Sunday, March 12, 2006

Let routine dull the edge of mortality

Pulled out some really old sheet music a few minutes ago. Andrea wanted to listen to Bernstein "Make Our Garden Grow" and I sang along a little, because the tenor part grates my lowest note, and the soprano part is comfortabe for me, and the choral part probably contains some of the highest notes I can sing. Was then looking at things I sang for Schubert Club Competition years ago (when was that? 2000? 2001? Oh, 2002, according the postmark on the envelope) and let Chris and Andrea read my critiques from the judges. Most of their remarks were really good, but some were kind of useless criticism.

Nowhere near winning, but a personal accomplishment, no doubt. I sang Puccini "Si, mi chiamano Mimi" from La Bohéme and Heggie "Once Upon a Universe" which is a modern art song since the pieces had to be different periods and languages and styles or whatever. I remember one judge writing that I would be "a lovely Mimi" and that I had excellent pronounciation in a difficult singing language—English.

I started voice lessons when I was in college, with a private teacher, because I had listened to Rufus Wainwright's first album and then checked out some Maria Callas and was like, "yo, I can totally sing like that." I took, in total, four years of lessons with four different teachers—one in Nebraska for the eight months I lived there. Then I slacked for a couple years, and didn't feel the need to take lessons because soprano voices actually peak in the 40s or after, so what's my rush.

I am back in classical voice lessons as of four weeks ago for two reasons. One, I was asked to sing in my cousin Simon's wedding to his girlfriend Eve, who is also one of my good friends. So I need to get back in the groove, so to speak, and really get the voice in shape and ready to sing whatever they want me to sing in June. Two, voice lessons are therapy, in a sense. It's an emotional and physical release to sing. Singing passionate music is a vent for any pent up emotions. Powerhousing a high note is probably as physically satisfying for me as excercise. So for less than 1/3 of the cost of an actual therapy session, I feel mentally put back together after a lesson, plus it has the added bonus of improving my posture.

The only thing about taking lessons is that people I meet and tell about my singing tend to assume that I am either, a) a real opera singer or, b) want to become famous. Neither is true, and I tend to downplay it by saying, "Oh, I sing... a little." And then if people hear me sing, like really sing, not just singing Christmas carols or happy birthday or in church, they go "oh wow" because I guess I can sing more than a little, but I'm nowhere near the excellence of those I admire like Kathleen Battle, Renée Fleming and Kiri Te Kanawa.

1 comment:

Simon said...

This is so werid! I was reading Jess's blog this morning (Sunday, March 12) and decided to start my own blogspot account as well, since I'm sick of LiveJournal. I have it set up and was about to email Jess when I checked her blog again and found that you have also created a blogspot account. Whoa. That's awesome. I don't know how often I'll update mine, but here's hoping...