Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Madam Butterfly to The Angel in The Dream of Gerontius.....

It's coming around to 'new music' time. This always gives me pleasure and pain simultaneously! It is tough to find just the right repertoire for an individual voice, especially when the voices are largely those which do not wish to become professional singers, so my usual ' this is standard repertoire you MUST learn it'.......speech simply does not apply !

My ladies need to sing music which appeals to them, repertoire which will stretch and help technically but is right for them and totally enjoyable ! I head scratch a good deal, peruse endless volumes of music on the shelf in my music room and even look at online collections. It is a protracted activity and takes me for ever.

Finding rep for the younger aspirant professionals is altogether a doddle by comparison. When they want to do this for a living it is absolutely essential that they work through the said 'standard repertoire'. So what would I choose for them - indeed my young pupil M, who played Tessa so beautifully is coming over for a lesson tomorrow - she is away at boarding school so can only manage intermittent lessons- will be given much of her grade 8 music, which follows the time honoured formula of Opera or Oratorio, German Lied, English Song and Light Song. In effect this follows, in miniature, the genres of music which need to be deeply ingrained and well known to the soul of a singer !

Some of the challenging music I have already chosen for my lovely ladies is as follows - The Angel's Farewell from Gerontius - quite possibly one of the most sublime pieces of music known to man, Adele's Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus and 'Un Bel di Vedremo' from Madam Butterfly. The latter is probably the most difficult, always sung by a fully matured voice, yet portraying the feelings and emotion of a 14 year old girl.

This aria is one of the very few pieces which made me wish I was a soprano - or at the very least, be able to sustain the high tessitura long enough to sing it with any degree of authenticity.

There was no chance ! LOL


The most amazing production by ENO of Madam Butterfly I have ever seen. The boy puppet and puppeteers were beyond belief - even seeing these small photos brings a tear to my eye. If this particular production returns, go and see it an be utterly amazed, devastated and moved.



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