All of us Voice Fellows outside the palace balcony
I am not sure if I quiet accomplished this feat yet, however I feel like I am well on my way. I am going to catch you all up on the past 48 hours, as it has been a bit of a mad house. It is currently 9pm on a Tuesday night and my head is spinning with an overload of information.
Before I begin a brief update about the suitcases. I realized I really did not do an effective job explaining why in the world I had three massive suitcases with me. I had my carry on and one full size suitcase with my belongings and then two additional checked bags. These were full of items for the program! I volunteered to bring Becca some items from her home in Chicago, and bring over items she needed for the festival. So all our water bottles, papers, banners etc where in the extra suitcases! Fortunately, the suitcase that was really lost just had her clothing in it, so all the things we needed for day of the program arrived! The bag still lost well more on that later…..
Monday morning was rough, after the multiple phone calls throughout the night and early morning interruptions I did not get much sleep. I managed to make it to the palace, (our rehearsal home for the week), on time warmed up and looking fairly good! Thank goodness for concealer. We had breakfast catered and there was a brief reception before all 15 of us had the chance to sing for the Artistic Director, Maestro and the General Director of the program. I sang sixth, which meant around one pm. With all the commotion of the days before I decided to sing one of my old audition arias Una Voce Poco Fa. Unfortunately, I was quite nervous. Which means I sang decent, but in my opinion quite underwhelming. I received a nice applause but nothing amazing. Deep breath… As I have learned some days you have to accept that you are not always going to sing your best, but the good news is it’s day one, and I can only go up from here.
I managed to make some fast friends and went out to lunch with a few of them. Several of the singers here are now singing full time in Europe, some on fest contacts, some on guest artist contracts. Many of the singers here are really talented, I feel quite honored to be among them. After lunch we had a master class, which for those of you who don’t know. A masterclass is when several people are chosen to sing an aria (song) and then receive critiqued with all kinds of things from language to artistic interpretations. We will all have a chance to sing in different master classes throughout the week. I was just not chosen for day one, which was a blessing. I was still feeling disheartened about the first impression I had made. However, the masterclass was a little crazy because one of the coaches doesn’t really speak english so there was Russian Czech, German and English all being spoken, and yes sometimes all at the same time, so not only was I processing information, but my brain got quite a workout!
Later that evening a group of us went on a hour boat tour on the river downtown Prague. It was absolutely beautiful and I got some amazing pictures.
Meanwhile while I was out enjoying the sighs of Prague I got a phone call that the last suitcase had arrived at my apartment…….yes all take a collective eye roll…… Needless to say after a few panicked moments, and five phone calls later the last bag was finally dropped off with Becca at our rehearsal venue. Finally the drama with the suitcase ended! May I have an amen.
On the boat tour down the Vltava river
Prague at dusk… its so beautiful!
After the boat tour I grabbed some pizza with some of the singers and basically crashed as soon as I got home.
Today was good. Actually I would even go so far as to say great, minus the tremendous heat as the afternoon wore on. We started the morning at ten with everyone working and singing there gala pieces for the Maestro and each singer was able to watch the others. We each got around forty five minutes to an hour to work our pieces, it’s so informative to watch each singer work. This coaching is super important because it is the only time we will have with the conductor before our orchestra rehearsal on Sunday morning and the concert in the evening.
I sang around 2:45 this afternoon. I am singing Regnava Nel Silenzio for the gala, it’s Lucia’s first aria from Lucia di Lammermoor. You can check it out online, it’s about seven minutes long and a beast to sing. I was so nervous. Which is unusual for me, in fact I was so nervous I was shaking and had to do a lap around the floor to try and calm down. I blame lack of sleep and too much coffee. However when it was time to sing, I took a deep breath and tried to get to work. Once I got my nerves to calm down, I was really able to concentrate and make some progress with the conductor. It was really reassuring that I was not stopped for a lot of technical critique or language critique. We were able to focus more on expressing the character and style.There are now some definite tempo changes I am going to practice and rehearsal and a new cadenza that was thrown in as well.
Deep breath, I could finally take a moment and relax. I felt like I had given it my all, and really sang well. My voice was in much better shape and I was able to show some of the work I have been doing on the piece. After I sang we all took a break for a snack of macaroons, which were incredible I will add. While I was completely distracted by the food the artistic director came up to me and said,
“You impressed me today, yesterday no….. but today……you impressed me, bravissima Kathleen”.
I will leave you with that and you can end your day on a high note like me. Tomorrow more work and opportunities ahead, but I will talk more about that soon. Until then, for me it’s empowering to know you all are here. I truly cannot express how deeply grateful I am for this. Till tomorrow…
“Work hard in silence, let success be your noise”