When the light hit them

Bette Midler: When the light hit them

“I came from nothing. I came from the most isolated place in the United States: Hawaii. And I spent most of my time reading books in libraries. And I had a mediocre education. But somehow or another I was mesmerized by the idea that someone would get up in a pool of light and be completely and utterly transformed. And transfigured. And beautiful. And that, when the light hit them, they had something not just to say—but something to reveal.

And I remember when I was a kid I saw Édith Piaf on television, and I saw her… I think it was the first time I’d ever seen a human being do what she did. Which was to completely unzip her skin and show her soul. And I… I never really recovered from it. I really felt that I understood what that was. And that I could do it.
Bette Midler, 44th KCHonors recipient

I don’t have much to add to this except that I was glad I found this quote from her acceptance speech on Facebook, because it was not televised on the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS. Which I think is a travesty.

Bette Midler is someone I would add to the list of my musical mothers. Her performances really define for me what is “curiously strong performing,” which I define elsewhere in this site as “Singing and/or performing that takes risks.”

(Oddly enough, I had a dream about two of my other musical mothers last night and it inspired me to create something, which I’ll talk about later.)

Specifically, I always think of her versions of “Superstar” and “Do you want to dance” as two examples of making a song your own. Karen Carpenter sang “Superstar” as a love-struck fan. It was very nice. But you thought, “Ah, she’ll get over it.” Bette Midler sang “Superstar” as a crazed groupie who saw too much into a one-night stand – and you thought, “That girl’s damaged for life.”

See for yourself and tell me what you think:

She shines a light. And she reveals. She shows her soul.

Bette Midler: When the light hit them
Photo from the Divine Miss M

It’s not enough to have something to say. What sets you apart is that ability to “unzip [your] skin and show [your] soul.”

Can you do that when the light hits you?


I can help you find that light.
But showing your soul is up to you.

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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