Tuesday, June 11, 2013

All Mixed Up :D

Performance Butterflies
I don’t even have to say that this was yet again a very stressful week. I had all my singing tests this past week and I’m happy to say I did well in all of them. First my Chamber Music one in which I sang Faure’s Cinq Melodies de Venice song Cycle, it’s quite lovely although there are some songs that my voice doesn’t shine as others, because it’s a mezzo cycle, but anyways, it’s gorgeous.  I actually started making my new Chamber Music repertoire with more sopranoish stuff, it only has two songs Shubert’s Die Männer sind méchant and Fauré’s Après Une Rêve.
Well a couple of hours after my Chamber Music test I had my singing test in which I sang both Cherubino’s arias (choice that was utterly inspired by Vesselina Kasarova’s concert). I was kind of pissed off in this one, because the pianist screwed it up BIG time, she probably played everything wrong. I started off with Non So Piu Cosa Son, Cosa Faccio and as she began to play it was so wrong I asked her to stop (there was an audience by the way, it was recitalish kind of test) and start over after giving her the right tempo. No use, she stumbled her way through the aria, made NONE of the dynamics plus continued playing while I was singing the cadenza. Yeah, it was awful, but I just continued to sing, my voice didn’t sound as good as I hoped.

I made this little fun montage with Renée Fleming as Ariadne (I know this is the Strauss one and I did the Monteverdi one), then a pretty picture of Venice to represent the Faure song cycle I did and finally the one and only Jdiddy as Cherubino at the Met

Then Saturday and Sunday I sang the Monteverdi repertoire for the Opera Studio subject, it was also a concert. It was rather fun, we sang the Ariadne Laments, I was singing the second soprano, which I hate because 1- it’s written in a tessitura that is in no way flattering to my voice  2- I DESTEST singing in thirds, especially if I sing the lowest part (I mean, I don’t mind doing a bit of Cosi and Nozze di Figaro thirds). But second act I was the only girl soloist, YAY, we did Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and I was Clorinda. I was very nervous, but I found my singing acceptable (I’m very strict with myself, acceptable is the highest praise I give myself). But I did get flowers and a standing ovation at the end and TOTALLY felt like Gheorghiu/Fleming hahaha
But I must confess that what I felt while I was singing, especially as Clorinda, was utter bliss. Of course there was that nervousness, but there were moments in which I forgot I was singing and I felt I was soaring, magical really. I was only able to ‘soar’ because I had rehearsed and studied that A LOT and felt protected and being taken care of by the conductor, orchestra and colleges. One of my bestest friends in college was playing the second violin and he said he got chills at certain parts when I sang, while he was playing, I think this was the best compliment I ever got.
And Dessay Dropped the Bomb
I think I’m going to babble about several things/news I heard this week then, I don’t have a particular topic in mind. First then, the freshest, Natalie Dessay is quitting opera. WHAT? Yeah, that was my reaction too, but most people weren’t particularly surprised. Maybe I’m slightly misinformed but I liked her Cleopatra so much at the Live in HD of the Met. Her technique might not have been the best in the world but so what? Her acting Marie was my favorite but I prefer Damrau singing wise. I just find it so odd to become “tired” of something that offers you so many possibilities of different roles as opera and different productions resulting in different interpretations of the same character. I mean, she’s 50, she’s technically still at her prime, I hear 50 year old singers like Krassimira Stoyanova rocking every kind of role you can imagine from 17 year old Tatyana to mesmerized Marguerite. But yes, she did have many vocal problems in the past and I hear that she does indeed smoke, which is never good in any level for anybody really.

But I just think it’s darn odd for her to give up on opera, not to be a mother or retire as is what singers usually do when they “give up”, to do live theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I love live theatre, I do live theatre, but I just find it odd. Because when I think of international star and theatre I think of Broadway and since the Tony’s were just the day before yesterday I couldn’t help but imagining Natalie Dessay there. It’s so weird! But as my twitter friends said, she’ll most probably do theatre in France in her mother tongue. Well, the best of luck to her, she will be missed that’s certain.  
Joyce DiDonato is Simply the Coolest person in the world

I just think this picture is simply awesome!

As many of you know Joyce launched Joyce and Me, the coolest project ever, a couple of weeks ago for fans to help her produce her 10th year anniversary double CD. This project is really quite marvelous, just last week she released the dreamy track list that had MANY of my suggested favorites in it. And now our new mission is to take cool creative pictures for her, at first I really didn’t have a clue of what to do and had kind of given up on the idea of sending anything really. But this morning it dawned on me and me and ma sister are taking the coolest picture ever! Since we haven’t taken the picture yet I’m going to keep the suspense up on the subject, but as soon as we send it I promise to post it here! I just really hope she likes it!
Joyce had quite a wonderful night on Sunday at La Scala singing her Venice themed repertoire and some good old Rossini. And something that I thought would never happen there did, a phone started ringing just as Joyce was reaching the top note for the ending of one of her Rossini arias. WOW, I mean, really WOW. The audience was quite revolted shouting stuff (as they customarily do in La Scala) but Joyce, refined and awesome as always, asked if it was Rossini who was calling to know if the aria went well. You can read more about it here ;)
Plus Joyce gave a brief but thought provoking interview to our friend Kevin, you can read it in his blog Non Piu Di Fiori(I love that name I wish I had thought of it first haha) So Joyce DiDonato, you win the trophy for most awesome and incredible person in the universe!
Master Classes from the Gods
And to wrap this crazy post I’m going to talk about some amazing Master Classes I’ve seen last week that have helped me so much in understanding this crazy thing that it is to sing.
I’m starting with the longest that is actually part of a series of Master Classes given by super professionals from all arts areas and the first episode was Placido Domingo Master Classes (what a way to start). This is truly a gift, four young singers win a competition and get to not only sing for Maestro Domingo, but have lunch with him, meet him during intermission of the opera he’s doing and GO TO HIS HOUSE. I mean WHAT? That is so cool, my favorite part of this is when they arrive in his house and there’s a huuuuuge wall filled with opera scores and their mouths are just hanging opened in awe. Mine was too by the way, it’s quite incredible.  

The next one is really only little snippets of 3 master classes given by the great Joan Sutherland, Ileana Cotrubas and Tom Crause. This is really inspiring and quite funny, it’s delicious to listen to the way they speak about the music, it’s so intimate to them already! Cotrubas is hilarious from her first “Are we singing Charlotte in pants?” to her last “Do you agree? You have to agree because I’m right!”. Also the way Crause describes the ball Don Giovanni throws at the end of the first act as an orgy and that he tells Leporello to pick up some hot chicks on the street is really amazing.

Going now to more current people I looove Renée Fleming’s Master Classes, because she’s a total nerd so she knows A LOT of stuff and I mean A LOT. And most importantly knows how to pass it on in an informative, clear and fun way. The two master classes that I like the most are first one she gave at Harvard for a girl who was singing the Fairy Godmother of Cendrillon. The girl was really good but Renée manages with her suggestions to decorate and make the girl’s performance even better, it’s quite inspiring to watch.

And also, a rather brief one that is also part of the Master Classes Series (just like Placido Domingo’s) that I couldn’t find on YouTube and am very upset because of that. But in this one she’s working with a mezzo who is singing the role of the page boy in Romeo et Juliette. Again she has exquisite good taste to give the finishing touches that make the difference. Just as if she’s decorating a wedding cake, you know? The cake is yummy already, but she is the one who makes the beautiful sugar flowers that make the people go wow, and she places them on the cake in a way that it looks perfect as if it was always there. You guys get the analogy, right?

And finally a snippet of a Master Class I should have watched before my Cheburino test. Susan Graham explains the character and really just shows the right intonation to every single word. Just brilliant stuff, Gosh I really wish I had seen it before my test! Although I did warm up with Vesselina Kasarova’s Master Class that started with Non So Piu also. I can't seem to put the link for the video here, so click here to watch Susan rock that Master Class :)

Well that’s it I guess, you guys have a wonderful week and peace always ;)


  1. Good to hear you did so well on the singing tests, Bela! (Never mind the accompanist's fiasco, I'm sure it was clear to the profs that she was off)

    Natalie Dessay... It seems opera wasn't her first career choice to begin with. I remember she said even in early interviews that she originally wanted to be a stage actress or a dancer, but her voice had another plan. So, perhaps this career change might really be a blessing for her. It's a big loss for opera, but I guess we were very lucky to have as much of her as we did. Hopefully she'll have a great second career in the straight theater. :o)

    And Joyce DiDonato! The gal puts a big smile on my face every time I think of her. What a splendid person and artist indeed!

    Thanks a bunch for all the cool masterclass clips, too! Dropping in on your blog is like a trip to the candy store for me, but even better since I won't get a toothache from the visit! ;o) Keep up the good work, matie!

  2. Thank you so much Smorg! And yeah, the teacher knows, I wasn't the only victim of the serial piano player killer hahaha

    But about Natalie, opera wasn't really her first choice, she wanted to be a ballerina but didn't have the body, then she wanted to be an actress and theeeen she started singing. But the problem for me isn't that she's given up, it's the way she's doing it. I don't know if you've read the things that she's said about opera over the past few days but it's really not nice at all. Amongst other things she's said she hates the coloratura voice and the way the business runs and the fact that some people don't act at all, it was really brutal you know? There's a saying here in Brasil that describes this perfectly "She's spiting on the plate from which she ate from" ya know?

    Joyce is awesome, we've sent the pictures and are super excited about the results. And these master classes are really something hun?

    Ahhh gee Smorg, thanks, thank God my blog is cavity free ;)

  3. So sad that Dessay is leaving opera! I heard her as Cleopatra too, and "se pieta" was utterly mesmerizing. (Very surprising that she smokes! I figured most opera singers would avoid cigarettes like the plague.)

    And I completely agree: Joyce DiDonato is 100% awesome. Like Smorg, I smile whenever I think of her.

    (I think wordpress may contrive to mess up this comment - if it comes up anonymous, this is earwormopera)