As I've stated in previous posts, when I have too much free time, I can get a little cray-cray. In fact, a good friend of mine pointed out that my need to PLAN PLAN PLAN things when I don't have enough other stuff to occupy my brain is actually something of a menace to society at large, and the only job suitable to me during these periods is dictator of North Korea. So I figured it was about time I started doing something productive and musical. The only thing is I'm kind of a last minute music learner - that is, I rarely feel motivated to learn music unless there is some time pressure to get my brain interested. And since my next opera is Barber of Seville, I realized I'd have to buck my usual trend and do some actual ahead of time music learning!
In the last couple of days I pulled out some music I have to learn for upcoming projects and realized that the two pieces I was looking at were almost hilariously diametrically opposed to one another. The first is the incredibly serious, depressing, and moving Kindertotenlieder of Mahler, which I will sing with an orchestra in Austria this fall. Just reading the poems about the death of the narrator's children makes me want to close the score up and curl up in the fetal position and cry. But the other role I have to learn is Veruca Salt in The Golden Ticket, the new "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" Opera which will have it's world premiere in St Louis this summer. The opera is about children so horrible that we as an audience are happy when they self destruct and disappear one by one. My character in particular is so repugnant that when she falls down a deadly chute reserved for "bad nuts" I'm pretty sure the audience is going to applaud.
I've been sitting here trying to find lessons one piece can teach me about the other, but you know what, that would really be stretching things. I'm not gonna get all high fallutin' on you all and suggest that the gravity of the Mahler will inform my deep and insightful performance of Veruca Salt. Nope. I'm gonna relish playing that bratty, entitled kid, and I'll clap right along with the audience when I jump in the bad nut chute to my squirrely death. Then I'll go to my dressing room and soberly study kindertotenlieder. Or maybe play poker backstage. We'll see.