Take that, little man in my head!

It’s a fortnight after the Senior Vocal Competitions and I am still basking in the reflected glow of my cups and trophies. Oh dear, that’s bragging isn’t? And we Kiwis aren’t meant to do that are we? Well convention can just go sulk in a corner. I worked damn hard and I deserve to have my wee moment in the sun, right? Right?? So those of you who don’t agree with me can go and read this Wikipedia entry and the rest of you two remaining readers can settle back with your libation of choice and join me in my cup-reflected glow. Because I’m a sharer.

So here are some highlights/moments. Friday night I had 3 classes – Operatic Aria, French Art Song and Oratorio. There had been one or two people pull out and the adjudicator discombobulated everyone by starting about 5 minutes early. I have a thing about being late and when it says in the competition rules ‘Competitors must be ready to start 15 minutes prior to their class’ I take that to mean I must be ready an hour before. Other people like to rock up at a bee’s whisker before the 15 minute deadline. Which is fine if  the classes are running according to the published times. Not quite so if things are ahead of schedule. There was a fair bit of frantic rushing to find people until everyone got the hang of things and started to turn up in time.

Operatic Aria goes well and the money note pings out so I am feeling good. I go to hand in my scores for French Art Song and Oratorio and have A Moment. One of those uh-oh-where-is-the-oratorio-copy-I-am-supposed-to-be-holding-when-I-sing moments. Realise I haven’t made a copy. OK, I’ll just take the original score and hand in my singing folder photocopy. Great, no problem. Oh wait, problem. The score is small. So small that it’s hard to read without my reading glasses. No matter, I know this pretty well I can deal with it. Heart rate returns to near normal. Nip back to the waiting area and ask where we are, someone says you’re on next. The bell dings, and I sail confidently onto the platform, Oratorio score in hand. I announce my piece and while helpfully providing a translation of the Latin, notice that my accompanist has gone back to her front row seat and is scrambling frantically through her folders of music. Poor Jo, I think, she’s picked up the wrong music. And then a voice intones from the back “This is the French Art Song class”.

Excellent. I’ll just fall into this big hole I am praying will open up underneath me. Only it doesn’t. “Right then” I say, “I’ll just go off and come back on again shall I?” Risk a quick glance at the adjudicator, she is smiling sympathetically, phew! Exit stage left not quite with indecent haste, drop the wretched Oratorio score, take a deep breath and sail back on to sympathetic applause. “I will now sing a French Art Song” . Much smiling from the audience. Think – I’ve stuffed this up before I even start so might as well enjoy it. And I did and so fortunately did the adjudicator.

Oratorio was interesting. I used the small score and only had one oopsy, where I looked down to where I thought I was to find that I was looking in the wrong place. It’s funny how your brain gets a memory of where things are on the page and then when that page size changes….

Saturday was British Art Song in splendid solitude in the morning, then a flurry in the afternoon – Lieder, Duet, Comic/Light Operatic and finally the Senior Scholarship. This was the one I really wanted, having fallen short in the past two years. And thanks to the combined efforts of my wonderful teacher, my lovely accompanist, my excellent voice therapist and some damn hard work from me, the little man who lives in my head remained almost entirely silent and I came off the platform happy. Yes, you read that right, I was happy! Here’s my happy face….


My singing teacher is about to have another baby so there will be a period of no lessons, but I have plans to do my LTCL (Recital) in the next year or two so I will carry on working on new rep. Oh and I’m going to be part of a very special performance of Handel’s Messiah in December, featuring my wonderful teacher Rebecca Ryan and Jonathan Lemalu. 



ShowerIt’s local singing competition time again. I’m sure it’s only been 6 months since the last one. I’m pleased to say that I’m a little better prepared than last time, thanks to the constant prodding of my lovely teacher. Oh except for the ‘own selection’ for the Scholarship section, which we dithered over for various reasons and then I chose an aria I’ve never even heard before, let alone sung. And promptly went on holiday, as you do when you have a new aria to learn and not a lot of time left to learn it.

So here’s the rep list:

  • French Art Song: Les Chemins de l’Amour (Poulenc)
  • British Art Song: Song of Shadows (Richard Rodney Bennett)
  • Lieder: Neue Liebe (Mendelssohn)
  • Oratorio: Cujus animam gementem (Pergolesi)
  • Duet: Domine (Mozart)
  • Operatic Aria: Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen
  • Scholarship: Test – Bist du bei mir (Bach), own selection – Fair Robin I Love (Mechem)
  • Comic/Light Operatic: I want to sing in opera (David & Arthurs)

There’s a fair bit of singing in that lot. As I’ve mentioned before I make use of the shower to learn rep in other languages. But here’s what I’d really like in order  to make the shower into a music study:  A shower with a wall which encloses a large touch screen linked to some device on which all my scores are loaded, so I can turn the pages (a giant iPad if you will) and this screen is also linked to a piano accompaniment which I can sing to. Ok I just read that back and really all I’m asking to do is karaoke in the shower. How hard could it be to design something like that? If someone out there knows how to do it, I’ll patent it and then off you go, give me 25% of the profit and the first shower off the production line and we’ll call it quits.

Remember in my last blog post I talked about the little man who lives in my brain? I came across this great video of the gorgeous Joyce di Donato talking about her inner critic. I nearly put my neck out nodding away.