Today was definitely a learning experience for all of us.
At the beginning of the day, I had a breathing lesson. She used all kinds of objects: weights, giant beach balls, the floor, the wall, etc. It was very interesting. I came in very skeptical (like pet psychic skeptical) but in the end, it was amazing how some of the things we did helped me tremendously.
My next stop was for staging. It was pretty straight forward. How do I walk in? Where do I go? What do I look at? What do I look like? What am I doing? What are my eyes doing? And I already asked Dusti's permission, but I get to kiss a girl's hand.
My last event was an Audition Recital with Louis Burkot of Opera North. This ended up being very interesting. I sang "Here I Stand" from The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky. It is an opera that I would be perfect in. Actually, everyone almost to a fault says that exact phrase. And actually, I am singing for the accompanist at Juilliard tomorrow just because it is his favorite piece of operatic music, just for fun; he doesn't get to play it much, and no one selects it among my songs, so we'll both enjoy performing that. I sang pretty well, very good compared to the beginning of the week, but Mr. Burkot wasn't shy about letting me know that he didn't care for my voice. He prefers the Corelli sound (it's the sound you make when you get punched in the gut, ok, I'm joking, but the technique is quite opposite to what I do). He also wanted me to sing it in a romantic style but this piece is neoclassical, very different from romantic. So, I am sure that he has probably produced this opera before, everyone has, but I completely disagree on the style. Anyway, it requires a light voice like mine, but he prefers the "pushers". They tend to have really pumped out high notes (which crowds like) but have very very short careers. I am from a different school of thought that loves the musicality and brilliance of the voice rather than force and weight. All of us who auditioned had similar "difficulties" with the situation, so I am not alone; but I am a very well educated musician and I expect that when I see a performance, that the singers exhibit the highest level of musicality that can be achieved from the style and structure of the music. I do not subscribe to the "showstopper" mentality, because we lose all the detailed artistry if we just power through things; it's a gimmick, that is, to just scream all the high notes for impressiveness sake. We are all about the fine details, but in the end it is all about someone's opinion, someone's business, and sometimes companies go after what sells instead of what should be done. That's all I'll go into that. I was very pleased with my performance, and so was the rest of the Institute, and they stood up for all of us, so I feel very happy about that.
On a side note, I just want to say that I officially feel "in the loop" because I received an email from Arthur Levy (the most acclaimed tenor teacher in the biz) in which he said that he is sending me another email about our lesson and repertoire, etc. But I thought that was kind of cool - an email anticipating another email, from such a revered musician.
Tomorrow's Schedule - Thursday 6/18
Meet Tiger Woods before he tees off down the street at the US Open - 8
Message back everyone who thought I was serious - 11
Coaching with Maestro Steve Crawford - Metropolitan Opera Conductor - 2:40
Coaching with Gerry Hecht - Juilliard Accompanist - 4:40
Maestro John DiConstanzo Master Class - 6:45-9:10