Day 4…. Inspiring Words and an Opera Audition

 

{I read the quote pictured above, and immediately knew I had to include it at the top of today’s post before you read any of my words, because it espouses such truth!}

 

The quote above speaks to Active Waiting in a succinct, honest and inspiring way.  It not only speaks to me in regards to writing, but especially to my other creative passions that have been a part of my everyday life for years now–acting and singing.

Today I had an audition for a small local opera company.

 A short time ago  (Ok, let’s just be honest here) many years ago, I was a classical voice music major in college.  I began my training in opera, and for about a year and a half, was extremely passionate and devoted to the craft.  I read autobiographies of all of my favorite opera singers, spent countless hours in the music library listening to recordings of my favorite arias sung by those favorite singers, and sat at the feet (so to speak) of my amazing voice teacher as he told of his own operatic adventures across the country and overseas.
It all sounded so romantic, so foreign to anything I’d experienced growing up in Kansas.  And before meeting my first voice teacher,  I never believed I had any kind of singing talent to speak of.  I was the quiet girl (I know, my friends still don’t believe me, but I do have some introverted tendencies) behind the piano, accompanying choirs and my other very talented singer friends.
When I was 18, an incredible teacher found a voice in me that I never knew I had.  I still can’t remember what he said or did to make me suddenly sing scales with much more volume, power and depth than I ever had before, but He recognized a gift God had given me that had never previously been tapped into.  He truly was a person who helped me discover and own the gifts that became my calling and vocation.  (For that I am forever grateful to him).
I was that teacher’s student for the first year of my vocal studies (which at the time, in our music school was just a little bit rebellious and even slightly scandalous to be a voice major studying with a graduate student instead of faculty.).   My teacher was there to finish his degree so he could teach at the university level.  (And teach he has indeed – he has been on the staff of one of the most prestigious vocal schools – Cinncinnati Conservatory of Music – for many years, and left to do so right after my first year of training with him.)
As I went into my 2nd and 3rd years of vocal study, I started to realize my first and truest passion wasn’t opera at all.  Though I loved singing opera and operetta (and still do), I didn’t love listening to it nearly as much as musical theatre.
Musical Theatre – now there was a theatrical  medium which actually combined all of my favorite things about performing!   Beautiful music and singing, but also smart and realistic acting in a truly theatrical setting!  While performing opera, I had grown weary of every sound coming out of my mouth being the most important thing, and I longed to perform in a medium where my acting and service to the character work was just as important.
(Now please hear me here –  don’t get me wrong.   I hear from my amazing opera colleagues that their world is changing, and it’s now very important to be an actor in the opera world as well.)   The focus on the voice is also part of the beauty and uniqueness that opera holds for most people, and I learned so much about myself as a musican and artist pursuing the study of it.    I ended up adding a theatre minor to my voice degree, and tried to perform in a musical every chance I got between our two annual opera productions a year at school.
My senior year of college, our department did an incredible production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Sweeney Todd where I played one of my dream roles, The Beggar Woman.   That experience was truly lifechanging for me, because I decided at that time that musical theatre was my passion and would be my focus.  
However, that same year, we also did a glorious production of The Marriage of Figaro where I was grateful to play the role of Cherubino.
    
This brings me to today…literally.
I decided a few months ago to dust off the cobwebs of my operatic training and for pure enjoyment of the art, audition for a small local opera company in Fort Worth.  I’m planning to sing one of the character Cherubino’s arias, Voi,che sapete because honestly, it’s the only Italian aria I feel I know in any capacity, and they are looking for chorus members for that show this season.  I am also thrilled to be having my first classical voice lesson/coaching in years with a local vocal professor before my audition.  I have high hopes that he can help me dust those aforementioned cobwebs off of the Italian diction and vocal technique I studied so diligently so many years ago.
After you complete an audition, you must partake in some pretty active waiting.   As in, forget about the details of the audition, and try to go along as normal while you wait to hear whether or not you were chosen for the job.
You have to choose to be grateful for that audition you experienced whether you booked the job or not.  
 To the non-performer/artist, this doesn’t sound difficult, but trust. me.  Its much harder than it sounds.
I’ll end this post with an incredible recording of Voi, che sapete by the amazing and exsquisite artist, mezzo-soprano Joyce Didonato.  I don’t normally get to say such things, but I had the privilege of going to college with her, and studying in her vocal studio.  She was a senior when I was a freshman, and every week she sang in master class, I was transfixed and inspired.  I looked up to her a great deal, more than I ever told her, and I always knew she was destined for greatness.
Apparently, I didn’t realize how great.  A year or two ago, as I wished Joyce blessings and congrats on facebook through a casual message, I was curious to see how her career was going.   I decided to check out her website.   I then googled her.
I only then realized she has become a true operatic star of our generation!  I did not, and still only occasionally dapple in the news of the opera world, so this was a wonderful surprise and delight for me.    Joyce truly is the most down to earth and beautiful person you could find, and I’m so thrilled for her success.  I don’t post her recording to try and copy/pirate it in any way.  I love this beautiful aria, and will enjoy singing it today immensely, but her extraordinary voice and interpretation is the version you should hear.  (And hey, anything written by Mozart is an enjoyable classical music moment as far as I’m concerned.)
So, say some prayers for me today as you read this blog – as I travel back to my musical past in this audition.
And whether or not I am asked to be a part of this opera chorus, I will learn from, enjoy and be grateful for another audition experience. 
 
When words leave off, music begins…   –Heinrich Heine