Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Join SNATS for our featured presenter this spring: Dr. Jeanie Darnell. Her session will be on the changing adolescent voice, which should be useful for many of you, especially those who plan to teach someday. She'll be here Thursday, March 24 at 3:30 in the Choral Room. Invite friends, too...this is open to all UAB students, faculty, and staff.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
At long last, I can sit down and write my thanks to you for two beautiful productions. A week has passed, though it feels more like a month, but the clarity that comes from the passing of time allows me to tell you just how much these shows meant this year.
Every year is special with you. Each production has its joys and its challenges. With "Pirates," we had the added benefit (or liability, depending on how you looked at it) of dance and refining comic timing. Some of you were in that show: how far we've come together! In "Flute," we had the daunting task of performing one of the most beloved and well-known operas of all time. With "Semele," the challenge was some difficult coloratura singing. We also updated what could have been a staid show, with delightful results.
Then there was this year. In the Purcell, many of you were charged with being three different characters in the space of fifty minutes. All of you were required to find a different way of moving and communicating. Baroque gesture was new and difficult, and we only scratched the surface. These are new and varied tools that each of you will carry into future work, whether it is another Baroque opera (and they are more commonly produced now than they have been in centuries) or your own recital work. As stock as some of the gestures felt, each of you now has an expanded physical understanding. Thank you all for your willingness to try something new!
The Britten was challenging beyond measure. There were times you wondered if you could do it. There were times I wondered if I was asking too much of you. But I kept pushing you because I knew you could succeed--that was the reason I chose the piece in the first place--and you rose to the occasion. On top of learning wildly difficult music, you continued to refine gesture beyond what you had done in the Purcell, and found that very little was needed to crown Britten's genius. Was it perfect? No, but that isn't even the point in the end. You grew musically in ways that may become fully apparent only as the years pass. It will probably reveal itself to be a time in your education that will mark a turning point for many of you.
I couldn't be prouder of all of you, or happier about your progress. Doing this double bill was an enormous achievement. You are building the opera program into one that you might not recognize when you visit ten years from now. That, my darlings, is what it's all about. Building something bigger than yourself, doing better than you can imagine, is why we create art. UAB opera students years from now will be standing on your shoulders, figuratively speaking. That is a great gift and a huge responsibility, and you bore it well. Be sure to thank Dr. Mosteller and Les for the extra time they gave to help you prepare. We couldn't have done it without them.
No class this week. Thursday at 3:30 will be Dr. Darnell's presentation on The Changing Adolescent Voice in the Choral Room. We'll watch the DVDs next week during Tuesday and Thursday class time, and yes: you may have copies this year! You may also have photo DVDs too. I'll let you know when they're available.
Just in case I don't say it enough, I love y'all MADLY. And I'm very proud of you.
Monday, March 14, 2011
This is from our beloved Les. It was directed to me, but his thanks really go to you too.
Thank you for "sharing" your students with me and allowing me the privilege and delight of being a part of this truly amazing production. It was an awesome rollercoaster ride from start to finish, but one I would not have missed. This experience goes right at the top of my list of favorites, along with Swan Lake in Raleigh and two productions of Balanchine's Nutcracker in San Antonio. What a kick!!
Thanks again for all you have done to keep my life as a musician invigorated, inspired and satisfied!!
With much admiration, respect and affection---
Darlings, you gave a wonderful performance Saturday night, and I couldn't be happier for you. I promise to write a longer love note when I have better access to a computer. In the meantime, I thought you'd appreciate reading what Jodi Haskins (violin and Music Appreciation prof) had to say via Facebook:
Absolutely fabulous performance tonight! I was with 18 students and my dad ( a Westminster grad, too) We took up the 3rd row! What at great place to sit! The singing was outstanding...the acting was outstanding..My dad mentioned how the movement can make or break a work and he commented how tonight was just perfectly done! We couldn't stop talking about how tremendously hard the Britten was but the cast just pulled it off like it was nothing! The men's voices were stunning! Very, very well done! During intermission, my students kept telling me how Dido's voice sounded just like the recording we have from class. She did a beautiful job on her lament and aria at the end! I was so glad my students got to hear it live! Well....I could go on and on! My dad and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening! That was certainly a huge undertaking and you need more then just next week off! Thank you so much for your hard work. Please tell the students they were FABULOUS!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Darlings, congratulations on your opening night. There was much to be proud of, and as always, there is room for it to be even better tonight. Review any musical or staging things that were ragged last night. Each of you knows what needs refreshing, and it's different for everyone.
Remember to bring your ERASED scores tonight. Our strike duties will include cleaning the dressing rooms, hanging and checking for all costume pieces, loading all props into the music van, and erasing orchestra scores. Take time to get out of costume, greet your adoring audience, then go back to clean up. If we're efficient, we should be out of there by 10:30. Tell your friends and family that you will not be able to go out and celebrate until after you are released: no one is an exception! We're a team and must all work together.
Enjoy this beautiful spring day and know that I'm very proud of you. All of you bring wonderful things to each production.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Folks, I thought you might appreciate reading what Jacob had to say after seeing last night's dress rehearsal:
I just wanted to share with you how awesome I thought the operas were. They were a treat aurally, visually, dramatically, thematically, and symbolically. Both were extremely well put-together!
It's so weird to view it as an outsider but I'm glad I got to! The members of the Britten cast have been talking about how weird theirs is, but it didn't come across as weird. The music was strange to perform I'm sure, but to me, an audience member not a part of the process at all, it made perfect sense. It created its own musical world that exactly fit the drama even down to a symbolic level. As strange as it feels for them, it feels that sensible (if not beautiful) to the audience! The Britten holds a very special place for me now...probably one of my favorite operas.
Thank you so much for preparing my friends to do such a great job and for exposing the audiences to such marvelous music on both sides. Anyone going to our opera is in for a treat this year. :)
Keep pushing us all!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Here we go! Final dress tonight begins at 6:30. Call is 5:30; be sure you sign in by then. Please come earlier if you need. Allow time for hair, makeup, warm up, etc. Group warm-up is at 6pm. All are required to attend. We'll start onstage and move into the scene shop to sing if we must. If you'd like an individual warm-up, I'll be available from 4:30-5:30.
PURCELL folks that are responsible for the walls: be here early enough to be able to take the time to take down the walls. When all nine of you are there, it takes only 5-10 minutes. We'll do it when all have arrived. Please do not give Olivia a hard time regarding this: it's part of your responsibility. The walls will need to go back up during our "intermission."
We have two real shows that YOU have built. Be proud and stay focused...and remember to WATCH THE CONDUCTOR. Other friendly reminders: no jewelry, toenail polish, or scented anything. Deodorant is highly encouraged.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Folks, call is at 6pm tonight (dinner on your own). No costumes, but plan to wear your shoes and headdresses. If you'd like to work in any other costume pieces due to length or other difficulties, please do so. The rehearsal will run much the same as Monday night: one run, which you're welcome to mark as needed, followed by a break (we'll really give you one this time, regardless of what happens with the orchestra), then another run through. Please sing more full-out the second time if you can. Thanks, and see you tonight!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A beautiful post from a wonderful blog. Ron is a dear friend from years past, doing great things in Berlin and elsewhere. Read and enjoy. Kashu-do (歌手道): The Way of the Singer: Kashu-do (歌手道): Of Confidence: A Fundamental Element of Success
Dinner for people involved in tonight's rehearsal will be served at 5pm in the Green Room: we'll have Taziki's in honor of Carthage! Remember that call is 5:30; that is when you are required to be signed in, getting into costume and makeup, warming up, and resolving any costume issues. Thanks!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Yes folks, we're in the final stretch. I'm very proud of you for the work you've been doing. Here's the schedule again:
Monday: BRITTEN only. 5 or 5:30 call: come as early as you need to be in costume and READY to GO for a 6:30 downbeat. I'll provide dinner.
Tuesday: PURCELL only. 5 or 5:30 call: come as early as you need to be in costume and READY to GO for a 6:30 downbeat. I'll provide dinner.
Wednesday: BRITTEN only. 6pm call, no costumes. 6:30 downbeat. Wear your shoes and headdresses.
Thursday: Both shows, Purcell first. 5 or 5:30 call: come as early as you need to be in costume and READY to GO for a 6:30 downbeat. This is our final dress rehearsal!
Friday and Saturday: 6pm call, 6:30 warmup, 7:30 show.
Be sure to sign in for each appearance. Do not be late or make Olivia find you!
Love y'all madly...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Folks, costumes will be ready by Friday. Come to Friday's rehearsal with hair and makeup done do I can see what it looks like onstage. Bring your shoes if you have them, and have the correct undergarments if Kristina has specified what you should wear. Thursday will be a regular rehearsal, no costumes, but you're welcome and encouraged to wear your shoes. Thanks!
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