Sometimes we feel like we’re going in circles with this training. Almost always doing very similar exercises every single day and sometimes we just throw our hands to the sky and ask: WHY? Why do I have to study SO much every single day? Well, of course we know the answer, it almost comes out automatically for us opera students. We have to study a lot everyday because of the muscle memory, to strengthen our instrument because it’s not something you can learn overnight.
But one thing is to just know that and always keep in on the back of your mind for that eventual nudge whenever you are feeling blue. Another thing is to actually experience some result of all that work.
Let me start from the beginning, shall we? As you guys remember I made a very special trip all the way to the United States to audition of the Hartt School in Connecticut for a Master program in singing. I went there, I sang and a month later I received the sad news that I hadn’t been accepted. That hit me pretty darn hard. I’m a particularly dramatic person I must confess that I involuntarily I put myself in situations that if I don’t get what I was aiming to get I feel like it's the end of the world. That’s mostly because Hartt was the only school that I auditioned for and not getting in meant having to spend another year in Brazil. And don’t get me wrong I love my country but we do have absolutely rotten politics that make the career of classical musicians very difficult and most of the time nonexistent here.
So in order to continue my education I need to move to another country. And I must confess that I never felt like I belonged here in this country anyway, ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to live elsewhere. So going back to the story, after I found out I had been rejected I was pretty much devastated. For about 2 weeks I didn’t tell a soul (only my sister and my teacher actually) because I didn’t really want to accept that I wasn’t going to school this coming September. But something quite unexpected helped me out of my blueness, a very misunderstood lady named Regina.
Although she’s about 10 years older than me we are very similar, both overly dramatic women in search of something that we really don't know what it is exactly but it's quite difficult and scary to get. I guess one of the things I mostly have in common with her is the fact that I’m scared to DEATH to take a leap of faith, to take a chance because it can bring me immense joy but it can also break my heart.
But ever since March, when she came back, I’m finding her choices and her posture quite inspiring. She had been travelling the path of becoming less self obsessed and more caring of others and that made me pause to look around. I looked around and I saw my mother overloaded with work and stressed, my sister trying to juggle college and her job and my dad having all the house responsibilities to himself. And there I was complaining and doing compulsive shopping. I then decided to change and to help all of them, I took responsibility for all of the food related things in my house and I also started running arrons for my mother and sister (one that involved buying fabric that imitated rabbit fur, sister is a cosplayer, what can I say?). That already made me feel a lot better. And since I run these arrons in my bike I’ve also lost about 7 kgs!
And it is at these moments when you are living one day at a time that extraordinary things happen. One day I was watching the extras of one of my Once Upon a Time DVDs and as they were talking about sets and locations they mentioned a place that made everything click. Canada. And then a huge flash back hit me and I remembered an email a student exchange program lady had sent me about a music program in Canada. I went back to my inbox to check it out, two years fulltime intensive program at the Vancouver Community College. I didn’t think twice, I called the lady (very, very nice lady named Claudia) and started my application. All the deadlines for applying for September had already been reached but she managed to squeeze me in.
Luckily for me I had my entire paper work ready because of the other college applications. But there was one thing they asked that I did not have, a video of me singing. Sure I have some great audios but no videos and the school told me to send them a DVD of me doing everything I could do music wise by this Friday, I mean it had to arrive in Canada this very Friday. That was this last Monday evening, Claudia told me that I had to bring her the DVD by Tuesday at midday so they could send it. After talking to her I called my piano teacher and arranged for her to play for me the next day then called my best friend so he could film it for me. It took me three hours to sleep that day.
Woke up the next day got all pretty and out of the house I went to actually buy DVDs because I didn’t have any. Back to my house I recorded my audios on a DVD just in case I was too late with the videos. I grabbed my bike around 10 and flew to the Student Exchange office to give them the final paper work and the DVD. Then I biked my way to my teacher’s house and me and my friend were punctually there at 11.
I recorded in record time. I vocalized and recorded 5 songs in 35 minutes. How the hell did I do that? Well, I gotta blame it on the work I did all those countless afternoons at college, vocalizing and singing and studying until that insufferable man would kick me out of the classroom. I was very flabbergasted I must confess, I would sing the songs without a trace of a doubt as if I was just speaking. Plus they came out so well even though I hadn’t studied and vocalized properly for a little bit more than a month. The muscles and my body and my breathing just knew what to do in every different situation and it just felt marvelous!
So I guess all that hard work did pay off after all. I recorded the DVD and took it to the agency just in time for them to send it up to Canada. Now all I have to do is wait.
I don’t want to rave too such about this because past experiences have shown me that hoping for something to much can totally crush you if you don’t get it. But at the end of the day all this was a very positive experience. Because I was finally able to do something quite wonderful, which was to love opera and love to sing but it is not who I am and if someday I don’t feel that spark anymore I can just walk away without regret. That is something Joyce said in one of her many wonderful videos but I never understood. For me back then opera was all I needed and all that could make me happy. But once you have it taken away from you you can either crumble or look at the world as a white canvas and think, “I can do anything I want”. And let me tell you something, that sensation I pretty fantastic! Because before all this I was quite focused (to not say obsessed) in opera and my career and training and studying. Which is all so great, but now I look back and see that I made some personal sacrifices because of that that I truly regret. Yes, I’m talking about not taking a romantic chance with someone at college because I thought he would distract me from my studies and ruin my career. So I really do feel I did need that big bucket of ice water that is a college rejection letter to just stop and look around me.
I know that speaking like this I sound as if I’m giving up, but I’m really not. I’m still studying but also doing so many other things! I started taking better care of myself, taking the time to choose clothes that flattered my body, exercising, going out with my friends and actually finding other interests I might have. I quite recently found that I’m pretty good at making headbands and stuff for you to wear in your hair, I’ve been having quite a lot of fun braiding ribbons and chains and whatever I could find together to make the cutest hair wear pieces.
So never fret, I’ve never been happier! This was just a little something I wanted to get off my chest. I just would like to leave a very big thank you to Lana, without her incredible artistry I would still be down in the dumps. You rock, I'm proud to be one of your Regals! Cheers everyone!