I’ve shared many aspects of my performance career, especially with respects to commercial acting and theater work. I will say, there is a lot that goes into being an actor. But, I wanted to put some emphasis on the preparation that goes into opera.
Every week, I meet with my accompanist and repetiteur, Constantine Grame, in Tarpon Springs for an hour. I get the opportunity to rehearse music with him and he, in turn, provides feedback and musical guidance with the pieces I’m working on. It’s certainly a real treat in my week, and allows me to sing uninterrupted.
I look forward to my coachings, as a formidable chance to sing. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, opera hasn’t fully recovered and unfortunately, the opportunities for live performance are scant. It’s extremely satisfying to sing my operatic repertoire for fresh ears and a fresh perspective. This will eventually be important for auditions.
As the fall commences, audition season begins for various opera companies and festivals. I want to go into this season prepared and grounded in my craft and technique. Opera singers are like athletes, in a sense, and we have to constantly and consistently reinforce our technique, which includes breath support, muscle strength, resonance, dramatic approach and musical accuity.
I wanted to include a video from one of my recent coaching sessions, to offer up an idea about the day-to-day maintenance of an opera singer. In this video, I’m rehearsing the french aria (Italian for song), Va! Laisse couler mes larmes from the opera Werther by Jules Massenet. The opera revolves around the love story between the eldest daughter of an aristocratic family, Charlotte, and the poet Werther. They were incompatible matches, largely due in part to their social and economic statuses of that time. Ultimately, their love story devolves into tragedy, as Charlotte is unable to marry Werther. The song addresses the sorrow and sadness of Charlotte’s painful realization (sung to her sister, Sophie) that she cannot be with the man she loves and that he no longer wants to live because of it. Constantine and I, as shown, attempt to show Charlotte’s pain and pathos in both musical and dramatic ways.
This is a beautiful piece and I hope you are able to gather the nuance from what I’m trying to achieve in my performance!