Thursday, 9 May 2013

Stay Frederic Stay !

Another teaching week done. How time flies and how soon are exams, festivals and shows crowding in upon me ! For so long these events all seem so distant, then I wake up one morning and realise we are talking just weeks away, and lots of work still to be done!

I had a brilliant session last night with my lovely mezzo 'Prince Charming' Frederick M, and her counterpart gorgeous Mabel, L. They finally realised that the big love duet in Act Two of Pirates needed to be taken apart, worked upon, and then gradually knitted back together again, before either they had learnt it not quite correctly as individuals, and putting it together would be a nightmare, or time had flown by, and a fortnight of cramming just won't cut the mustard !

We fair slogged at it for almost two hours, and by the time they staggered out of the door I believe it was almost there. It is such a wonderful moment in the show. One of the few truly honest and real sections, and I love the way it moves through so many emotions and changes of mood. The recit begins with the misunderstanding of Frederic's birthday, and the realisation that he was born in a leap year and so will not reach the age when he can get out of his contract with the Pirate King for some forty years. By which time he has lost his love, and therefore his reason for living.

He is angry, and Mabel is firm and strong, only having an emotional wobble when he sings 'He loves thee - he is gone'.

Both of the young ladies playing the two roles are terrific. This duet will be a strong and defining moment in the show. They both show such intensity, and they both bring such individual and highly refined skills to this moment, and sparks will fly between them - quite over and above their beautiful voices.

They blend so well, and that took me by surprise if I am honest. I was not sure how the colours of each voice would mix, but perhaps the identical teaching has given them the same vocal resonance and the same focus within the vowel.

One I have taught for over half her life, and the other for about three years, but the fact that I approach all my teaching with the same basic method means that their techniques are the same, only their voice type and timbre is unique. Of course, the most important thing is that they bring themselves to the duet. I could teach people for decades and give them a solid and reliable technique, but without the singers' own truly special and entirely personal imput, the whole musical moment would be little more than a vocal exercise.

These two talented singers will send shivers up and down my musical spine, and there won't be a dry eye in the house. Most likely including the two of them !

It is such a privilege to work with such talented and sensitive young performers.


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