I had a coaching today with DN, who might become a regular set of initials here on the blog. He had so many good things to say, not the least of which helped me kick in my breath support.
We were going over Giannetta for tomorrow’s Elisir rehearsal (I’m double-booked all weekend AND called on Sunday! Woohoo, overtime!), and there are a few pages that are very wordy and fairly fast. Italian not being the language that trips most easily off my tongue, I kept getting stuck, tripping over the words, until DN came up with an analogy that just worked.
“The breath needs to kind of just flow out like vomit, and the consonants are like chunks in the vomit.”
Unbelievably disgusting, but surprisingly apt! And, unfortunately, this week I had some experience with the concept first hand. (Bad plantains? A bug from Sylvia? Who can say, but I was miserable on Tuesday.) So, I knew whereof he spoke, and I was quickly able to turn that analogy into some beautifully connected phrases with Italian words coming through clear as day.
Now, let’s think about this for a minute. Mimic a vomiting sound, complete with the hand-to-your-stomach motion. (I know, this has descended into seriously grody territory, but if you’re interested in the mechanics of singing, it’ll be insightful!) Did you feel the way your abdomen moved in and up, with a little flip? That’s exactly the way the diaphragm should move at the initiation of a phrase. And the consonants just kind of ride the wave. Not in the jaw, not in the tongue, but flowing out on the breath like so much vomit.
The analogy is so perfect! So gross! And so perfect!
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “vomit-breath…”