Day 2 – Talkin’ Shakespeare

So today’s class covered:

  • Session II New information and experiential work connecting the technical trainings of actors, singers and dancers
Specifically, we began the day with Ashtanga-based yoga with sound. 

THAT WAS SO COOL. 

I have done yoga before, including a particularly annoying experience with Bikram yoga (there was a Groupon, and I don’t mind heat) where the teacher made me feel totally uncomfortable because certain physical limitations (knees) kept me from being able to reach back and touch my heels while leaning backwards. I had pretty much decided that I simply couldn’t do and didn’t enjoy yoga.

Till today. As I mentioned yesterday, the experience of moving while making random sounds was incredibly liberating vocally. Sopranos who have never been comfortable in their lower registers suddenly found Mother Earth. Mezzos who have had issues getting through the upper passaggio (that would include me) were able to access whistle register pitches with no limitation. 

Today I experienced ease getting into poses that have been impossible for me before (although I still cannot reach my heels, but it didn’t matter). Doing specific yoga poses while yelping and whooping and whimpering like a puppy felt organic in all aspects.

After our morning break, we watched a DVD of scientific research done by Dr. Melton showing the activation of the abdominal muscles in a variety of classical and non-classical styles. Again, IT WAS SO COOL. 

And in the afternoon, Dr. Melton passed out three Shakespearean sonnets and we discussed iambic pentameter, standard American practice for performing Shakespeare, and phrasing. Like yesterday, we stood in a circle and read the sonnets, although this time not playing and deconstructing the text, but rather going for the appropriate diction, shaping of the phrases, and using the language to convey the humanity of the characters.
When my love swears she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not t’have years told;
    Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
    And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

— Sonnet #138, William Shakespeare

(Did I mention that it was SO COOL?)

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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