Monday, August 29, 2011

Conservatory Auditions

What a week it has been!  Thank you to everyone for your interest and support and well wishes!  For those who didn't see, you can read the big news by clicking here.  But, now it is on to more preparation and rehearsing.  I have been adding more to my schedule, which is very exciting.  I will be singing on some lunch time Bach cantatas, punned as "Bach's Lunch".  Oh, musicians...you make my sides hurt!

Also, on Saturday, I had the Conservatory Auditions for the upcoming opera season.  They are planning on La nozze di Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro) by Mozart, La Tragedie de Carmen by Brooks/Bizet, and a night celebrating the music of Carlisle Floyd directed by Metropolitan Opera conductor George Darden. I won't hear any results until later in the week, but weeks ago - since I'm primarily a Mozart-type tenor - I expected to compete well for the Figaro roles.  Well, it was later suggested to me that I should offer something higher and more lyric, obviously hinting that I shouldn't count out the role of Don Jose in Carmen.

So, I went out on a limb and prepared Questa o quella from Rigoletto, an aria that I have done many times - and for the record, do not enjoy it, but recognize that everyone else does (ugh!).  If they want to hear my high notes, they get most of what I have to offer in that aria.  My lesson and coaching times are at 10 am (which is preposterously early, I know) but it is nothing that Mr. Coffee and I can't tackle.  I say that because I have generally been preparing to sing that high aria early in the day, and I scheduled to have one of the last audition spots in the afternoon on Saturday.

On the audition day, I went to the Conservatory early, to practice some Bach stuff for another gig later in September.  By the time I was done practicing, my voice was in super high mode.  I waited for my audition, walked down the rows of the house and on to the stage after handing my music to my coach.  And boom, my voice was rocketing pretty high.  I am not sure if anyone noticed, but I sang the wrong verse.  I knew most people wouldn't realize it if I finished the verse with the correct high note.  Incidentally, I botched it exactly as Franco Corelli did in this recital.



I have always thought that Pavarotti sang this aria better than anyone that I have ever heard (and I have heard MANY).  The way that he approaches the very end is incredibly impressive - with easy and power (on an "ee" vowel no less).  It's stupid good!



Like I said, if you don't know the piece or paid enough attention, you wouldn't know that Pavarotti sang the correct verses and Corelli didn't.  But, when I sang, besides the switching of verses, it was probably one of the best times that I have performed it.  After I finished, the opera director said, "wow...well...I guess we'll hear your other piece as well".  And then I sang En fermant les yeux from Manon...messing up a few times on the diction. (thank you France for your simple language) And that was it, we then talked for a little bit about if I would be comfortable with the Flower Aria from Carmen, and I said that I would be fully confident in it.(secretly pretty excited because it is not too likely that a voice like mine would do Don Jose too often)  So, now we'll wait...  I have a callback audition tomorrow evening.  Here is a recording of the flower duet - in case you don't already know it.



As for my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Kauffman Center Grand Opening, I have found out more information about the event, like costuming and set design.  I am hesitant to put anything online about that yet, in case they want to keep that secret as well, but it will be very exciting (and sexy) indeed.  That's all I will say for that right now...(ha ha, now you're probably very curious).  The first rehearsal is tomorrow afternoon, so I am very excited for that!

Lastly, I am planning a recital - a date has yet to be determined - but it will be a memorial to my ancestry, the Volga Germans, who 70 years ago were expelled from Russia by Stalin beginning the Forgotten Genocide.  All were either displaced, deported, or purposefully starved - over 300,000 died initially in the genocide and untold numbers (millions perhaps) died in Siberian labor camps.  To learn more, visit http://expelledgermans.org/volgagermans.htm

To remember them, my ancestors, I will be performing music of the region, which was greatly diverse and unique in Western Civilization as it was a crossroads between the east and the west.  Most of it will be Western music influenced by Eastern sources.  I'll have music by Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Ravel, and a special collection, a world premiere, of Volga German folk songs in a more modern musical language, written especially for this recital by another musician with German ancestry.  As soon as I finalize the dates and whatnot, I will be publicizing this.  I hope some of you in the area will be able to come.

Check back daily for more updates...I have something special planned for later in the week!

SCHEDULE
(still working on this - there's a lot to keep track of!)

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