Monday, April 25, 2011

Dido and Aeneas hits West Bay Opera!

Photo: Cathleen Candia as Dido and Zachary Gordin as Aeneas

I'm gearing up for a great double-bill! The baroque masterpiece Dido and Aeneas (FINALLY as Aeneas, after having sung both Dido and the Sorceress back in my countertenor days...), and La vida breve, which is a sadly neglected opera, full of passion and incredible music. Conducted by Jose Luis Moscovich, and stage direction by Ragnar Conde, with an incredible cast.

I'm really excited to be doing another production among friends. West Bay Opera (Palo Alto, CA) is a company that is very dear to me, and one that deserves an outpouring of support from the community for its outstanding productions. I performed Germont in my first production of La traviata with them last season, and was shocked by the magic that this company makes happen, on a modest budget, and with the help of a small army of volunteers. Truly world-class opera, presented in a wonderful small theater, and accessible to all. 

I'm starting the rehearsal process tomorrow, and look forward to meeting new cast mates, and seeing old friends. I'll keep you all posted, here, with updates on how it all shapes up.

Please help get the word out, and get your tickets ASAP.  Go to West Bay Opera and click on the "Tickets" button. 

Thanks! Drop me a line if you are coming, and I hope to see you there! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Begin at the Beginning...

Let's start off where I begin with myself each time I sing, or whenever I start working with a new singer, at the beginning.


It really matters. Really. It's the material a singer makes art on, like canvas for a painter. Yet, somehow, it often gets neglected as its own entity in the "singer's machine". To a great singer, air has mass, weight, texture. You breathe it in, and it is part of you, and then you give it back to the world carrying your song.

In pursuing the study of singing, and the training of the voice as an instrument, the focus is often drawn to the outside - the end result of what is done with the breath. Students often miss the point here, listening to feedback and trying too hard to alter the path or form of breath that has already escaped their control. Muscular response follows, tricking them into thinking that force or effort is involved in control. I offer that we start the study of singing, and indeed our own awareness of our voices, from the inside. How do you embody air in the process of singing? Do you fear it? Do you hesitate it? Do you ignore it completely? Can you feel it? Can you own it? Can you share it freely, without shame? Think about it.

This is the beginning.