My goodness where has the time gone. I can’t believe my time here in Prague is almost halfway over, I feel like I am running to try and catch up with the past few days.
Unfortunately there is nothing very interesting to report about the past two days, but work. I have had many hours of coachings, lessons, and master classes, which is just jam packing my head full of information, things to change, tweak and work through. A fantastic reminder that an artist’s work is never truly done.
The days are divided with sessions made up of classes with Maestro Richard, Martin, our dramatic coach, and two additional coaches, an Italian coach and a homework pianist. Each person receives multiple 45min slots throughout the day and when we are not singing we watch others at the masterclasses.
Yesterday I started my day off nice and early with Italian, our coaches name is Marie and she is absolutely lovely. She doesn’t speak much english so we communicated mostly in broken italian. Funny enough, I was the first session of the day so Marie kindly offered to make me a czech coffee……… I will be honest I know it was coffee, because she said so, but wow. Pretty sure I drank straight up caffeinated sludge, would not recommend it.
Later was my first acting session with Martin, he is quite a character. Since he also does not speak much english he has a translator to help explain exactly what he wants. I sang my gala piece for him, which was then picked apart to pieces. This may sound awful, but it is what we do. We prepare something and then get scrutinized so we can improve, and grow. He definitely has his own opinions about opera characters, which is refreshing. Working with europeans I forget how helpful it is to have a language barrier because everything has to be said so bluntly. There’s really no time to offend which is great, I don’t have to second guess when he says, you’re boring, or overacting or stop talking to the floor. It’s the small things…..When I left my session Martin asked me what I would sing the in our next session……… and the following conversation ensued
Martin… “So you will sing Rosina tomorrow” (Una Voce Poco Fa, The Barber of Seville)
me…”How about I sing O Quante Volte? Its great”
Martin….“So you will sing Rosina tomorrow”
me…”Or I could sing O War Ich Schon? From Fidelio that is a good piece”
Me…”Well Rosina is old I would love to work on Fidelio….”
Martin…”Ok, ok, Fidelio….but if there is time Rosina”
Guess who was singing Rosina at ten am this morning.
It all worked out in the end, turns out his production of The Barber of Seville has been running the past 13 years in Prague and across Europe so if there is anyone I should be working on this particular piece with its him. He was so insightful and gave me a completely different perspective on the character and how I should be interpreting her. So in the end… “I sing Rosina”.
Sidebar about later today. As I have said before many of the singers here speak multiple languages, including several americans. Try and follow this…….towards the end of today one of the singers Stephen, was speaking in German, to Martin who can understand German, but not speak it, Martin would then speak czech to the translator who would speak english to Stephen, who then would speak in German and round and round it went for 45 minutes. Only to then be followed by another singer Sydnee, who spoke french. So Sydnee would speak in French to the translator who would speak in Czech to Martian and then back again, but she would switch her responses from French to English. I am not sure I got anything out of the last two hours, but the realization I really only speak american.
Yesterday evening after a long wonderful day I went to Smetana Hall to watch the Prague Symphony Chamber Orchestra play. We ended up walking to the concert from our rehearsal space which was great. Due to being close to the rehearsal hall I have been kept to one part of the city, so the walk was fabulous. The hall was breathtaking as you will see in a few of the pictures, and the chamber orchestra was lovely as well! It was one of those moments I don’t think I will forget.
Tomorrow is our last day of coachings and masterclasses and Saturday is our first round of auditions… so a few stressful days ahead. I hate days like today because I truly don’t know where I stand amongst the singers. I feel that I am working hard and trying to put into practice everything they have been asking of me, but unfortunately in the end, there are not enough slots for everyone. I don’t say this to be dramatic or depressing just that I am anxious to have it done. Basically this whole week is an audition and in some way or another, so the pressure amongst us singers is starting to show……. we are all feeling it. So on that note I will leave you with this…
“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable”