Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Marjorie Thomas and Minghella - worlds apart but much in common.

I have just found out that the wonderful Minghella Madam Butterfly is returning for the end of the 2015/16 season ! How marvellous is that - I will most definitely go to see it again. It was seemingly the highest grossing production in the history of English National Opera - and I am not the least bit surprised. I was telling one of my ladies just yesterday that when I went to see it with Mary Plazas in the title role, the tears started falling down my cheeks from around ten minutes in to Act 1 and did not stop until the tabs came down after 10pm. A tour de force of emotion.

I was choosing more recital exam music yesterday and enjoying trawling through repertoire and finding pieces to fit into a programme of around 20 minutes......the art is to cover all genre bases within the space of that small window of time. This can be tricky in that some perfectly suitable songs and arias are simply too long, and take too huge a chunk out of the whole time length. It is almost like attempting to reproduce a full chronological recital in miniature !

I am quite good at this choosing business, and I rather enjoy the challenge If I'm honest ! There are some ultra standard songs which neatly show the ability to sing a genre, whilst not being longer than a minute and a half or so. One of these is the sublime An die Musik by Schubert - this is so well known and so heart warming that to get a good mark it must be sung really well, and with excellent breathing ! No cheating in the sweeping final rising phrases ! Another Schubert small and perfectly formed lied is Das Rosenband. A delightful tiny moment in time when the singer watches his young love sleeping and is transported to Paradise or 'Elysium'. This gentle yet passionate German lied is one I used over and over in recital, to fit neatly between two larger songs, and one which reminds me so much of my second teacher Marjorie Thomas who loved it and taught me how much more there was in this couple of pages than one would see on first hearing. She made me realise how much beauty there was in smaller music, and tiny moments of time - Madam Butterfly has so much of this delicate detail and care for 'the little things'.

Thanks Miss T !



Copy and paste the above link and read all about this remarkable lady with whom I studied for about five years, and to whom I owe a huge amount. She taught me so much repertoire and had such a wonderful way of explaining her feelings about music.



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