Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ramblings of a Mad Opera Singer

Well the first round of the Jensen Competition is over and now I get to wait until Friday to see if I made the finals. I'm not holding my breath or anything...I felt I did a mediocre performance yesterday. I guess I let the judges' lack of interest shake me a bit...I mean come on...I walk into the recital hall, all cute, fluffed and ready to perform, and I didn't even get a glance from these people during my first aria. Um HELLOOO, I'm performing here! If I've come out of my way to perform for you people, the least you can do is look up and watch! Ugh, seriously? So I let it bother me the whole time...and let it get into my head and shrink my confidence to the size of an ant...jeez, by the end of the 1st aria I felt like I was squeaking "look at me"! Then it seemed as if they deliberated forever if they wanted to hear a second aria and what that aria would be...by then my nerves had gotten the best of me, that my throat was dry, my larynx up and my body shaking...grrr!!! I hate not having control over my nerves...and the one aria I don't like doing because I think it's "boring" was the one aria I was hoping they'd pick, because I didn't think I'd get through any of my other rep with the way I was feeling...and guess what...just as I was thinking "pick the Prendi, pick the Prendi" by George...they picked the "Prendi"...*shew*...ok, I can do this...and it's not so boring anymore, especially since I added the cabaletta. At least they looked up a little bit during the second aria and I was "acting"...and they started to smile during the cabaletta, so that made me feel a little better as I was flying through the coloratura...unfortunately, the accompanist gave me a new ending to the piece and I came in too early do to a misunderstanding of my cuts...oh well, I just kept singing, and held the notes a little longer than usual...I still finished strong and that's all you can do. It could have been worse, they might have picked the Spargi which ends on a high Eb which at that moment in time I didn't feel like I could sustain...or they could have picked my new French aria...which is nice in the voice and not all that difficult, but the problem with it is the fact that it is NEW...and in all honesty one should never do a NEW aria for a competition or a major audition...but it was better than the alternative, my old French piece that never really worked for me. I would have been ok if they had picked my German piece...I used to hate this aria mind you, because it's a bitch to sing with 2 ridiculously long coloratura passages back to back that Mozart expects you to do in one breath per run...so of course that means to sing it at break neck speeds in order to make it through...but I finally worked it into the voice and it's singing nicely...so that said, I don't hate my German aria anymore...it's really grown on me :) The only song I wish they'd pick and never do is my lovely little operetta piece Villia from "The Merry Widow"...I sing that piece so lyrical and flowy (is flowy even a word?) that it shows another side of my voice that people rarely hear. Perhaps I'll start offering that first from now on...they can always pick a fast, high song from the rest of my rep, seeing as how that is all the rest of my rep really offers. I don't know if it's right for competitions, but who cares if you sing something that you love and it sits nice in the voice. Even though I'd love to win some $$$ from a competition, I rarely go into win it...I just want an opportunity to perform and challenge myself...perhaps that's where I go wrong, but I need these challenges to keep me learning and forging onward with my career. However, it shakes me every time....when does it get easier? When do I stop freaking out from competitions and big auditions...when do I learn to suck it up and take true control? Anyone have these answers? I have a sneaking suspicion that it doesn't ever get easier, we just get more experience and learn to present ourselves better. Well I'll just have to keep going out for more experience then!

Tonight I have the Soiree Musical to do, then I agreed to help out with the Dicapo Children's show coming up next week and I think after that, I'm done for the season? We have the end of the Season party on the 31st and this weekend is the opening of "The Ballad of Baby Doe" which I must attend for my friend Carmine...once the month of May is done, it looks like I can finally "rest"...and by this I mean, looking into French lessons, learning "The Crucible" music for next season, learning some other new rep., cleaning house (finally)...and finding a summer program to work on roles with. Haha...I guess I don't really know the meaning of the word "rest", but as my grandmother says, I'll have plenty of time when I'm dead...which hopefully won't be for another 80 years or so...yeah I have plans for a long, healthy, happy life :)

That said, have a great day and a healthy life.

-Bex

4 comments:

dietbook said...

LOL...I love your ramblings, m'dear! :-)

And of course I wouldn't know, not being an actual performer...but I suspect you're right and it never really gets easy. If it does, you're probably really bored with the whole process and need to be in another field! :-)

Hang in there, I'd be willing to bet you were awesome. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

V.

Rose said...

Me too! I'm sure your voice was so amazing that they couldn't bare to look at your amazing self because it would have been sensory overload.

Those nerves are like fuel... you keep trying until they're gone and one day you realize that they haven't gotten better but your performance has because of them, well I think so at least.

VeganDiva said...

Darling, I am sure you were fabulous! Nice Jedi mind trick with the Prendi! :)

wvsooner said...

First, when are you going to post a audio file so we can hear for ourselves?!?!

Second, I can't comment on whether it gets easier from a performing arts standpoint, but I can address it from a sports and legal standpoint.

I played competitive racquetball for many years, and had a tendency to lose to players I should be able to roll easily. I took a sports psychology class and discovered that I was losing (failing) because I was afraid of succeeding. When you win, you move up to the next skill level and have to play better players. Better to lose to someone eveyone knows you should beat, than to someone who is going to blow you out and crush your self esteem. Once I got over that mental hurdle, my game improved dramatically.

On the legal front, experience has bred confidence. I remember my first depositions, my first court appearances, my first speeches, and my first times in front of a jury. I used to literally throw up I was so anxious. But I learned over time that I am good at what I do and, more importantly, all those "in the audience judging my performance" are just people. They aren't special. They aren't all powerful. They don't hold my life or happiness in their hands. While I always want to do the best job possible, at the end of the day, the only person whose opinion of me counts, is me. Do I still get nervous? Sure. But I have found that the nervousness tends to occur during preparation and seldomnly shows during the actual performance.

What scares me more than anything is having to stand up in front of one of my kids classes and talk. I don't want anyone to make fun of my kids for having a weird Poppy.

Sorry for the lengthy comment.