Thursday, September 30, 2010

From Florentine Opera

The following was posted by William Florescu, director of Milwaukee's Florentine Opera. I thought it said it all (at least, what I find myself saying all time):
We have just started rehearsals for the company's first world premiere, Don Davis' Rio de Sangre. What I was struck by, at the first day of music rehearsal, is how prepared all of the artists (including our Studio Artists) were for this tough, but rewarding, score.
It is an obvious reminder, of course, but when you have a successful audition, two very important steps that need to be followed once you get the job are:
1. Be prepared when rehearsals commence
2. Be a great colleague
Follow these two obvious, but all too often not followed, rules, and you will find yourself not having to worry about auditioning for that particular company again - believe me - they will want you back!!

SNACKS FROM SNATS

Come enjoy some delicious baked goods and support UAB singers! Bake sale today in between Art and Hulsey. Indulge and know it's all for a good cause.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Official

Opera 2011: a one-act double bill of
Purcell’s DIDO AND AENEAS
&
Britten’s THE BURNING FIERY FURNACE
Auditions October 19 in HRH, 6-10pm
Sing one piece in English and bring a copy for Ms. Reynolds, who will play for us. No unaccompanied auditions!
DIDO AND AENEAS
Dido and Aeneas, based on books of Virgil's Aeneid, is set in Carthage at the court of Queen Dido. Her courtiers and sister, Belinda, persuade her to admit her love for Aeneas, a Trojan prince who has stopped in Carthage on his travels and is dallying with her. Witches plot the downfall of Dido and her city, and arrange to raise a storm so that the two lovers, who are out hunting, will be forced to seek shelter in a cave. There one of the witches, disguised as Mercury, the messenger god,will remind Aeneas of his duty to resume his voyage to Italy. He is persuaded to leave and makes preparations. He tries to explain his destiny to Dido, but she brushes his explanations aside and makes ready for her death.
ROLES
Dido, Queen of Carthage: high mezzo-soprano or soprano
Belinda, Dido's sister and handmaid: light soprano
Second Woman, Another Handmaiden: mezzo-soprano or soprano
Aeneas, Trojan Prince: tenor or baritone
Sorceress/Sorcerer: mezzo-soprano, contralto, countertenor or bass
First Witch/Enchantress: mezzo-soprano
Second Witch/Enchantress: mezzo-soprano
Spirit, in form of Mercury: soprano or countertenor
THE BURNING FIERY FURNACE
The Burning Fiery Furnace tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar and the three Israelites, Ananias, Misael and Asarias (corresponding Babylonian names; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), who were thrown into a furnace for their refusal to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold. However, God saves them from death, as the voice of an angel joins the Israelites in a "Benedicte."
ROLES
Nebuchadnezzar: tenor
Astrologer: baritone
Ananias (Shadrack): baritone
Misael (Meshach): tenor
Azarias (Abednego): baritone
Herald and Leader of the Courtiers
Chorus of Courtiers and Attendants

Monday, September 27, 2010

Snacks from SNATS

SNATS bake sale is all day Thursday. Hilary has our sign up times. Nora or Joan will have the key to room 221 with the table we'll need for set-up. Thanks for your help, and happy baking!

Voice Juries Date Announced

FYI: Voice Juries for fall semester will take place on December 10.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Business of Singing

Opera Workshop meets with Dr. Paul Houghtaling ("Pro-Ho") this Thursday during class time. Be there: attendance is required. He'll discuss resumes, head shots, and how to market yourself. He's a wonderfully energetic and entertaining speaker: enjoy!

SNATS on Monday

Thanks for your enthusiasm and beautiful singing for Ms. Hopkins yesterday! Great work, everyone. We'll meet next Monday, 9/27 at 3pm in the choir room to discuss further fundraising, as we came up short to pay for her visit. We'll also make plans for future activities.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Janet Hopkins Guest Master Class on Tuesday

Guest master class with Janet Hopkins is this coming Tuesday during opera class (3:30-5:15 in the recital hall). Everyone in opera workshop is required to attend; everyone studying voice who does not have another class is also required to attend. Singers for Tuesday are: Brian Denton, Tyler Henderson, Mark Kunkel, Jacob Wooten, and Jessica Johnson. There are still slots available for private lessons with her: the sign-up sheet is on my door. Her fee is $50 per hour (payable directly to her at the time of the lesson; no accompanist needed). If you are interested and able, do take advantage of this great opportunity! Read her latest news release here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Performance Class and Jury Schedule

Performance Class Schedule (Fridays, 12:00 noon)
October 1 Separate studio performance classes. HC 308
October 8 VOICE STUDIO RECITAL REHEARSAL, 12-3 HRH
October 15 FALL BREAK – NO Class
October 22 Separate studio performance classes in HRH
October 29 All students meet together. HRH
November 5 Separate studio performance classes. HC 308
November 12 Separate studio performance classes. HRH.
November 19 All students meet together. HRH
November 26 THANKSGIVING BREAK – NO Class: ALL repertoire memorized by now!
December 3 Separate studio performance classes. HC 308 (LAST class before juries)
December 10 JURIES in HRH

Nancy's musings about singing

Nancy's voice journal is always so interesting to me, I asked if I could post her musings on technique. Enjoy, and feel free to comment.
More thoughts on “fingering”-- There is “proper” fingering for each instrument TYPE-i.e.-scales on a piano. We learn these patterns by practicing over and over. Then there is an adjustment since all specific instruments are not alike. Then ANOTHER since all musicians are different. There are short cuts, workarounds, yes, but in the end, there is a best way (generally speaking) for each artist to place his notes IN his instrument, especially if the instrument is his/her body.
I think that one of the biggest things I can do to Get Out of My Way right now is to redefine what is GOOD. There is fear of not being perfect, which creates tension. Accepting what IS, and what is GOOD (i.e. good ENOUGH), will probably free me to be better than I think I can even be. It was odd, realizing that I was losing the phrase-my FAVORITE thing -because I was too worried about not hitting a higher note the way I wanted to-perfectly.For me-the Phrase is IT-the true beauty and meaning of the composer.
Reminder, another one, to be unafraid to show your heart when we perform. We should still know that SOMETHING is going on in the pieces, whether we have the translations or not. Learn your body as part of the instrument that is YOU. Tension has no place from the neck down, either...
I’m ALWAYS amazed, in a good way, at the amount of meaning that is ABLE to flow from an artist once the material is memorized, hence internalized. It’s not even a planned thing--artistry isn’t always-usually isn’t- a tangible thing. It’s magic. It’s the biggest reason that not all musicians can be called Artists, I think.It’s what separates the ones who can duplicate/repeat music from those who can create something unique.The “It” factor...

A great journal entry!

The Google shared document seems to be working overall for your journals. Some of you have asked what a "good" journal entry looks like. It's different for everyone, since each of you have different assignments. All of you, though, should be journaling on what you hear/see in your lessons, what you experience in your practice sessions, and what you think (and learn from!) the YouTube clips you post. Here's a great example from Madi: It’s always interesting to hear my high notes during warm ups. They don’t feel hard to do at all, but they just seem so high. It’s strange when singing pieces something lower than that feels high, even though it’s obviously not the highest I can sing. I think maybe the technique for singing those high notes gets lost in translation, so to speak, from warm ups to being put into context. Not that I’m currently singing anything that currently calls for it. Just kinda thinking through my fingers (since I’m typing rather than speaking...)? As for the actual music, the first time through, my voice sounds a little stilted. Almost like I’m trying too much to achieve something, whether it be stay on full voice or making sure I’m getting the notes correctly. It just seems like I’m lacking a certain fluidity and legato. It almost sounds too... contrived, maybe? Like I’m lacking a freedom and flexibility.On the other hand, I can understand the text I’m singing a lot better this week. Practice these two weeks has gone rather well. I’ve worked on the text, making sure to grab those double consonants, and keeping my voice vibrant through the repeated notes. Also, working, Quia Respexit, I’ve been working the whole versus half steps that trip me up on the descending lines, which is basically every line. I look forward to beginning to work on this piece; it’s just so gorgeous. The only other part that’s still giving me problems is the last melisma on “beatam” but I think given a couple more times practice on it will get it pretty solid.
YouTube - Vedrai, carino Cecilia Bartoli - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZM1WEm9nKw - She sings the aria with such tenderness and expression, but there’s no video to see any action, to see how she would perform the part. The tenderness of her voice doesn’t seem to portray much of an earthy quality, but indeed she does express a sensuality at 1’58 to the end, but especially at the “qua, qua”s at 2’45.
Anna Netrebko - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZM1WEm9nKw - This recording pops quite a bit, but her voice has a heavier quality than Cecilia Bartoli’s and offers a different approach to the portrayal of Zerlina because of it. I’m not sure exactly how to phrase what I mean by that, but hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say. Also, this was a live recording, but again, there wasn’t any video of the actual opera.
Dawn Upshaw - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQUXExa3uEE&feature=related - An actual recording from the Met. The way Dawn Upshaw performs Zerlina is simply captivating. She holds her Masetto in her lap and comforts him, and he really seems to be enjoying his position, with a smile on his face. While he may have had the crap beaten out of him, he seems to have forgotten about it now that Zerlina has shown up. It’s so personal the way Zerlina sings to Masetto, holds him, and comforts him. I think the love Zerlina has for him really shows through in this recording. It’s nice to be able to see it performed.
Karen Burlingame - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L65t87RxYBw&feature=related - This one’s in English, and after hearing the Italian so often, the English version seems a little awkward. However, it was interesting to see a different version. This one also had the dialogue between Zerlina and Masetto beforehand.
Miah Persson - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bI1SyjzqxE&feature=related - This was the most sensual of the ones with video. But it also showed Masetto getting beaten by Don Giovanni. She opened her mouth a lot taller than others I’ve watched, but it seemed to work for her.
Be as thorough as Madi was, and you'll be in great shape!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SNATS AVON SALE ENDS MONDAY

Folks, Miss Nora needs your orders Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Sell like crazy this weekend, and bring your stuff to her by the end of Tuesday. Thanks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

SNATS meeting Monday at 3pm

TODAY (Friday) is the last day of our Avon SNATS sale...bring your stuff to Miss Nora. We'll meet at our regular time, Monday at 3 in the choral room, and continue with Italian diction. If you have a piece you're working on and want to bring it for all of us to work on, post here by Monday morning and I'll make copies. See you then!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Business of Singing

It's official: Dr. Paul Houghtaling from UA-Tuscaloosa will join us for a "Business of Singing" class on Thursday, September 23 during opera workshop. Everyone in class is required to attend! It will be fun and informative. Have a great Labor Day!

Jury sheets available

Hi folks, I have your jury sheets, and am happy to go over them with you. Though many of you may already be gone, I am here for the next t...