A good week: Two performances – one for them, one for me!

This past Sunday was the annual high school showcase. This year I had decided to focus primarily on my juniors and seniors and go with more of a cabaret format. I wound up including a few sophomores after all but we still kept the program at 20 people total, which allowed us to go with a more intimate format and not have to pad the program in order to include everyone in enough numbers to warrant their recital fee.

It went really, really well. I wasn’t overwhelmed the way I was last year but I don’t think it was because of the performances. It was because the rep I chose was good, solid music that was entertaining and pleasant. We didn’t have “The ballad of Sweeney Todd” or the final chorus of Dialogues of the Carmelites (aka “The dead nuns’ chorus”) or any soaring opera arias, because that wasn’t the kind of show we did this year. We did a show that focused on American composers and allowed the singers to just sing without worrying too much about staging. There was some staging because we had to have some pretty pictures up there, but it was very simple and specific and consequently, very effective.

On Wednesday night, I sang with the newly formed “Trio con Brio” at the Italian Community Center. We did a 2-1/2 hour program (!!!!) of arias and show tunes. The soprano was Wendelin Lockett, the mezzo was ME, and the bass was Tom Weis, with whom I worked in Cosi 10 years ago. We were supported by the amazing Amanda Carnahan on piano – a lovely young woman who is doing her masters in the collaborative piano program at UWM. (Collaborative piano is the preferred term these days instead of “accompanying,” which relegates the pianist to a subordinate position instead of being an equal partner – which is what the pianist should be.) I definitely want to work with Amanda more often – perhaps on future studio recitals when Ryan is not available?

The program was great – it was wonderful to sing with 3 fantastic people who were not only fun to work with (which I knew would be the case going in) but with whom I could make some really beautiful music. We all blended well with each other and we were able to stimulate each other to make wonderful interpretive choices. The audience was small but enthusiastic and stayed for the entire show (which did include a 20 minute intermission). We have another show tentatively scheduled for August 8 on the Delafield Summerstage program, and I got a name from a friend of a contact to call for a high-end retirement community.

As far my performance – I still have issues with using reading glasses for ensemble numbers, which we chose not to memorize, at least not for this initial performance. I find it very difficult to emote wearing glasses. I memorized my solos although “I can cook” tripped me up at rehearsal (who’d have thought that not having sung a song for 10+ years would result in my forgetting the words?). So I typed up the words in a big font so that I wouldn’t have to wear the reading glasses. I did the same thing for our closing number, “Together wherever we go,” since I didn’t really need the music for that number. I may do that for the future, at least for a few pieces. I think I might look into progressive contact lenses later this year – like my glasses, which allow me to read and drive and function without having to change glasses. I think the time has passed for me to do Lasik – because I would STILL need to use reading glasses (unless they’ve developed a Lasik format that corrects presbyopia). Aging doth suck.

I’m on a break post-recital – I feel inspired to return to teaching and performing next week – and to start learning some new rep for myself!

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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