What cabaret means to me

This weekend, I was part of a cabaret performance entitled LoveSICK at An Die Musik on Charles Street in Baltimore. The theme of the show was dysfunctional love songs – whether the songs were inherently dysfunctional or we just performed them with a twist (and believe me, some of them were quite twisted) – and I sang them with Dyana Neal, Steven Lampredi, Jim Knost, and Sean Powell, who also served (brilliantly) as our pianist. We had a full house of wonderful, appreciative folks and it was a great place to sing!

What I like about cabaret is the avenue for self-expression it provides. It’s not about being background music, singing songs for people drinking and talking at private tables who really don’t care what you’re doing. In fact, I will split with the traditional definition that the audience has to be seated at individual tables for it to be considered a cabaret and not a concert. Maybe the former setting is a cabaret setting, but I think cabaret can exist as a genre that is not defined by its setting.

I just read an article that said cabaret “is an overlapping group of constantly mutating forms of performance that can’t be pinned down.” It is also referred to “transgressive, upending everyday ideas about art and bodies, politics and sex, provoking as well as pleasing. It loves you but sometimes it likes to see you squirm.” This goes along with my friend Michael Tan’s post after our show as, “I laughed, I cried, I was scared, it became a part of me.” THAT’s what cabaret should do. Be funny, be vulnerable, be sexy, be challenging. And I want to do more of it. Here and elsewhere. NYC, Chicago, wherever. 

And maybe next year we’ll do another version of LoveSICK. LoveSICKER? LoveSICK, the Relapse? (That last one was Dyana’s suggestion – I kind of like LoveSICKER.)

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.

What do you think?