Benjamin Britten Centenary Celebration

On Sunday, July 1, 2012, I was blessed to perform two duets at the 52nd NATS Conference in Orlando. The composer was Benjamin Britten, 1912-1976, whose music I’d only performed before in opera – as Florence and Nancy (two separate productions – Peabody and Opera North) of Albert Herring and in the chorus of Peter Grimes at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

I sang “Mother Comfort” with Beverly O’Regan Thiele, a fantastic soprano, and the opening of “Canticle II” with Steven Stolen, a wonderful tenor. We were accompanied by Hal Leonard’s vocal music editor, Richard Walters. The other singer on the program was baritone Kurt Ollmann.

I had been more nervous about the former, because I had more solo lines. However, as it turned out, the Canticle presented more challenges. Steven and I were the voice of God in this piece – consequently, everything had to be together. Onsets, phrasing, releases – our blend had to be impeccable.

And it was! It was such a fantastic experience. I got great feedback from my colleagues, those on stage and those in the audience. (Wanna know pressure? Sing for a roomful of voice teachers!)

And I didn’t have any performance anxiety – except for burping. I don’t know where that has been coming from. But I’ll take it over dry mouth, shaking, and mental fuzziness any day!

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