Friday, May 7, 2010

Mozart Requiem

I haven't written about the Mozart concert that I did last week. A few reviews came in today, from interesting sources. You can read the official newspaper review by clicking here (with thanks to my brother for compiling it into a readable format), and a review written by a jazz musician on The Canberra Jazz Blog here. (My friend's dad is the President of the Hobart Jazz Club. Wonder if they're friends?)

My thoughts?

I can only comment on the Requiem, as I didn't see the first half.

For me, personally, singing with an orchestra is an immense privilege, and I am always in awe and terrified of the fact. There is no greater feeling, as a singer, than to know that you have a safe and secure music bed beneath you in the form of a great collection of intelligent and talented musicians. I feel so lucky to have been able to sing solo with two orchestras now.

Having said that, obviously, I am extremely inexperienced singing with orchestras. I also have never heard a recording of me singing with orchestras, so I have no idea what it's like. The organiser of the Mozart concert is sending me a recording of the concert, for which I'm very grateful. I would dearly love to hear how my voice carries with an orchestra (and particularly whether my sound is in metric harmony with the orchestra), and I'd also like to hear how my voice carries in Llewellyn Hall, given that I will be doing a recital there next month.

The hardest thing about that concert was the fact that we could not see the conductor. I suppose, if I want an operatic career, I'm just going to have to get used to that. I had to rely on my ears, and all I could hear were the violins. My inner metronome is languid at the best of times! I know there were moments when I was probably behind the beat, but I couldn't really hear it. An interesting experience, in that regard.

I thought that we four soloists sang the work well, considering our age and experience. All four of us are students at the Australian National University. It was good of the orchestra and choir to take a gamble on four young, inexperienced singers. The oldest of us is 29, and the youngest, 21. Our voices are nowhere near as developed as professional singers in their thirties and forties, and I certainly haven't located the inner womanly oomph to be able to project an enormous sound to a crowded hall. I hope to rectify that in years to come. I figure I have the time... I'm 25. And I'm working my ass hard to become the best singer that I can be. I am my own worst critic, and am very aware of my own faults.

One of those faults is something that I've been working on for years, and need to work a lot harder on. I wrote previously about my knees. (Dislocating, operations, laziness, physiotherapy, clinical pilates.) My knees are incredibly weak at the moment. I can't stand still in any shoes except the ones that will contain my court-shoe orthotics. Ridiculous. My knees lock and unlock, shake frequently, and they've often given way and I've toppled. I think it's worse because I haven't found any clinical pilates to do in Canberra yet. The muscles are wasting away. Again. Anyway, my teacher commented that I need to wear far more glamorous shoes onstage. Didn't help that Ellen was wearing four- or five-inch platform heels! God, they were gorgeous shoes. I have shoe envy! I can't wear anything like that. I performed in stiletto heels once (in January of this year, actually), and I have never been so terrified onstage. I literally thought I was falling backwards the whole time. I... cannot tell you how I got through that performance. I have never been so glad to get offstage!

Overall, I thought the Requiem went well. The choir was a great unit of sound. I was really impressed with them. The orchestra members were lovely and played well. It was a positive experience for all involved, and, again, I'm very grateful that I was given the opportunity to sing. I was nervous, but I did my best. As my dad always says, that's the most anybody can ask of me.

Here are some photos from the night.

Me, with the mezzo-soprano soloist, Ellen Malone.

A silly moment in the dressing room!
Back: Robert Shearer (tenor), Daniel Brinsmead (baritone).
Front: Ellen Malone (mezzo), Pamela Andrews (soprano).

At the after party! My lovely Lucinda, with myself and Dan.

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