A young(ish) opera singer's random thoughts and observations.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Trees and death!

Day 10 - Wednesday

Morning: movement, but this time a very crowded tutti session that was also filmed for promotional purposes. Then, unsurprisingly Lillian Alling chorus music (but rest assured, we are getting better with every session).

Afternoon: acting with Mark, we now get to work on the entire short play that we had isolated a scene from in the last sessions. We split into pairs and work out objectives, shifts, verbs/actions, etc. Then to wrap up we all have a chat about how this technique can be applied to singing, for example in an aria or lied to give it direction and focus. This prompts the best definition of German lied I've ever heard: 'Well, it goes like this: there's a tree, there's another tree, and there's death!'

After that we have a tutti session with Kathryn LaBouff, English diction coach in Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Metropolitan Opera to name but a few. The session highlights issues we often encounter as an audience: it's in a language we know, and yet we're still glued to the surtitles. Kathryn has some very good tips on how to improve diction without impeding the singing, and it was interesting to see how differently she approaches it from 'normal' vocal coaches, being a specialist in what I would call 'extreme applied linguistics'. I sing Money, O! and also get to hear an aria from Dr Atomic that I wouldn't mind having a look at for myself at some point.

English diction with Kathryn LaBouff

Evening: more LA (of course!) and then on to have our first staging rehearsal of the Cosi chorus. We find out what characters we will get to play (and as those characters we will also help out with set changes): I'm a priest (the first scene of Act 1 takes place in a church, where the 3 men are having their arguments and getting evil looks from parishioners and being shushed by an old woman - Keith in drag!), a butler, and a soldier.

The 12-hour days and chorus work are getting to me, I feel tired, and I've lost a bit off the top of my voice (not an issue in what we're singing, but a worrying symptom, I need to take it easy). However, it's Laurelle's birthday, so once more unto the breach, my friends!

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