Tuesday, February 24, 2009


There are two different types of difficulties that go along with being an opera singer: the logistical difficulties (for example singing notes and rhythms - at the same time - in a foreign language, while standing on your head) and the emotional difficulties (why god whyeeeeeee didn't I get that job, or whyeeeeee did that person write that terrible review of me or whyeeeee do I have to spend so much time away from my loved ones?). Now, these challenges seem large, but they are far outweighed by the benefits, which Is why I keep on keeping on. But that doesn't mean I don't ever get to whine and complain a tiny bit, just for fun.

Tonight, let's talk about the logistical difficulties. Right now I'm studying a piece by Edgard Varese for singer and orchestra called Offrandes. I'm performing it at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra on March 22nd. It is two songs totaling about 8 minutes of music and it is HARD. The tessitura is kinda cray cray - I mean super high and super low at different times, and the music is not exactly tonal. Plus the orchestra is playing all kinds of stuff, but nothing that gives you a good sense of what beat you're on or even what tempo you're in, and they certainly aren't playing any of the notes that I'm singing. And after I've been practicing it for awhile, my throat sorta feels like hamburger meat from half singing half marking crazy high notes repeatedly. That being said, the piece is also REALLY cool because it transports you to an ethereal, impressionist, yummy french place. Plus, actually learning a challenging piece like that is a really satisfying feeling. But it ain't easy to float a high B flat out of nowhere, especially when the orchestra is playing a bunch of A naturals.

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