Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Miss Baggott - The Little Sweep - Britten

It's been an interesting week weather wise, and in this part of the world travel is very tricky when the snow falls and the wind howls ! Thankfully the wood stove chunters on all day and we stay warm with a boiling kettle in the kitchen ! How all electric houses cope I dare not imagine !

Yesterday I had a great lesson with N, the younger sister of L who went off to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama last September. She is attending Song School this year and we have chosen, as her 'Monday' operatic day the fantastic Britten aria sung by Miss Baggott. What a marvelous name for the battleaxe housekeeper in the opera The Little Sweep ! The music is wonderfully descriptive, sharp and jagged, angry and silly all at once, interspersed with moaning short phrases which say 'Oh my poor feet'! I love it, and so does N. She has conquered the first section beautifully and now she must tackle the second half in which the accompaniment seems almost designed to put the singer off, or perhaps add to the unpleasantness of the character !

Miss Baggott is a classic harridan, and it will be a bit of a first for the gentle and sweet N who finds it quite hard to be horrid ! The girl must learn !! Actually playing the bad and wicked character is much more fun that the 'nice' guy, and verges on the cathartic in many ways. You can rip into someone, be fizzing mad at them and say unkind things quite legally, and nobody takes offence as they know you are just a terrific actor !

It doesn't get much better than that !


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