Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Mighty Big Difference

I think I finally understand the difference between my abilities as a musician and other singers' abilities. I have no master's degree and I've never attended a YAP. Before, these things really didn't matter, and I would get easily irritated with those singers who could only talk about which programs they attended. What does it matter, I thought? Where are you singing next, as that's what matters. Well, now I know why it matters. It matters because of Mozart.

You can't hide in Mozart. Everything is incredibly exposed. The quantity of recitative in Figaro alone would make up the duration of another composer's entire composition. Because I didn't study Mozartean recitative as an undergrad or in graduate school and I didn't have a chance to work out its difficulties in a YAP, I utterly suck at it. Apparently, my Italian isn't good and I have no musical flow. I am missing some key skill, consequently, that makes learning and rehearsing Mozart excruciating for me and annoying to those around me.

Since Mom died, I've been hugely struggling with focus. I simply don't seem to be able to concentrate for long periods and I have very little desire to do anything other than spend time with my family. While preparing for this role, I did something I've never done before: I missed four pages of music I should have learned. I didn't realize my mistake until our first music rehearsal, where my sightreading attempts when it came to those pages was disastrous, and I may as well have been unprepared for the entire show for how it made me look, even though the rest of the opera was off book. I'm ashamed of my unpreparedness, but I'm more alarmed at my response to it. I, of course, came home and immediately started learning, coached the missed music the next day and worked very hard to get it memorized, but I still felt out of sorts and incapable of setting my mistake aside and moving forward. I got sick, probably from the stress, and I lost my voice, and I would have far rather quit than keep going at that point. Now, every time I sing the music, I feel thick and unresponsive. I can't seem to get my brain completely around it and I just want to move on and come back to it later, but it doesn't work that way, so my incompetence inconveniences the other singers around me as we have to repeat my scenes. Now I'm tired and depressed and the plumbers are coming first thing tomorrow morning to redo our entire house, so I'm anxious about water in addition to everything else.

I have come to a realization about all of this from the last week. I wonder how much longer I will keep singing. My joy in it is fading greatly, but what I can't tell is if it's from grief or a true desire to move on. I'm hoping that will become clear as time goes on, so now all I can do is work harder than I have the energy to do and hope it all works out.