like they were no big deal. Personally I think your Glitter was the best I've heard live, and is up there with Barbara Cook's that I've only heard on recording. I liked your performance better than Ms. Chenoweth's on TV, which had way too much mugging for my taste. At least you have a nice Wash Post quote for your press materials: "winning stage presence"

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