Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nessun Dorma...yes I know none of this has to do with Turandot, but I think you can figure it out.

Saw Sleeping Beauty with the Interlochen ballet last week, and it was amazing! Dance was one of the art areas that I hadn't seen anything of (except a short piece at Collage this fall), and I don't quite know what I was expecting, but it was wonderful! I'd say that some of the dancers, the men in particular, were just as good or better than what I've seen at Fort Wayne Ballet.

Just finished listening to Don Carlo on the Met broadcast; it's one of the great things about being home, since I have classes on Saturday's and can't listen to them. I had been looking forward to this broadcast for weeks, for many reasons. First, it's Don Carlo, enough said. Second, the cast was loaded (Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Rene Pape, Samuel Ramey, Olga Borodina, Patricia Racette, Johan Botha), Dmitri and Sam being two of my all time favorite singers. The only thing that could have made it better would be Placido Domingo singing the title role, although Botha did it justice. I've listened to many of the broadcasts over the years, but I don't recall the audience ever being this wild; they went crazy for the singers! The applause for the Friendship Duet, The King's Study Scene Aria, Eboli's O don fatale, Rodrigo's Death Scene, Elisabetta's Tu che la vanita, and the final curtain calls (Rene Pape and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in particular) were the loudest I've ever heard. It's such a wonderful opera, and even though it's very long and a bit complicated (had to watch the video about 5 times before I finally figured out the politics that go on in it), it's one of my favorites. The major characters are all very complex with great music to sing. The ending is a little strange, but who really cares? I don't, it's still great music. Rodrigo's Death Scene always makes me cry, and this was not an acception, especially with Hvorostovsky singing it. He sang the first phrase of O Carlo, ascolta in one breath! I love it I love it!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just in case you were wondering...and yes I know this is the third post in two days!

Here's the link to the video I found on You Tube of the Alagna-La Scala mishap. I haven't figured out how to actually post videos on this thing, and knowing me, I probably won't. Enjoy!

Oh, and one more thing

What's the world coming to these days? Placido Domingo was booed at the Met, where he was conducting a performance of La Boheme. Yes, Domingo got booed. Apparently he and Anna Netrebko (singing Mimi) weren't together some of the time. Critics say she sang beautifully, and that Domingo was just, well, not that good. I'd bet money egos had a little more to do with it than music or tempi. Who knows? I'm sure it got a bit overlooked due to the Roberto Alagna La Scala mishap. To update on that, they've called the police to prevent him from entering the building. This just keeps getting better and better...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Not that anyone really cares, but...

Tenor Roberto Alanga has been fired from La Scala. That's right, FIRED! After an apparently horrific "Celeste Aida" on Sunday night, he left the stage when the audience booed him, complete with an oh-so-Dahling wave of the hand. Of course, he said that it wasn't deserved. So, he got fired.

I've been reading another opera blog that is describing the whole saga (right from the heart of Milan), and it's nasty, folks. Alanga even got dissed by Franco Zeffirelli (it was his production of Aida), which is like a getting a death sentence, and what he said was nothing less of scathing. Of course, one might feel a little sorry for povero Roberto, but considering he said that he was bravissimo that night, but I really don't. I like his voice, but I've heard he can be a bit cocky, and here's a prime example. And he sounded so great on that aira (found the clip via YouTube).

I'd say this is about the biggest thing to hit opera controversy since the Kathleen Battle mishap, although some would put the "Little Black Dress" saga up there too. But even most of the huge divas or divos don't walk offstage in the manner of Alagna. Granted, it was rude of the audience to boo him, but this is La Scala; they've booed everyone.

So, things could get fairly interesting, for lack of a better word. We'll see if Alagna ever is hired to sing there again; right now his Manon Lescaut contract is up in the air, as is his wife's for La Traviata. Maybe we'll see Roberto and Angela slinging hash at McDonald's.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Squirrel attack!

In a week's time, Interlochen has gone from grey skies and rather warm temperatures to what looks like Siberia. There's about a foot of snow, and it keeps on coming down, although not nearly as much as it was last Friday, when it snowed for 12 hours. That on top of studying Communism and reading the "Grand Inquisitor" chapter out of The Brothers Karamazov really puts one in a cheery mood. The chapter is one of the most interesting things I've read, by the way, it just takes a lot out of you. No wonder Ivan was wiped out after reciting the whole thing to Alyosha.

Finally, after many days of wondering, I received my ARTS results. I didn't get any money, and my score was not what I had hoped it would be. But considering the day I recorded I was emotionally fried, I'm not that surprised, but rather somewhat frustrated.

Staging rehearsals began for Opera Workshop, and although we haven't actually staged much of it, we did a great deal of discussing the characters, a very insightful conversation. Some of the ideas Mr. Gentry has for Riders to the Sea are really interesting, like showing all Maurya's dead sons at the moment she mentions how they died or beginning by showing the final scene, with Bartley's body on the table. A lot of it depends on what lighting options are available to us.

A squirrel got into Mor and Rachele's room a few days ago. Somehow it figured out how to open up the window and got in. What is it with me and squirrels? They're taking over Interlochen, like the crows in Terre Haute, but we won't go into that.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why J.K. Rowling doesn't really know what boarding school is like...

At Hogwarts...

1. The food is always good
2. No one ever gets homesick
3. There are close to 1000 students, and yet all we only ever see about ten teachers
4. No one every moves out because of a bad roomie situation
5. No one complains about the uniform
6. Only Hermione ever worries about grades
7. Who cleans the bathrooms?
8. The students never do laundry
9. The dorms never get nasty
10. Parents never come visit

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shostakovich and Cherubino

Yesterday was a recital from violist Maggie Snyder and bass Dennis Bender, all Shostakovich! The pieces performed were his Sonata for Viola and Piano, Opus 147 (his last work) and his Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarotti, Opus 145. Both were wonderful pieces, and the Michelangelo piece was especially dramatic. His music is definitely interesting, and it always keeps you on your feet. Although I'm not that acquainted with his music, it's something that I'd like to hear more of.

Mr. Bender gave a Master Class today, and this time I did get to sing. I sang Cherubino's Act I aria ("Non so piu") from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. It's still a fairly new piece to me as far as singing it, but I've been familiar with it for years. Most of what Mr. Bender worked on, not only with me but with everyone that sang, was diction. Now, this aria is fast and there are a lot of words to get out, and there were some that I wasn't quite getting out. "Mi si turba mi s'altera il petto" is one tough phrase to get out, let me tell you. We talked about Cherubino and what he's doing in that moment of the opera, how he's been chasing Susanna around the room trying to get his song back from her, that he's out of breath and excited. So, to get me into that mood, he had me run around the Chapel and back onto the stage, gave me a chord, and then I sang. And it felt good. It made me more in character, which Mr. Bedner pointed out. We also worked on the top G during the phrase "porta non via con se." and the diction on that phrase. And that too felt good.

The Master Class (and Donna's little speech in Italian Diction) really reinforced the importance of diction in singing. As Mr. Bender said, diction is part of the technique. Of course, we've all heard singer, even the pros, who have terrible diction (Pavarotti's English, anyone?), but it really is an essential thing. Nicolai Gedda sounded like a native speaker no matter what language he was singing in. The importance of diction isn't a sudden revelation to me, but it has been very much reinforced.

Only two days left of class until Thanksgiving break! We're all more than ready for a break, and I have a feeling that these last few days are going to go by very slowly. Oh well, let's just hope that next week is a long one.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Great Interlochen Blackout of 2006

I woke up Saturday morning to find that the power had gone out. Yes, no power on the entire campus. There had been quite a bit of snow the night before, but I don't know if that was the cause for the power outage. Still, it got rather cold in the room, although it wasn't much colder than usual. That either means that the insulation in here is really good or we just have a really bad heating system. Guess which one is probably true? I was about ready to go down to the front desk and get some newspapers to line my clothes with.

Anyways, we had no classes all day, which didn't bother me one bit, except that there was absolutly nothing to do. There's never much to do for entertainment around here anyways, but with no power, it was really dull. Of course, DeRoy (aka The Nice Dorm) had power because of a generator, but lowly people in the other dorms had to stick it out until noon-ish, when the power finally came back on. Thank goodness. We could at least have hot food for dinner.

Saturday night I saw The Crucible done by the Academy Theatre, which was wonderful! Concerto Finals were great. Had a Master Class with a Juilliard/Manhatten/Curtis teacher today, but I didn't sing. My voice, nor my nerves, were not in the greatest shape this morning, so singing that early would not have gone well. I also had my From the Top audition today, and I think it went well. The producer remembered me, and I think I sang well. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ups and downs and the King's Singers

The last few days were full of ups and downs, mostly ups and one big down. The down was that I did not make it to the Concerto Competition Finals. Even though I had not expected to move on, it was still a huge dissappointment. I think that squirrel really did wreck my performance...

But...the ups! Saw the King's Singers last night, and it was awesome!! The choir had a Master Class with them on Monday, which was really interesting, but to see them perform was amazing! The sound that they make is just beyond explanation. Their repertoire was huge; Spainish motets from the Renaissance, new American music in Japanese, The Beatles, and Folk Songs. Afterwords, I got all six of them to sign my program, which will be going home with me in a few days and kept safely there. All of us were on a "King's Singers" high for the remainder of the night and for some of today, and I think we're all obsessed. It's really an amazing thing that they do, and maybe I'll get to see them again someday.

Need to finish writing my Tolstoy essay since it's due tomorrow, and then we begin Dostoevsky on Friday! Lost on at 9!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Weekends at Interlochen

Let me begin by saying that a daily update is not something that will happen very often, but seeing as I don't have much to do at the moment, I thought I'd post something. Besides, I changed the settings so that anyone can post a comment, and I believe that doesn't go into effect until another posting is put up. There you go.

I got off of campus for the first time since Parents' Weekend; it didn't seem that long. I went to church this morning with Sarah, Morgen, and Kwambe. I was talking to the pastor's wife, and it turns out that she is from, of all places, Bluffton, Indiana! And on top of that, she's a high school friend of Seth's! It's a small world, isn't it?

After chruch I returend to good old TJ Dorm, had some nasty lunch, made a phone call home, took a brief walk, and talked to Austin for a while. We listented to some music, and I managed to turn him into a Dmitri Hvorostovsky convert. I borrowed his book Great Singers on Great Singing by Jerome Hines, a very famous singer himself. It's exactly what the title suggests it is, and it is fasinating. Laundry after that. In other words, not much going on. But I've got a Master Class with the King's Singers tomorrow, which I'm excited for. Also a group project on Tolstoy's Hadji Murad, and I've got to work on my Tolstoy essay for Thursday, plus read a little more of The Brothers Karamazov.

Let's hope the heat comes on in my room sometime soon. It's cold!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sitting here at my laptop

Ah, I have finally given in to the "real" blogosphere. My old MSN Spaces just didn't seem to quite make the cut, so, after viewing other blogs, I finally decided to go for it. Of course, who actually knows if I'll keep up with it, since I'm very busy most of the time with classes, practice, homework...

So, who am I? Well, I'm a voice student at Interlochen for a year, which is the main purpose of this blog; to create something of a record of what goes on in my life during this year. So far, it's been quite interresting. Between homesickness, residence issues, nasty food, a smelly dorm, snow in October, college applications, piles of music to learn, and laundry, it's been a great experience. I've learned so much already, and it has only been what seems like a few weeks, but here November is! Thanksgiving break is in two weeks, and I cannot wait to come home! Even though I am glad that I came here, I think a break will be the greatest thing for me. It will be nice to get away from the daily grind and finally be able to relax.