Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kicking ass and taking names, Mozart-style

I've been having a busy, exciting spring of gigging for money! How cool is THAT? First there was my composer friend's recital, wherein another soprano and I sang a 25-minute, 7-scene mini-opera totally a-capella. Then it was a guest appearance with my dad's chorus.

But the latest gig is the one I want to talk about. I did the soprano II part in Mozart's Grand Mass in C Minor, or, as I like to call it, One Of The Coolest Things In The World Ever. I sang it in chorus in college, and it blew my mind. Specifically, I thought "I WILL sing those solos before I die. Someday it will be me up there."

Well, that day came last week, but not without its complications.

First of all, I wanted the Soprano I solo, but it had been given away already, so I thought (perhaps against my better judgement) that I would give the lower II part a try.

I was worried about it. There were complicated runs right through the middle section of my voice, which is the hardest section to contend with. My aria plunged from low A to high A two octaves above in the span of a measure or two. But I worked and worked it, and went to upstate New York with the knowledge that I had done my best.

Then I met the other soloists and became afraid. They were all older, with big honking voices, and I was sure that I was being sung out of the water by them. But I knew there was nothing I could do, and I let it go. I kept working and polishing and refining as best I could, but my voice was my voice and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it at the moment.

(Perhaps now is the time to mention that, as an unemployed artist, I haven't been able to afford a lesson since December, so I've been working stuff myself. Not a confidence builder)

But at the dress rehearsal something happened. When it came my turn to sing I knew that the only thing I could do was to feel the fire and go into it. I just had to tame that aria and ride it, wild tiger that it is (I've been reading Life of Pi, which is about a boy and a tiger trapped in a lifeboat on the ocean. You should read it). So I did. I forgot about the chorus members listening and judging behind me, and I just sang it.

And it was awesome.

I also sang my guts out (in a refined way, of course!) in the duet, trio, and quartet, and I rocked those too.

Afterwards I received more compliments than I've ever received in my life, including compliments from the orchestra members, which I thought just didn't happen. And then I repeated it all for the performance, and I was great.

See, I realized that I could either go into the voices in my head telling me how much I suck, or I could realize that I had other things to offer that these older singers couldn't. Being young, I had a freshness and evenness of voice that they didn't. I also possess a musicality that they didn't (if I do say so myself, and I do). I had my own strengths to bring, and I needed to believe that to be able to succeed, and I have never believed it before.

I think I finally developed what is called "mental grit."

I've never been so happy with a performance, and with what I heard when I listened to the recording.

To put it bluntly: I did it! Yay!

This is good, because the auditioning has not been going well. I've been raked across the coals, and my ego was badly bruised. So I stopped and started over.

It's just nice to have some confidence back.

Maybe I'll try again, but this time with the tiger fire inside of me!

1 comment:

  1. As an on-site witness, I can say "Amen, sista (or daughta), you rocked it." You will always, always have that accomplishment. Love you.