Last night at the Opera Workshop, I was one of two singers who performed for the audition class. We were instructed to treat this as a real audition, including dressing the part. Alas, I was 15 minutes late because I was delayed picking my new suit up from the Men's Wearhouse. (I'm going to have to take the pants back. The inseam is about half an inch too short and they cuffed the pant's bottom! I hate cuffed pant legs! It's bad enough that they don't sell flat-front suit pants, but cuffed legs?!?) And I had been congested all day, so I had sprayed Afrin up my nose, which cleared me up but dried my vocal cords out.
Despite all that, I sang alright, though. But more importantly, the coaching and feedback I received is invaluable. I had been inhibited about moving on stage while singing, but they freed me of those inhibitions, which is important for a comic opera character like Figaro. So my interpretation of "Non più andrai" is really starting to come alive.
So tonight, after I warmed up, I dove right into the "Non più andrai" and worked specifically on the staging, making sure I have deliberate movements and strike the right balance between not quite enough and too much. I came up with some really good blocking and gestures. Then I applied the same approach to my other aria, "Deh vieni alla finestra." The acting here will need more work: Don Giovanni is, at least as far as outward appearance and rank is concerned, a nobler character than Figaro, so his movement is more restrained and statelier. But I did come up with a few gestures that I feel really work, and I continued to work on facial expressions that play with the idea that I am trying to sing this sweetly seductive serenade but that my intentions are quite salacious. It's coming along, but still needs work.
Most importantly, my voice is finally starting to respond again, something it hasn't been doing all week, and I think the staging is helping to bring out a lot of my vocal palette. I tried to carry over this expressiveness to the four art songs I am working on for the audition. Art songs, though, require that most of the acting be done through facial expressions and vocal coloring; after all, art song is not opera. I had just finished running the first Don Quichotte song when Tubby came home from his date...with his date! Well, I wasn't about to stop practicing, seeing how I was tapping into a really good song vibe and my Cincinnati audition is just a few days away; but I couldn't very well stay in the living room to practice while Tubby tried to entertain his lady friend. So off I went into my cramped little bedroom to work on the other songs. I began to tire on the last two -- I only ran "Charlie Rutlage" once to keep it fresh -- which was understandable, given the amount and intensity of practice I put in tonight. Hopefully, this will all pay dividends come Wednesday!