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My Word for 2023 – Tessitura

Top caption: What's my 2023 Word Middle: Graphic of blue haired woman in a blue top with her hands clasped under her chin Bottom caption: Tessitura

I’ve given some thought about the guiding word for 2023 and I’ve come up with one.

Tessitura.

Here’s the definition of tessitura, via Wikipedia:

In music, tessitura (Italian: [tessiˈtuːra], pl. tessiture, “texture”; English: /tɛsɪˈtjrə/) is the most acceptable and comfortable vocal range for a given singer or less frequently, musical instrument, the range in which a given type of voice presents its best-sounding (or characteristic) timbre. This broad definition is often interpreted to refer specifically to the pitch range that most frequently occurs within a given part of a musical piece. 

But I particularly like this phrase within the definition, which gives you an idea of why I chose it:

However, the tessitura of a part or voice is not decided by the extremes of its range, but rather by the share of this total range which is most used. Hence, it is referred to as the “heart” of a range.

I often refer to it as where a song lives. Or, when discussing a voice type, where your voice most wants to live (you could also refer to this as fach, which I’ve discussed before).

2022 was rough for me in so many ways. I’ve had to examine what’s important to me, as a person, a singer, a teacher, a colleague, a friend, a wife, and as a puppy/kitty mama.

I am coming to terms with where and how I want to live and where the heart of my existence is. I’ve lived at the extremes in the past, trying to do it all (or nothing at all, which was kind of what was going on at the height of the pandemic), and I want to find where the sweet spot is for me.

I may have to explore some options and decide what’s not for me. Some things I’ve done recently and are coming up include:

  • Yesterday I gave a presentation on vocal technique for Towson High School. It went really well, I think. I haven’t felt such a high as a teacher since I left Milwaukee (close at the last studio showcase in June – that was pretty special). I’d like to do more of that.
  • This weekend I am doing a recording of a new piece by composer Garth Baxter for vibraphone, Bb clarinet, and mezzo (that’d be me). I got the music last week, and I’m really excited about it. This is something new for me. Depending on how it goes this weekend, I would welcome more of this kind of work.
  • My WNO audition is on January 21 – I have my pieces picked out, and as soon as I’m done with the recording session, I will put more time on those (I already know them – it’s just a question of reworking it)
  • I have a house concert scheduled for May 21 at Paul Cassedy’s house in Baltimore (private event). This will feature the songs from Music’s Path, which I recorded recently for Garth’s CD Ask Of Me What the Birds Sang,

    as well as other songs by Irish poets that I was supposed to sing in a concert in March 2020 (I think we know why that didn’t happen). My pianist for the recording was Andrew Stewart; my pianist for the concert will be Michael Sheppard.
  • I’m going to be an adjudicator for the Maryland Thespians Festival next Friday, January 13, at UMd-College Park. I loved adjudicating at WSMA, and I’m looking forward to this. Hopefully, this might lead to more adjudicating (other than NATS).
  • I’m teaching myself Portuguese on Duolingo in anticipation for a vacation in April and May, and I think I’m doing pretty well – better than I expected. Perhaps more language learning is in my future! (Or maybe I’ll learn some music in Portuguese….???)
  • I’m coordinating an event for MDDC NATS for World Voice Day, April 16.

Things I’m interested in doing more of:

  • Voice acting. I’ve wanted to do this for years. My main concern is where I can do it where I don’t have street and dog noise. (I asked for a soundbooth for Christmas but all I got was this Apple Watch – which I’ve asked for for the last three years, so that’s more than okay.)
  • Cooking – I look back at my FB posts from about 2008-2012 and I was cooking a lot more than I have been in recent years. I just got a subscription to the New York Times Cooking section and I’m being a little adventurous.
  • Cabaret – but where, now that Germano’s is gone?
  • More content on YouTube and … maybe … gulp … on TikTok?
  • Directing – I may be sending out a proposal to a local company tomorrow. (If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.)
  • And lastly – I’m writing a book. I started out wanting to be a writer, before singing grabbed me, and perhaps it’s time to live that dream again.

What will be my sweet spot? What will be my heart? What will be my ….

Say it with me….

Oh, and BTW, I’m considering changing the title of this blog to tessitura. I haven’t decided just yet if I’ll change the URL or just the title – so stay tuned!

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?

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