Today Pollard wanted to hear "Honour and Arms" because it fit with some of the exercises we'd just done. My voice has really taken to this aria in a short time. Pollard even commented that, "It's taking your voice a third of the time to settle into a piece with good technique." On the long runs he asked me to create a smaller, rounder space which gave them a nice, light coloratura feel.
Last lesson Pollard had asked if I liked Händel, and my response wasn't too enthusiastic. "Do you like this aria any better now?" I explained that I like the aria just fine. I like many of Händel's arias, but in general I can only enjoy early music in small doses. Pollard mentioned that, "Unfortunately, there is a large oratorio culture here… Many of my students do two or three of these types of gigs a week. … We need to get you through Messiah, St. John's Passion, St. Matthew's Passion, Mozart's Requiem, and so on. … Much of this stuff won't really help you vocally, such as Mozart's Requiem. Well, you do a Requiem and that pays for a couple of lessons, so in that sense it'll help you vocally." "But am I really hirable right now?" "Certainly." Which begs the question: if I'm hirable right now, why am I not considered ready for grad school yet? (It also introduces additional expenses, for if I start doing paid work now I'm going to need to buy a tuxedo and a suit. Expenses, expenses… Anybody want to lend me a lot of money?)
He asked me to pick the next song, so I decided to brave "Aprite un po' quegl'occhi" from memory. I sang it pretty well, I must say. At times I got too frenetic. I tend to get too involved in the words or physical movement at the expense of my sound, and that happened a few times. But Pollard caught it and we corrected it.
Pollard asked how many operas I've been to in London. I don't know the answer off the top of my head. "Four this week," I answered, "maybe a dozen all told." Pollard was happy to hear that. He feels it's important to see opera as often as one can afford it as part of one's training. Apparently he has to harp on this with many of his students, especially the younger ones. I have to agree with him: one can learn a lot by watching and listening to others.
At the end of the lesson, Pollard told me this is the best he's heard me sing. Yay! I am really starting to like my prospects.