Yes, I’m happy! *does Happy Dance* Sure, there were bits I didn’t sing as well I would have liked in a perfect world, but I’m not going to beat myself up over them. (Maybe I’ll do that when I hear the recording). But hey, I’ve ticked something off my bucket list, so that’s a bonus, right?
It was a big day in more ways than one. Because we had musicians coming from Dunedin, the rehearsal was held the same day. Certainly not ideal, but when you’re on a strict budget these things sometimes have to be done. The rehearsal went pretty well, and I tried not to sing to full out to help preserve my voice for the performance.
‘Belinda’ sang her first aria then we were into the first chorus, the short ‘Banish Sorrow’. By two-thirds of the way through my heart was beating so hard and fast I thought it was going to leap out of my chest. I stepped out and tried to look as if I were ‘press’d with torment’. It is entirely possible that my expression could have been interpreted as ‘deer caught in the headlights’. The first ‘Ah’ was a bit short due to me not having prepared for it properly but I had myself sorted by the second one and the aria went well – I even got through the longest ‘I languish’ phrase with breath support intact.
I enjoyed the latter part of the performance best, as I was able to interact more with other characters, in particular Aeneas in the scene where Dido compares him to ‘a deceitful crocodile’! And finally the Lament. About half way through I thought ‘Let go! Don’t think, just be Dido!’ and so I just let myself get swept up in the emotion and it felt amazing. Someone afterwards told me that I really conveyed Dido’s despair, which made me feel pretty good! I stood there and let the choir’s ‘With Drooping Wings’ wash over me and wished I could do it all over again. Although ideally I would want it to be a full opera performance.
Now my performance calendar has a bit of blank space, so I can sit down and work on some things that I haven’t had time to – Tornami a vagegghiar from Handel’s Alcina for one. Here’s La Stupenda in a 1960 rendition….
I think we all have a era of classical music that appeals to us the most. One where, if we were stuck on that Desert Island of radio fame, and were told that we could choose only music from one era, this would be what would choose.
For me? Baroque all the way baby. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi – quite apart from the quality of those three, there’s thousands of MP3 files right there without even thinking about other Baroque composers. Right from a young age I gravitated to the Baroque composers – both in instrumental music and in vocal. What would Christmas be without Messiah? (And my consequent discovery of Emma Kirby. Sshhhh, don’t tell my singing teacher).
Of all the works I studied at High School, what do I remember – and can pretty much sing all arias and choruses of without a score still? Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Which incidentally will stand me in good stead when the choir I belong to, A Capella Singers performs it next year.It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the delights of the Arie Antiche, mostly thanks to the CD of the same name by Cecilia Bartoli. Love her or hate her, she certainly immerses herself in the arias. Deceptively simple they are. (Sorry, channeling Yoda there). My favourite? It changes from week to week. Right now it’s Vivaldi’s ‘Sposa son disprezzata’ If I could do that last trill as softly as she does at that pitch I would be a very happy soprano.