My first foray into opera

After 2 classes, my Madrigals* teacher gave me a solo - she wants me to sing "Embarme dich, mein Gott" from J.S. Bach's Matthaus-Passione.

I am slightly skeptical - while I am very comfortable singing sacred choral music, my solos at church are usually on gospel songs, or my least favorite genre of music ever, contemporary Christian (blech). I always thought that was just because my voice is not well trained - I took voice lessons for a year or so in my early 20's, but I quit once I achieved my goal at the time, which was to smooth out the transition between my head voice and my chest voice - I used to have a range that turned whispery somewhere around G#, whereas I now have a strong range of nearly 2 octaves.

Anyway, I'm digging the Bach - it's a gorgeous piece. This is sung by Peter, when he realizes that he's betrayed Jesus 3 times before the cock crowed, just as Jesus told him he would. (Why is it sung by a contralto? I don't know. I think the contralto voice just sounds so mournful, perhaps that's why its a better fit than a countertenor.) It's a lot of work for me - I am really trying to focus on improving my breath control (I've been lazy, singing in a choir - I just breathe whenever I want to because there is always someone else singing) and feeling the emotions of the music and the lyrics.

But now I wish I could get in touch with one of my best friends from high school. Well, we didn't go to school together, we met at Wesleyan University's Center for Creative Youth - Greg was there for Music, I was there for Creative Writing. I'm not even sure how we met, but he was one of my very best friends for the remainder of my high school years. He lived in East Hampton, CT, about 10 miles away from where I lived in Hebron. He was a huge opera fan, which didn't make his high school years any easier.

He also loved to hear me sing, which I always appreciate - even my own family gets tired of listening to me from time to time, but when Greg and I went out anywhere, he would just ask me to sing one song after another.

We lost touch while he was in college - he went to Yale, and we spent a lot of time together his freshman year, but then he buckled down and I got married and had a kid, and then I moved and lost touch with him. I'll have to see if his parents still live in East Hampton - maybe they can give me his address, and I can let him know that I'm finally looking into opera, like he always wanted me to.

*The class is totally misnamed. We aren't doing a single madrigal so far - we're doing a Russian dirge that has a basso profundo solo that goes to low A flat (and friends, that is a low note) and Dies Irae from Mozart's Requiem.

No comments: