I've been talking with Leslie on Ellie's suggestion, because Leslie has some very good ideas as to what I should be doing as a next step to get my career going. We talked about a number of things, and I gave her a full report of my coaching session with Carole (which, incidentally, will be repeated tomorrow night). As well, I grilled Leslie about Carole. Leslie has recently taken a class with Carole and has observed her working with other students. She would know whether Carole is someone whose opinions regarding vocal matters I could trust.
Leslie completely agrees with the concepts that Carole teaches, which are basically: preventing the larynx from rising, keeping the pharynx open, placing the tone in the mask, etc. These are basic vocal concepts. Leslie thinks Carole exaggerates a bit with her insistence on opening the mouth as large as she does but thinks that is a reflection of the different language she speaks. She also feels that Carole's lack of nuance with English (hers is not idiomatic) also leads to a little lack of clarity in the concepts she is trying to convey, which are not radical concepts. For instance, Leslie doesn't think, as Carole expressed, that I have "no technique." How could I have been selected to coach with José Van Dam or have placed third in the NATS competition if I had no technique. Leslie thinks that what Carole was trying to convey was that my technique is insufficient for handling such a large instrument or for meeting the demands of the professional opera singer, which is very true.
I mentioned to Leslie that Carole wants me to work with David Pollard in London and that she is eager to arrange an introduction. Leslie thinks I should jump at the opportunity. She went so far as to say, "This is a break." She pointed out that if I don't go to London to check Pollard out, I may be asking myself "what if" for the rest of my life, and that the only thing I have to lose is several hundred dollars. She also pointed out, "You can do worse than study with Bryn Terfel's voice teacher."
So, I feel I owe it to myself to go and find out. And it just feels right. I do a lot of rationalizing and analyzing, but big decisions always come down to my gut instinct. I've thought it out, done the rationalizing, and the only fault I can find with going to London is the expense. And my gut instinct is screaming at me that this is the right thing to do.
I just need to pull together the finances. My dad is unable to help me out because of health issues and debt. I am going to ask my mom and my aunt if they can help me out, but they could probably only help a little as they have both recently had major expenses and debt. I will also, as much as I hate accumulating more credit card debt, apply for a new card so that I can use that as an option. When I mentioned this whole story to JC yesterday during the drive back from NYC, he said he would go to London with me; that would cut my hotel bill in half. (I don't think staying in a private home would be an option, because I'm sure I would be constantly vocalizing while I'm there, and I wouldn't want to inflict that on my hosts.) I'll try harder to sell some molas and land a new web design client, to make a little extra money. I just need to make this happen.
 Bryn Terfel, for you who aren't opera aficionados, is one of the world's top operatic bass-baritones.