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Opera Workshop

I want to thank all of you who came out to watch my opera workshop performances this week. I had 10 "fans" in attendance on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday (and 1 at the dress rehearsal on Monday). We singers thrive on the feedback and support we get from our audiences, so it meant a lot to me to see so many of you out there. I hope you enjoyed the performances!

Monday's dress rehearsal went very well. It was a bit long, though, as we practiced all the scene changes, spiked the larger pieces of furniture, and ran all the double-cast scenes twice. I felt bad about the length because I had a guest in the audience, but she seemed to enjoy herself nonetheless.

Tuesday came, and I felt calm and confident. I would add "relaxed," but I developed a knot in my right shoulder that still hurts quite a bit. Fortunately, it did not affect my singing.

I had to acquire a few items before the performance. The bandage I wore on my wounded leg on Monday wasn't adequate. It was too small and didn't look very real. So I had to provide an alternative. I also didn't have any make-up, and there was no communal stash to steal from.

The make-up situation was a tad embarrassing to resolve. I had never bought make-up before and had no clue what to look for. I had to ask the help of several clerks at Walgreens before we finally settled on Neutrogena "Warm Beige" liquid base. (I also bought a translucent powder and a dark eyeliner, but I didn't need help with that.)

For the bandage, I cut a wide strip out of one of my old t-shirts. I was able to wrap it around my thigh twice with a bit left over, which made for far more effective bandaging than the little strip I had used the night before.

Applying the bandage was an adventure in itself. The short-order cook at work gave me a plastic cup (the type that duck sauce with Chinese take-out comes in) filled with ketchup. I decided it would be best to apply the ketchup to the inside of the bandage before applying it to my leg, so it would look more as if blood had seeped through than as if I had smeared something on the outside. In the process, though, I managed to splatter ketchup on the rest of my costume...minutes before we started! I managed to get it all wiped off just in time. But, boy, did I stink!

I thought I performed well for the most part. My voice was in decent shape. I had far better breath control than I had had in weeks, no doubt in part due to the extensive stretching I did while warming up. My acting was good.

But I forgot the words to a critical line in the scene from The Consul, and I did a poor job of covering. I was supposed to sing, "This is my only chance, to go before the hunter's net is laid, to hide my path and keep the goal unknown until the work is done," with "done" on a sustained high F. Instead, I muttered some incoherent babble and then made a last-ditch attempt to throw out something on a high-note as I stormed off stage. Fortunately, I was supposed to act agitated in that scene, so I suppose I inadvertently stayed in character. I made one other pretty bad mistake later in the scene, but at least that one I covered well. Good thing, too, because I was embracing the soprano at that moment and she gave me a priceless, "Oh no, don't you dare, not here, not again," look just as I stumbled and corrected.

The Don Giovanni went much better. I am a much better comic actor than dramatic actor, and the Mozart is far more comfortable for me to sing than the Menotti. The Italian was rolling off my tongue like my native language, and the interplay between me and Leporello was fantastic. I really wish somebody had video recorded this so I could see it.

Wednesday night I only sang the Don Giovanni scene -- no chance for redemption on The Consul. Again, I thought I performed well. I was more on top of my game in this scene the previous night -- I started getting self-conscious about possibly making a mistake instead of just singing -- but I think it still came across nicely.

I thought the other scenes were performed really well on both nights. The other baritone who sings my part in The Consul did a fantastic job on Wednesday, as did Michelle, the soprano who sang in The Consul with me and rescued the show by learning the Don Giovanni music in one week and also singing an aria from Carlisle Floyd's Susanna (to replace the Rosenkavalier scene) when it was discovered one of the cast members couldn't make it on Wednesday.

I am going to audition (mostly a formality) and give serious thought to participating in the Summer Opera Workshop. I think my voice has benefitted tremendously from the amount of work I've put in over the past few months due to the competition, the audition, and the workshop, and I want more of that. The summer program will be an intensive three-week workshop culminating in performances on June 23 and 24. The only thing keeping me from doing it for sure is money: I'm not sure I can afford to take the course without some sort of outside funding, especially if I have to keep a reserve for a possible emergency trip to Panamá. I'll know by next week whether I'll be doing it, though.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2004 02:40 pm (UTC)
I am convinced that your biggest problem in life is that you identify too much with Don Giovanni. No wonder - you were great in that scene. That Mozart sure was a sadist, making his players do such silly things!

I wondered about Michelle filling in for so many things - I figured she was just the most advanced singer there, who already knew all the parts. The Susanna was, I figured, just a piece that she had in her personal repertoire. She did it very well.

May. 21st, 2004 08:15 am (UTC)
It was great to hear you sing and your scene from Don Giovanni was my favorite part of the whole performance.

This was actually my first opera performance of any kind and I'd now consider attending an entire opera, which I probably wouldn't have before.
May. 21st, 2004 08:28 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! :)
May. 21st, 2004 08:41 am (UTC)
Glad it went off reasonably well, despite the condiment adventures.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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