July 20, 2011
Somehow I had this delusion that the last week of LML would be a nice, relaxing week of sight-seeing, swimming, and performances…
HAHa yeah…THAT didn’t happen.
If anything, this week has been more packed than the last 4! Not that I’m complaining—I’m learning a lot and am so happy to be performing. It’s just not what I expected.
After the test on Friday things began to settle into a routine. Load the bus for Don Bucefalo, try not to hurl on the bus, become even further in Jeffery’s debt for seeking out the Italian equivalent of Ginger Ale for me, sweat off half my body weight on stage, then sleep all the way home. Thankfully, our third performance was in Novafeltria, and I was happy to not experience a performance with motion sickness. J
I do love the lifestyle, despite my weak stomach. I love seeing new places, figuring out what changes to staging need to be made for each venue, and singing in venues that have been performed in for centuries. It is an amazing feeling. Perhaps one day I will be doing it steadily. For now, I am cherishing what little time I have.
Tuesday came with more master classes, and I was excited to sing for one of them, performing my final piece, Quia Respexit from Bach’s Magnificat. Brian, the maestro, told me he thinks I have considerably more sound in me than I’m letting out, which I am slowly beginning to believe. The only issue is, how do I get it out without pushing (which is bad)? It all comes back to faith, I suppose.
I have always felt that music was my venue of prayer. Singing hymns has always made me feel closer to God than speaking prayers, and often I sing wordless prayers to comfort myself and others. However, the faith I am speaking of in regards to opera is a wholly different kind of prayer. It is a prayer of submission to the will of something higher than one’s self. You don’t make the sound go where it needs to go; you trust that it will get there. You don’t make your voice louder, softer, higher, lower; you let go of everything and free-fall into your sound, having faith that the voice will do what it is meant to do.
This kind of prayer, especially for a control freak like myself, is one of the most difficult kinds to make. It’s a good analogy to faith of any kind, I think, whether that faith is religious or not. Faith in itself is blind and takes the control out of the hands of the human. I would argue that faith is foreign to the human race that constantly wants to shape and control its surroundings. Much like a priest or deacon must lie in total surrender before the lord on their ordination, so must singers surrender their choke-hold on their voices in order to allow the natural sound to spring forth as it was intended.
The master classed showed me that I need to make that step, I need to give up everything in order to get where I need to be. Learning to sing this way will be a good exercise in trust for me—and perhaps will bring further healing to the wounds cut deep by the betrayals of my trust in the past.
Today, Wednesday, I slept through a master class (bad, bad, BAD Kiwi!), and am committing the day to figuring out how to strap down the ladies that my mother so generously bequeathed unto me. It’s very, VERY difficult to turn my figure into something that can pass as a man, but I am performing my first pants role on Friday and I want to do it right. Therefore, I am testing out different ways of masculinizing myself, from posture to walking to strapping down the girls. Ah the life of an opera singer.
So far, I think if I use a combination of ace bandages and tightened corsetry, the issues with the top half of me will be solved. Now I just need to work on erasing the decidedly feminine sway that so naturally comes to me when walking and somehow adopt a more Gene Kelly kind of gait. It will be easier than attempting to be something like “Ahnold,” but I still feel like I’m in the Birdcage, walking like an idiot in public.
It will come. I will likely not sing many pants rolls, being a high Sop, but the experience will be good either way.
Tonight the plan is to do some photography and then head up to Talamello again for some gift shopping and more pizza. I am home in 5 days, and am bringing cheese!!