(1) A couple of days ago, I received my evaluations from the Song & Aria competition. Although I didn't make the finals, the comments were encouraging to read. The areas where I was critized can mostly be attributed directly to lack of preparation, which I knew was an issue going in. The other comments … not so bad.
One judge wrote: "Beautiful voice. Free the breath — you have a lot more voice in there. The sound is too throaty & dark/back at times and it compromises the vowel clarity. Good consonants. Thank you. Great voice. Interpretation can be stiff at times. Practice speaking the text as an actor to find more information for when you sing. Nice energy. Practice in front of a mirror. Connect more to accompaniment so that the whole performance becomes more organic."
The other judge wrote: "You have a wonderfully vibrant voice. Keep working to feel more release in your body & breath. Let the breath move into your resonators, let it lead. You can feel more release 'Die Rose[, die Lilie, die Taube,' from Schumann's Dichterliebe] — the moving tempo helps. In singing sustained — aim for the same sense of flexibility — try using pants, staccatos. Keep looking for more spaces to resonate. Have your intakes of air prepare the height & space — particularly into the head. You have a wonderfully expressive face — and stunningly entrancing eyes. Watch the tendency for tension to creep into your arms. Keep the body flexible. Use the legs more. Wonderful intensity in your performance. [I think this comes from singing love songs when I'm in love!] Keep looking for more variety of gestures. Look to keep the gestures character specific. Great Performance!"
(To clarify, the comments in brackets were mine.)
(2) While practicing yesterday, I vocalized up to a B-natural. That's half a step down from high C, folks! Maybe all these predictions that I'm maturing into a dramatic tenor or heldentenor aren't so far off. It looks like maybe the Siegfrieds, Parsifals, and Otellos (i.e., a lot of Wagner and Verdi) are in my future. I'd miss out on a lot of juicy baritone roles, but my earning potential would be higher. This is the path that Plácido Domingo took, developing from a high baritone to a heavy tenor — not that I have anywhere near the calibre of voice of a Domingo, but I find it interesting that he is the one opera singer I idolized growing up.
(3) And, of course, I heard back from David Pollard, who confirms that he is still happy to teach me and is looking forward to my arrival in London.
It's nice to have something I can still get excited about.