Cooling off after RCP

Sunday, March 3, 2013

shapeimage_2I have decided to take a break from practicing. The Richardson Chamber Players concert two weeks ago was a big success.Yet, as I wooped up to the high C at the end of Bachianas Brasilieras, I realized how much pressure I had been feeling leading up to this concert, and how relieved I was that I had gotten through it. Really, since the summer of 2011, when I started exploring new approaches to managing my menopause voice, I have been working hard everyday, practicing everyday, trying to work new technical habits into my vocal muscles. I knew this concert was in the future and I would have to rework every note of the Kurt Weil Frauentanz that I had learned in 1992, before the first summer at Marlboro. I would have to rework every note of Bachianas Brasilieras that I had sung a number of different times in the past. I tried to stay relaxed and keep an open mind even though the concert loomed closer with every passing day. My voice has felt so very different, I just hoped it sounded OK. Mostly I wanted it to be in tune and not wobbly. Michael has been supportive, even when pointing out certain spots in the passaggio where the vibrato is quite a bit wider than I would like it to be.

The rehearsals were a dream, as usual. I am so so lucky to be able to work with such amazing chamber music colleagues. That is always what makes RCP so special. Jayne Rosenfeld offered her fabulous apartment in the village to us for the Weil, and it was a delight to see all her quilting projects and art collection. Frauentanz, which I had never actually performed, and was not totally convinced was a great piece, turned out to be quirky and charming, and everyone was delighted to learn it. Michael drafted some PUO cellos for the Villa Lobos, and Alberto Parinni, old friend from the Continuum trip to Mongolia, expertly coached and guided them. I was healthy and in good shape for the most part. The big question was, would I have enough voice to sing a dress rehearsal and perform both pieces in one day?
It was a bit of a tight squeeze. The cuperto humming in the first movement of the Villa Lobos had felt great in the rehearsals, but by the performance it was not as free and easy as it had been in the morning. I could feel my low notes getting lighter and lighter as the second movement bounced along. I just didn’t feel I had the power or ping to project over all the instruments that I used to have. I was relaxed and calm during the performance, and enjoyed myself for the most part. Everyone seemed to like it, audience and colleagues. Some of my instrumental colleagues seemed surprised when I said this might be my last concert for a while. I would like to quit while I’m ahead, rather than overstaying my welcome. We’ll see.

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