As this extremely busy time of the year continues, I finally had some time to sit down and write to you a little about what I've been up to!
My last blog post was about this incredible project Maria de Buenos Aires which has been going fantastically! All our shows sold out after the premiere and this will be the final weekend of performances at the Vaults Theatre in London and the critics have loved it in all its weirdness and surrealism!
The other project I'm currently also undertaking is a U.K. Tour of Puccini's La Bohème, an opera I sang for the first time last November in London. Having the chance to revisit the role of Marcello a second time in less than a year is incredible! La Bohème has always been one of my favourite operas as an audience member and I feel really happy that my voice has evolved in a way that allows me to sing one of my favourite characters in that opera.
Revisiting a role is always a good opportunity to re-learn it and try and approach it with different ideas and renewed knowledge. People often ask me if after I've sang a role it stays in my memory indefinitely and the truth is that while most of it sinks in, I always have to spend at least 2 weeks before rehearsals start of daily "reminding work". Also, because the voice doesn't fully stabilise until we reach our mid-30's, this revision work is also a great opportunity for me to reflect on recent technical developments and try and apply them to a role I've sang before.
For my second go at Marcello, one thing that I found immensely helpful was to watch the DVD I recorded with my singing teacher Laura Sarti about the fundamentals of singing (you'll be able to have a little peek on the website I just linked above), and trying to almost relearn the role going back to the fundamental principles of singing Bel Canto: purity of tone and set aside some of the different vocal shades I found for the role when I first sang it. This allowed me to discover newer and more interesting colours and it also made my life much easier in some trickier parts so, all-in-all, I feel like my interpretation of the role has really improved this second time around and that feeling of progress is incredibly rewarding.
This going 'back-to-basics' type of work is especially crucial when you've got a tour ahead of you because it refreshes the very fundamental principles of Vocal Technique which allow you sing competently even when you're not having a very good day because you're tired or a little bit under the weather. Traveling the country to perform is always tiring, no matter how well and how carefully you plan your journey and Regent's Opera has been great in organising accommodation and rehearsals. However, you have to organise your travel in the less exhausting way possible and, what I personally find more difficult, try and stay away from bad road food. It's very easy to eat poorly while traveling because... Let's be honest: who doesn't crave the comfort of a chocolate bar after 4h on a train, right? Exactly! Other than that, the same principles apply: keeping our hydration levels high at all times, making sure we rest enough and especially, try and keep stress at bay by planning journeys with enough time to spare so that we're not running and stressing to make it to our train.
Obviously the upside to touring is that you get to see a great deal of this pretty country and perform in places where the landscape looks like this!
Another thing I've been trying to for this tour is doing this "Marcello goes to..." photo series where I take a selfie in every location we perform at. Sometimes we get so focused on the performance aspect that we forget to resister we've been to these places and with such good cameras in our pockets, it's silly not to make a token of those memories. Below are the Dumfries and London pics!
Our next show is this Sunday in Radlett near London, but there are more performances coming. You can check the dates here and, as usual, it would be lovely if you could make it to one and come and say 'hello' in the end!