Opera Plus self-review

Today I had my MacDowell Club performance of the two Rossini concert arias. In the past few years, many of my performances and auditions have been compromised by performance anxiety which has frustrated me. It’s left me vocally dry, unable to unlock my breath, consequently affecting my legato and sostenuto. Sometimes I’ve gotten around it by emoting a whole lot at least to seem artistic. But sometimes, even that doesn’t work.

It has reminded me of when I was a legal secretary and would take pre-employment typing tests. Even though I could type at well above 80wpm, the minute that timer started, I felt as though I was numb, that I was out of my body, that the whole thing wasn’t real. And while I did well, I always felt that I could’ve done better, that my speed was good but my accuracy was not what I expected of myself, and that I would never be hired again. (And I always was.)

This didn’t happen today. As I wrote a few days ago, this was my return to operatic singing. I remember the last time I sang operatically and in Italian – it was 1999, Cosi fan tutte with Milwaukee Opera Theater (Dorabella). It was a great performance, but after that, I moved into my house in Tosa and really started to develop my studio, so that was pretty much it. I’ve auditioned for things in Italian, but performing? Nope.

Today, I felt, as I said before, at home in my classical voice the way I haven’t since Cosi. There was a sweet spot on stage that made me feel like “Hey, this is working! I don’t need to do anything but let it go!” And Carla Coonan played wonderfully for me. Even though she hasn’t accompanied a lot of singers, she was on the spot for everything I did.

So… no performance anxiety. No vocal fatigue. It’s kind of a miracle what your body will do for you when you give it what you need. In this case, what I need is Rossini.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up cabaret or musical theater. I’d like to work on Margaret in Light in the Piazza and perhaps Madame Morrible in Wicked, Emma Goldman in Ragtime (no? too belty?), and I still want to work with Ryan on cabaret rep. But this has to be part of my life. It just has to.

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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