Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pulling Out the Sound

We have begun the yearly month-long opera project.  In the first two days, we played without singers, or rather, with the assistant conductors marking the vocal parts as they sat following along with the score.  While the Alfredo of them had a singerly vibrato and dramatic flair, his Violetta counterpart was more akin to a Wednesday Adams, with a low husky straight tone voice, giving a completely deadpan performance.  Were it not for her incredible accuracy and competence, one might wonder if she had any idea that La Traviata is a tragic opera.  But she clearly knows that score and how to pronounce Italian.

Today with got the understudies, which seemed more than adept for the job.  It will be exciting to hear the actual cast.  The human voice is capable of so much color and expression and opera as a genre does a wonderful job of inciting dramatic motivation.  It's hard not to be a little more alive when playing with singers that are relaying such a turmoiled and impassioned plot.  It's a funny thing that we don't dig within ourselves to find that inner voice as a source of inspiration more often.  How strange to divide these two things, playing and singing, the technique and the expressive intent.  But somehow opera helps to fuse them again.

How many other things could stand to know one another within oneself?  Ideals versus practice, practice in one area versus practice in another.  Perhaps there is a lot of learning that we can do if we reflect on bringing values to more areas of life.  To sing when I play.  I wish that I could do it more fully all the time.

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