Back to Basics

This year got off to a rather jolting start. I decided to listen to my CD from my September 23 recital.

My overall reaction?

I. Hated. It.

Now, I usually hate listening to recordings, at least initially, and then when I’ve had some distance, I listen and say, “Oh, that’s actually quite good.” And with a few years distance, I’ll say, “Damn. That’s good singing!” (I have the same reaction to papers and articles I’ve written – I read them a few years later and think, “Geez, I can write!)

But this was different. This was an “OH MY G*D WHAT HAVE I DONE?” kind of response.

I like to think I’m self-aware, and that I know when I’m off-track vocally. I’m not, at least right now, and I didn’t. And then I thought, “Have I ever been? Was I really as good as I thought?”

So I went back to listen to some of those older recordings and realized that yes, yes, I was. Correction: Yes, I am.

So I’ve figured out that I’ve fallen off the track because of my explorations into musical theater and cabaret. While I love those genres, especially the creativity of cabaret, I don’t think they’re benefiting my voice right now. And they’re not benefiting what I’ve been trained to do and what I have done, quite well, for many years. And they are not representing me as a singer. This is one of the reasons that I think I have fallen through the cracks in the last 9 years – I have not presented myself as a classical singer. People don’t know what I am and they’re not all that willing to find out. I need to re-present myself as the singer that I really am so that people will want to come hear me sing and will want to work with me because I’m really good at that style. I’m a great classical singer (speaking in the present tense, because I will fix this) and I’m just an okay MT singer. It’s time for people to know this. Again.

So effective immediately, although I will still continue to love cabaret and musical theater, and to teach it and to explore the best technical methods of doing so, in my own life, I am returning to my roots and going back to basics. I am going to practice the way I encourage my students to practice, focusing on getting my technical skills where they were when I got distracted by A Cudahy Carolers Christmas in 2003 (which, while it was fun, was probably the biggest career error I made).

Like Chris Mann said on The Voice the other night, “I’ve tried to shrink my voice down to fit in…. I decided for this show I was just going to sing like myself.”

Yeah. Me too.

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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