Thursday, September 17, 2009

2 blogs in something fun

We had our final dress of Barber last night.  There was an invited audience of family, friends, and corporate sponsors.  It was a total blast.  It felt like a show.  As I typed that last sentence, I accidentally typed "It felt like a shoe." Well, it did sort of feel like a shoe as well.  It was our show, comfy, but still fresh, and we are still finding fun new moments here and there.  And the singing isn't too bad either.  I know they're not all going to feel that way, but it was a great way to preview our show and get us ready for the opening weekend.  The audience seemed to really like it too- there were guffaws galore.  Granted, since there were a lot of friends and family in the audience, we were sort of 'playing to the band,' as it were, but even so they seemed to be with us the entire time.  It makes such a huge difference to have them out there.  

The singing was a lot easier last night as well.  That was a good feeling.  I don't know if it was just luck or what, but I also warmed up earlier in the day, thinking that way it would be easier to hit the ground running when I go out to do Largo.  I also keep finding places to ease up.   When I was first putting this role up on its feet, I felt I was singing on 11 the whole time.  That's tiring, not much fun, and not very interesting.  As we have done more and more runs, there are lots of opportunities to turn down the overdrive a little and just sing.  I'm excited for opening, and I'm so very grateful that I finally get to perform this role I've been wanting to do for so long.

So now, the 2nd blog....

Post Mortem of Ashlawn Figaro

I have put off writing this forever.  Mostly, because I was bitter at the insane schedule we had there (4 performances with a week off in between each one).  With that schedule it was impossible to get any continuity in our show, and I was needlessly away from my family for a long stretch of time.  We could have easily done four performances in the span of one week and been done with it....but I digress.  This is why I haven't written about the Ashlawn experience- because I didn't want my bitterness to pop to the surface, when what I should really be focusing on is the aspect of my performance, and how this one fits into the whole mess of Figaros I'm doing this year.  

Despite all the inherent problems of working at Ashlawn (and there are many....I'll tell you about them sometime when I'm not writing a blog), this was a very important Figaro for me.  Why?  I felt I had the license to truly say 'forget it' (or some derivation of that) and take risks onstage.  I treated each performance as a playground, and I took vocal risks I never would have tried before.  Singing pianissimo, holding a note longer, messing with the dynamics, placement, breathing, anything you can think of.  And I learned a lot about my voice in the process.  So much so, that I think this current Figaro I'm doing has benefitted greatly because of it.  All the stuff I was talking about before about finding moments of ease in Barber are a direct result of the process I went through at Ashlawn.  I think I really tapped into a more efficient way of singing there, and I'm so glad I did because that's what I need to get through 12 performances of Barber.  I also had a blast in Charlottesville, a truly wonderful city.  

I guess that's not much of a post-mortem, but there you go.  

I hope that Ashlawn is able to continue successfully.  It has the potential to be a fantastic opera company.  Their new home at the Paramount theatre is a step in the right direction.  they are right in the heart of the downtown mall.  There is tons of money in the community.  They need a strong leader to step up and pull all the loose ends together.  I have hope they can find one.  This notice gave me some encouragement.  It's going to be a big job for whoever they find- anyone out there interested?

All right, enough blather.  Here's something fun:

I'm not too proud to steal from Woody Woodpecker.


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