Last week, I flew to Melbourne to compete in the first round of the Australian Singing Competition (also known as the Marianne Mathy award, as the first prize of $30,000.00 toward overseas study is sponsored by the estate of the late Marianne Mathy). Naturally, I got sick. Healthy as a really healthy horse for months upon months, and then as soon as I start preparing for my first national singing competition, I get a horrendous headcold. HONESTLY. WHO DOES MY BODY THINK IT IS?!
In my defence, I did actually catch the cold from a bunch of ill singers at the Festival of Voices gospel workshops that I did the previous weekend. Now THEY were cool. We got to work with Myron Butler and his lovely wife Timberlyn. What a great experience. Worth the illness!
Anyway, so I went to Melbs to compete in the competition. I thought, considering how snuffly and drippy and coughy I was, that I sang quite well! I didn't forget any of the words, which I had of course panicked about due to leaving the memorisation 'til the last minute, and thought I projected nicely and sang OK. I mean, I didn't sing spectacularly but... anyway. I just got a letter today telling me that I didn't get through. And that's OK. I can try again next year, but that'll be the last time as I wil be twenty-six next July.
I started with "Chanson triste" by Henri Duparc, and was then asked (from my list of submitted repertoire) for "Tornami a vagheggiar", an aria from the opera Alcina by Handel.
Anyway, on to the more important aspects of the week!
On Saturday night, Elysia (housemate), Helen (sister) and I went to see the production of AVENUE Q currently showing in Melbourne. Can I just say first -- I am a huge fan of Avenue Q. My brother gave me the CD (well, "lent" - but I have "permanently borrowed" it) a couple of years ago, and I just fell in love with it. I have since seen a bit of a bootleg of a production of it on *cough* YouTube *cough* (can't remember if it was West End or Broadway - have seen bits and pieces from both on the special tube), so I already knew the show... but that didn't detract from it at all! What a fantastic show it is. It's so funny. So accessible to adults of all ages. I was surrounded by people of every generation (including the guy who plays 'Harold' on Neighbours, who was sitting in our row, but hey, I'm just saying - celebrities flock to me). There were a few Americanisms in the show that the Australian cast had altered for easy comprehension by Australian audiences, ie., "Mexican bus-boys" became "Mexican waiters", and "... change my major, or f*** my TA" became, "... change my major, or f*** all day". You know. And there is a line very late in the show about how, "George Bush! ... is only for now", that became, "Swine flu! ... is only for now", which I cacked myself at. Clever. Great show. Fully recommend it. Unfortunately, the show ends in early August in Melbourne so get a wriggle on and book your tickets ASAP!
On Sunday night, Helen and I went to see French and Saunders live. THANK GOD WE TOOK A TAXI. Man. I could never have navigated my way to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. Roads were blocked and it was all complicated! Anyway, the Palais Theatre is gorgeous! Holy shit! What a fantastic theatre. I saw a poster advertising Ben Folds the night before I'm due to fly to Melbourne for the ASCAP "Broadway to Australia" gigs that I'm doing with the Southern Gospel Choir ... Can you imagine? Ben Folds in this gorgeous theatre! In Melbourne! Oh! I bet it's already sold out, too. Meh. I seriously love my Ben Folds collection ... but moving on from that - how fantastic are French and Saunders? God, do I even need to go into any detail? I'd already watched the DVD of the show (and yet I forked out over $200 for my ticket) but had a wonderful time regardless. The fact that I was seeing French and Saunders in the flesh was so exciting to me! Two people that I've watched on TV for years and years and years were suddenly there, fifteen metres away from me on stage. THAT was cool. I love those moments! (I want to have a Ben Folds moment like that. Must google the availability of tickets!) So star-struck. They were larger than life, infectious, funny, generous with their audience and seemed to be having a genuinely good time (even though they must've done that show, word-for-word, for a year now!). I got a t-shirt. I wore it with pride on the way home from Melbourne. LOL.
We didn't have much money so we didn't really do a lot else, just kicked around in our hotel on Little Bourke St and stepped out to soak up the Melburnian atmosphere around the streets. Tried to go to the Salvador Dali exhibition, but it was packed, and then I tried to go to the Star Wars exhibition at Scienceworks in Spotswood, but the "helpful volunteer" standing on a shop corner designed to help tourists didn't really know how to get there and suggested that I take a free bus ride instead. "Oh," I said, "Will it drop me off near Scienceworks?" He shook his head. "No, but it's free..."
On a health-related note, in addition to my head-cold (sore throat, sneezing, coughing, rivers of snot), I managed to get period pain, headaches, develop two enormous blisters on both heels that STILL haven't gone down (six days later), and slice my finger open with my razor as I was packing up all my bathroom products. Full marks to me in the "needy" stakes!
Had a great time. Recommend Melbourne.