Okay, this post is about two weeks later than I had intended, so just imagine this was yesterday.
For those that read one of my previous posts, I was getting ready to go into rehearsals for Capriccio with Apotheosis Opera. Well, June 18th, we wrapped up the final performance. Man, was this a run!! This was a process and a half!! First off, we had very little time between the casting announcement and the first rehearsal (two months!!!) to learn this piece. Needless to say, none of us showed up to the first rehearsal completely off book. Now, many of us were pretty comfortable with much of our roles, but we all still had much to figure out, to memorize. And that octet? Well, take a listen to the video and judge for yourself exactly what it was we had to learn.
Don’t think that I’m complaining. On the contrary, I relished this learning experience. Our conductor Matthew Jaroszewicz is a brilliant young conductor, on his way to his first professional position as assistant conductor for the Canton Symphony. He knew that score so remarkably well, in and out; every pitch, every harmony, every interval. He didn’t miss a thing and was able to coach us with such confidence every step of the way. For a conductor as young as he to have mastered an entire Strauss opera the way he did, to have started an opera company on such a grand scale and successfully complete their third season, I think it’s safe to say we can expect big things from him. I felt honored to to put my craft in his hands and came out stronger as a result.
Also, much credit has to go to my coach Chris Fecteau, founder and artistic director of the professional training program dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. I first met Chris two years ago when I auditioned for dell’Arte. Initially overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to be accomplished in order to participate in the program, Chris encouraged me to stick with it. The process for dell’Arte is a thorough and extensive series of classes, master classes, and coachings to be completed over the course of a couple months before rehearsals start, with the purpose of developing a cohesive process in preparing an operatic role. Sometime later, I went to Chris to coach Schaunard with him before leaving for a gig. Upon learning I had not coached the role at all prior to our coaching, essentially having brought the role to that point on my own, he saw (and so did I) just how much I learned from his program and how I was applying it to my work. He began taking me under his wing and became a major supporter. Evidently, when I was cast in Capriccio, he jumped right in and set me up with as many coachings as we could manage to help me get ready for this role. And believe me, he was a major service!! People noticed the work we put in to it. So for that, I thank him!! Though I am not singing with dell’Arte this summer, I am very much looking forward to seeing their season this summer!
The others I would have to give a big shout out to would be my colleagues! Some of you may remember from a previous post, how excited I was to be working with Bonnie Frauenthal again. And boy did the experience live up to the expectation! Well, for one, she and I are friends outside the theater so we have that chemistry going for us. But our on stage chemistry is simply awesome!! We are comfortable together on stage; we feed off each other so well! And you know what? We look great together on stage!! Our dream opera is Eugene Onegin because, oh man, she and I in that finale? It will be electrifying!! My character of the Count did not interact with the other men much; he was definitely a ladies man (haha, me a ladies man, that’s rich!!). So of course I have to give a big shout out to Phoebe Haines, mezzo soprano who played Clairon, the famous actress. Phoebe (or Pheebs, as I affectionately call her) was given the likes of Cate Blanchett and Fiona Shaw as her inspiration and boy, did she put that on like a jacket!! It was so easy to believe she is this star studded actress. Pheebs’ natural charisma suited the role perfectly and made her so desirable on stage. She and I had so much fun doing the reading of Olivier’ work (spoken dialogue for opera singers, fun challenge).
And then of course, there’s my best friend for life, Scott Kipnis. In addition to performing in the show, he is the Associate Producer and Director of Communications for the company. He probably stayed saner than anyone in the whole production. And Lord knows he was my voice of reason when I got out of whack, always checked in on me when I seemed down or frustrated, and damn hell insisted I join him and friends for Friday night screenings of Drag Race. There are photos of us man-cuddling but I will refrain from posting those. Oh, and he tells me he loves me!! Isn’t that just so freaking sweet!!
At the moment, I don’t have anything lined up, just a few prospects. So we are seeing what will pan out. It’s a mixed bag; in one respect, it would be nice to have other things lined up but on the other hand, it is nice to have some time off to mentally recharge after that run. Your first Strauss opera can take a toll on you. As a result, I haven’t read too much. I did read the Raymond Holden bio of Strauss Richard Strauss: A Life in Music. It was a good read, definitely learned a good lineage of his career. I would prefer a bio that gets more into some of the personal details of his life, and not just using letters to describe his personal feelings. I did pick Atonement by Ian McEwan back up and recently finished it! It is a great story, albeit very very descriptive! I did start reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus. This is gonna take some brain power to comprehend, I think. I do have Tina Feys bio Bossypants and the bio A long Way Home which the movie Lion is based on. I also finally got the Mérimée novella of Carmen. As an opera singer, that will be a very important read!
So, time for summer. Time to get some coachings and lessons set up, start figuring out further auditions, learn some rep, and continue to read. Oh yeah, and go to the beach. This Latino is a sad sad shade of white!!