Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Countess and the Camel

Left Paradise early this morning (well early for the 'me' who relocated, and is not braving the early morning commute, thank the Lord!) and 10 hours later we are comfortable and well fed at the house of my oldest friend who had the birthday party concert!

There are a certain amount of nerves in the ether, but we do not sing until saturday, so tomorrow will be a day of rest and relaxation, undoubtedly combined with a fine Whitby fish supper, and the good company of an old pupil of mine who is bringing some of her students to the competition - I am like a vocal Granny, with
1st, 2nd and 3rd generation singers in tow and whilst it also makes me feel a little decrepit, mostly I buzz with pleasure at the sense of full circle, and continuity.

The young woman who is bringing her pupils, was a student of mine in London 12 or 13 years ago. Sensitive and astonishingly artistic, she played a most touching Countess in a youthful Marriage of Figaro I produced for a small professional music festival in West Sussex. She sang the role with such liquid tone quality, the Countess's major aria, 'Dove sono' in Act 3 was a beautiful and quite ethereal rendering for one so young, which I can still hear if I shut my eyes and listen.

Figaro is such a great opera at every level. The youthful singer can bring the qualities needed to give life, enthusiasm, spice and zest to the characters, and more mature singers can bring the depth of life experience. Both versions are perfect in their own world and at their own size. Aspirant young singers, in the hands of a safe teacher can sing mostly anything as long as it is always coached with care and nurturing. Size definitely does not matter in terms of developing voices. Decibels do not rule!

On a slightly odd note, in our long travels today we crossed the Pennines on the A66, and much to our delight and complete surprise, we saw a lone camel in a field ! I thought I was losing the plot, but it was real, and added an air of the surreal to an otherwise sane and rather straightforward journey! What is a camel doing in deepest Northern England? Well obviously it was put there to entertain the excited and delighted small chap in my car, who now probably wants to sing about a 'lonely camel' on saturday instead of the 'kangaroo'!

Now do I know any songs about a camel - or should I write one ? What rhymes with 'hump'......................

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