Sunday, 26 February 2012

When I am laid, am laid in earth.....

...squeeeeeeeee!!! ♪♫♫♪♫♪♫♪ !!!!!

Ahem.....sorry about that, normal transmission is now resuming.....

Yes my friends, I have secured the part of Dido and to say I am excited would be the understatement of the year!

Right enough excitement.... Ah, ah, ah Belinda, I am press'd with torment.........

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


I had my audition for Dido and Aeneas today. My favourite opera and one which I know very well having studied it at high school. It turned around my perception of opera and allowed me to open my ears to singing that was greatly different to the angelic but small voices of the girls in the choirs I belonged to at the time. 

My choir is doing a concert performance of D&A in late April and all solo parts are being done by choir members. Obviously the plum role is Dido, and in other circumstances I wouldn't even get a look-in, but there are no dramatic sopranos in our ranks and for once my voice has sufficient weight, compared with others, to be considered. I also threw my hat in the ring for Belinda as in general terms it is more suited to my voice. If I were to get either I would be thrilled but I'm secretly harbouring a yearning for Dido, as it likely the only time I'll ever get the opportunity to sing the full role. I want to imperiously dismiss Aeneas with a dramatic gesture and an 'Away! Away!' that bounces off the walls. 

I think the audition went ok. I probably rushed a little in some places where I could have allowed more space but overall I was happy. I should know by the weekend. Please cross fingers, toes, eyes etc for me :)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Can you wear a nice dress and breathe too?

One thing that always causes me some angst in relation to performing is clothing. Singing nude is not an option although I'm willing to bet there are some opera directors out there that would love to figure out a way to get some of their stars to do it  - probably with Katherine Jenkins in mind. (Please don't write furious messages telling me off for calling her an opera singer, I know she is not but the people out there who try to think up new ways of making money don't care about the distinctions much less the quality of her singing).  So when the choice is mine, how do I make that choice? 

Firstly, and rather importantly, I have to be able to breathe. Not just ordinary every-day breathing but deep, lung-filling, get-me-through-the-long phrase breathing. Now that I am learning to relax and breathe fully and without restraint, this means that anything too tight round my midsection is out. 

Next, there is the problem of legs. If the dress is too short the audience is distracted, too long and you risk doing a face-plant as you regally ascend the few steps to the stage/platform.  I also have another leg problem - they shake. Invariably about half-way through the aria/art song/lied I'll feel them start to tremble. Doesn't matter if I'm feeling completely relaxed and calm, away they go like there's a seismic tremor occurring directly beneath me. So a reasonable length of dress is a useful disguise.

So how about 'the girls'? Anything too low cut and the audience will be fixated on your cleavage, waiting in a combination of anxiety and interest to see if you will have a 'wardrobe malfunction' as you take in the enormous lungful of air required to see you through the third coloratura bit of the Mozart 'Alleluia'.

What about shoes then? Too high and you risk falling off them, too low and you can look a bit mumsy. Earrings? Too dangly and/or sparkly and they distract the audience. Bracelets? They might jingle in the the wrong key. At least with my short hair I can't go too wrong. (As an aside, I yearn for long hair that I could curl, put up, put down - I think it gives you more options).

So the other day I bought a dress. It doesn't look like this:

But it does look like this:

I may not look even a quarter as glamorous as KJ but I bet my audience will concentrate on my singing and not my appearance. What do you reckon?