Saturday 11 June 2016

Do you have any Mozart?....ooh it's a while since anyone's asked me that.

I have not written for a while. I apologise. Take the apology whichever way you like. Am I apologising for not posting in such a long time or am I apologising for finally infecting your eyeballs once again with my musings? As that man on Big Brother says "You decide!"

It's not that I have had nothing to say recently, it's more that I have been so stupidly busy that my brain is frazzled and I have had trouble stringing sentences together in conversations with real, live human beings so trying to write anything coherent or vaguely interesting for you lot has been nigh on impossible. Anyway, despite still being ridiculously tired and my brain being permanently shrivelled to the size of a satsuma I now find myself in Costa in Hayes (first trip to this Costa - exciting), waiting for my friend so we can go for dinner. I have an hour to spare so I thought I would attempt a new post.

Much has happened over the past few months of radio silence. I have done innumerable auditions. One of many actually paid off and I have a short gig at the seaside coming up in the summer. About time too I hear you cry. It is a nice little job that I will tell you about either just before, during or after it happens but not now. Truth is I have been getting very close to getting many jobs over the past year but falling at the, literal, final hurdle (by that I mean I keep getting to the final audition in the process I don't mean I have been literally hurdling, I can't jump that high). I tend to come across as a likeable sort in the auditions but something stops people actually giving me the job. That said I am handling rejection like a trouper these days. No balling and wailing or tearing of clothes. I try to do an audition and then let it go until I hear (or don't) that they want to see me for a recall.

It is very easy to get carried away when auditioning. The more auditions you do for a specific job the more you plan how the job will fit into your life so by the time you find out you have not got the job you have worked out what you will do with your flat whilst you are on tour or what you are going to do with the spoils from that West End job you might get a contract on. I try really hard not to do this, sometimes unsuccessfully, and just think about crossing bridges once I get to them rather than thinking too far ahead.

So what has Mozart got to do with all of this I hear you bellow? Well this pertains to the day I had yesterday. For the second time in my career I did two auditions in one day and they could not have been more different. The first of the day involved me going to a lovely building near Paddington belonging to a man with the same initials as Burger King (only those in the "biz" need to know, or rather would be interested, in this little tidbit). The audition involved some very low singing and a bit of belting plus a smidgeon of very fabulous script. This was followed by my being asked to go to my second audition of the day and sing a Mozart aria! The situation was not ideal but I thought, hey I'll know if I can switch singing heads successfully in the space of 3 hours should the need arise again. If only I were akin to Worzel Gummedge with a different head for each singing style. Now that would be handy, if a little freaky too.

I have not sung an operatic aria in an audition in about 5 years so this was a shock to the system. Luckily I had been toying with a bit of opera while practicing over the past couple of weeks, weirdly, as there was no reason to think I would EVER sing opera again, but more weirdly the bit of opera I had been toying with was the Queen of the Night. Whilst at college I had messed about with this role but the high Fs had almost always eluded me (except when I had a cold, then I could sing it no problem) but during my warm ups whilst practicing recently I had been consistently hitting F#s so I thought let's give this dame another try. Lo and behold it worked - sometimes.

Anyway the reason I tell you this is I went to the audition armed with my non-Q of the N aria only to find that they were looking for a soprano and a mezzo and the soprano would need to sing Queen of the Night. Unfortunately, after the day of auditioning I had had there was NO WAY I was going to attempt to sing high Fs so I had to come clean and say I would not be able to promise to consistently hit those notes every night. This was not the time to lie and say I could do something and go away and learn how to do it. If they had wanted me to ride a horse I might have said "sure no problem" and immediately signed up for riding lessons. I have never ridden a horse in my life but I could learn. I can't, however, make my voice do something it does not want to do.

Fortunately all was not lost. What I actually elected to sing for the audition was Fiordiligi's "Come Scoglio" from Cosi fan tutte. I surprised myself when I opened my mouth to sing (there were no warm up facilities, which is fine, I am totally used to that now, so had no idea what was going to be emitted). The tone was so dark and creamy and didn't really sound like me. I liked it! I still hit all the notes, the coloratura was fast and even and I was strong to the end. I played Fiordiligi in 2002 in my final year at Guildhall and having not sung that aria for about 10 years I think I can honestly say I sang it better yesterday than ever before. So much so that it has made me think twice about the whole opera thing. Should I explore what I have now got and see if it is a horse I could get back on (metaphorical, we now know I can't ride a horse) or do I stick with my plan for world domination in the 40 something musical theatre character category?

Of course I have never been one for putting myself in a pigeon hole so I doubt I will start now and it was an interesting and very enjoyable day of auditions because of the diversity (not the dancing group that beat SuBo on BGT all those years ago). Long may the auditions continue and hopefully one of these fabulous auditions will lead to a fabulous job following my seaside jaunt this summer. Fingers crossed everybody!

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