Equipment Experimenting!

May 17, 2020 — 68 Comments

This week George and I transported our courtyard into an Italian Piazza with an assortment of Italian songs and arias.

We performed:

Vaga Luna che inargenti (Bellini)
Me voglio fa’na casa (Donizetti)
O mio Babbino Caro (Puccini)
Danza, Danza fanciulla (Durante)
Libiamo ne’lieti calici (Verdi)
And a cheeky Encore!

We had a lot of fun preparing the repertoire for this week’s concert, as we revisited a couple of songs from 5 years ago as well as a couple of completely new pieces  😊

This week we also transformed our home into a recording studio with the help of a few pieces of kit, kindly lent to us from our friends Bob and Maya.

This allowed me to collaborate with Jenny Martins and Roger Paterson. Two wonderful colleagues, who I worked alongside last summer at Northern Opera Group in their production of Much Ado About Nothing. We decided to get creative during lockdown and challenge ourselves to record a duet from Act 2. Jenny kindly edited the piece together and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you.

Much Ado About Nothing Duet:

Jenny Martins (Piano)
Roger Paterson (Tenor – Claudio)
Charlotte Hoather (Soprano – Hero)

68 responses to Equipment Experimenting!

  1. 

    Wonderful Charlotte, your balcony concert is beautiful and heartwarming! Loved all your scenes!

  2. 

    A lovely duet, just spectacular all around. Thank you for sharing!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Thank you very much John, we appreciate your feedback 😊.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. 

    Love all this excitement! The performances and recording equipment. Keeping our spirits up by keeping yours up!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:39 am

      Exactly, Annette, it does keep our spirits up and keeps us practising to a deadline date and time!

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Beautiful!! Just A word enough to praise, 😄

  5. 

    I always like reading the comments

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:40 am

      I love reading comments not just here but on all my blog friends blogs, just such an interesting diverse group of lovely people.

      All my best wishes Alex,
      Charlotte

  6. 
    Timothy Price May 17, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    The collaboration duet is much ado about something wonderful. Love it. You all did a fantastic job, and Jenny’s editing was brilliant. Your balcony concert was beautiful with a nice Italiana flavor.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thank you, Timothy, I want to work on video film recording and specifically where to look, I’ve always been told not look directly down the camera lens because it can be too intense. I’ve lots of Italian repertoire that needs refreshing so watch this space 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 
        Timothy Price May 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm

        HI Charlotte. I disagree with looking directly into the camera. People are more engaging when they look into the camera. Although I agree that singing an entire opera looking directly into the camera would probably be too intense.

        If you both have phones that record video, you could place one phone directly in front of you and the other where you normally place it to get both of you in the frame. When you are singing you can look at the camera, off to the audience in the flats around you, directly into the camera, wherever the music takes you like you do in a theater.

        If you have a video editor (I use iMovie that comes with the Mac OS. I’m not sure if Windows has an equivalent) than you can splice clips together from the videos from the two different phone cameras and create a video with zoom ins and outs and the different camera placements. It’s a lot more work, but the results would be very nice.

        BTW I would suggest spitting off the best audio from one of the videos to use for the audio track, and build your video on that audio track. Then mute or remove the audio on the other clips you put into the video.

        Also, you could do a video of the your audience on their balconies before you start your performance, slowly panning back and forth and then you could work clips from that video into the final video. Just a few ideas for you.

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather May 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm

        Fabulous ideas Timothy, thank you very much, very thoughtful of you to do this for us, now to develop the technical skills, I’ll check out iMovie.
        I always tell George off for panning around to our neighbours on their balcony without their permission, he loves it and just wants people at home to feel the theatre of it all, it is like singing in a theatre with circle seating 😊, we’re very grateful for the support it is so good to be able to sing out loud and in public.
        Best wishes
        Charlotte

      • 
        Timothy Price May 25, 2020 at 4:13 pm

        The permissions thing can be tricky. You can slightly blur the audience or put on an effect on them if you don’t want details in people’s faces. Do you have a recording software you are using in your studio setup? If you are looking, I would suggest trying PreSonus Studio One 4 Prime. That’s the free version. I used it for a long time before I upgraded to Artist. Then I upgrade to Pro when Presonus had a super sale.

  7. 

    Great !!! I love your work and your creativity my dear ! Bravo à Toi et George ! Meilleurs pensées à vous deux !!!!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Thank you, Pascal, a lot of intense work Wednesday and Thursday last week as I’ve never learnt Me Voglio fa’na casa before and I’ve not sung a couple of the pieces for a long time, its been good refreshing old songs with the new technique I’ve learnt.

      Best wishes to you
      Charlotte

  8. 

    I think you and George are making great use of the down time. Looks like the equipment worked very well.

  9. 

    Just beautiful, Charlotte. The duet was magnficent!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Thank you, Noelle, and an extra thanks to you for organising an interview on your blog. We love making music together, George would obviously prefer a better piano 😊 and I had to draw a line when he thought having a baby grand in the living space would be better than a settee!

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    GRAZIE! GRAZIE!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Grazie mille Don, thank you and a multumesc from George 😊

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 

    Beautiful performances! All excellent repertoire choices ❤️ Thank you for sharing !

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Thanks for listening Katy, really happy you enjoyed the repertoire 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 
    Amritpal Singh May 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Good afternoon my dear Hoather

  13. 

    What a great collaboration, loved it 🙂 xx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Thank you Christine, did your birds chirp along? I hope so. 😊

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Absolutely Beautiful

  15. 

    We almost managed to watch your Balcony concert in peace… but you were just unwrapping your cornetto when the phone rang. 17-month-old Kite was not going to ring back at the end of the concert and he nearly broke my heart because he couldn’t understand why he could see and hear us and not touch us. I did catch up later. Great programme – thinking of Bellini, do you know i Capuleti e I Montecchi? I love every note of this opera (we saw Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca sing this at the ROH and they made a great recording). What a marvellous idea to do the Much Ado duet long distance, that must have been very difficult, but it worked. I didn’t know this opera at all, but the duet is delightful. More of this kind of collaboration?

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Aww bless, I can’t believe Kite is 17 months the time has flown, the hardest thing about this lockdown is not being able to hug family and friends. I learnt Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet for performances last October, I’m looking at new arias at the moment so….I enjoyed the performance of this opera with Northern Opera last year the cast was super and Roger is really easy to work with. Jenny did all the work on piecing the video together. I’ve been approached about another more choral collaboration and I’d love to do some more duos or trios and multi-instruments. Refreshing old repertoire with new technique has been a good challenge and discipline and it’s keeping us busy. We’re hoping our lovely neighbours and online viewers will tell us their favourite songs and arias at the end and we’ll try to record them professionally for a new CD.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    Dear Charlotte, you are stunning. Chapeau! 🎩Just watched the Balcony Concert and it is so perfect. Beautiful. Congrats and much love, always ♥️😘

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:46 am

      My friend, thank you it’s good to hear from you I hope that you are keeping safe and well.

      All my very best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    You and George truly took us to Italy Charlotte and closing my eyes, with a cup of Lavazza, I could really imagine I was in St. Mark’s Square except the coffee was much cheaper! Or perhaps Verona, where I saw Aida and Macbeth many, many years ago. I never made it to La Scala 😕.
    I loved the “cheeky” encore, and the duet with Roger and a Jenny too.
    A suggestion: would George like to give us a piano solo sometime? He’s clearly a talented pianist; perhaps a short Chopin, Debussy, one of the Scenes from Childhood or, appropriately, something from Enescu 😃.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:47 am

      I love Verona and St Marks Square, we had booked our mini-moon (short honeymoon) in Venice at the beginning of June and had to cancel it ☹. Glad you enjoyed the encore we just wanted to give everyone a chuckle to end on.

      When George and I perform a long concert together, George always performs a solo or two to give me a breather and I do more talking between each song to give him a finger stretch 😊. Our little keyboard isn’t great for some of the best pieces but I’ll try to persuade him to put that together, he loves Enescu.

      Best wishes,
      Charlotte

  18. 

    Congratulations to the two of you for making things so much brighter in lockdown! You’re such an inspiration to me, Charlotte. All the best, and hope we can all go out again soon, and keep on singing!

    All the best,

    Cate

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Thank you Cate lovely to hear from you, I hope that you and all the family are safe and well. I can’t wait for normal life to resume but it seems to be a long way off! I am so fortunate to be isolated with George and able to practice at home.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  19. 

    I enjoyed your balcony concert with George, and your new collaboration with Jenny and Roger. Thank you for gracing my morning with this lovely music, Charlotte!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Thank you, Lavinia, one of the best things about music is the collaboration and it’s the thing we really miss both of us, so doing the live streaming and recorded YouTube is just great.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Listen to this on Sunday and truly enjoyed it! Thank you!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Thank you, Alisa, it’s nice to have a platform to share our music.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    I cracked up when I saw that Cornetto, surely not – you did. 🤣🤣👍👍 Brilliant. Well done you two.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 21, 2020 at 9:49 am

      So happy it made you smile 😊 one of the guys in the Courtyard was onto me a step ahead too hehe. Thank you.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  22. 

    Charlotte & George,
    Your balcony concert was fab as always.
    I loved your duet tooxx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      It was good to get some old repertoire back into practice really happy you can watch at home. Jenny did most of the technical work on making the duet video I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      All my best wishes x
      Charlotte

  23. 

    Fabulous as always xx

  24. 

    You and George are doing GREAT!!!!!
    Staying SAFE and WELL,
    Hope that you and George are too!!!!! All my BEST Wishes!!!!!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you Darlene, I’m happy you’re safe and well 😊 we have been inside and not traveling around other than trips to the Supermarkets and the local park but our training gets you used to self-isolation in a way when you practice, especially George he spends hours at the piano although he’s getting a little fed up of just having our keyboard to practice on now, it’s only just over a week that would have been our wedding weekend.

      All our best wishes
      Charlotte and George

  25. 

    Fantastic, Charlotte! I enjoyed every note.
    The balcony concerts seem to have really caught on, and are well appreciated.
    Setting up a home recording studio was very smart. You will get a lot of creative use out of it.
    So, between balcony concerts & recording, your voice sounds in tip top shape.
    The duet was perfect!

    I’m always so impressed when I come here, or go to your YouTube Channel.
    Also, thank you so much for the term “Gowntoons”!
    I’ve made the term official. #Gowntoons.

    Sending warmth, hugs and socially distanced love to you and the very talented (& good looking) George.
    xoxoxo
    Resa

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you lovely Resa, I’m pleased you’re enjoying the concerts we’ve certainly had a mild Spring to facilitate them outside 😊. Yay on the gowntoons!
      Aw George has been so good at keeping my spirits up and I appreciate him practising on our duo a lot of the songs we’re singing on the balcony he’s never played for me before. I believe he is very talented too he’s very driven (stop or you’ll make him blush!).

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    Very nice! Even the ice cream song was beautiful 😉 I also thought your duet was great. Interesting – those curtains behind Roger really dampened the sound while you had the natural reverb from your room. It made his singing a little more “in your face”, but yours had more of a “live performance” quality to it.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you, Trent, interesting about the curtains behind Roger and the effect on the sound. We’re experimenting with sound recording at the moment.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        I’m not 100% sure it was the curtains that did it, just my guess – unless you do want too use the natural reverb of a room (I read that in the 1970s John Lennon did some recordings in his bathroom to get a special reverb!), you need something to dampen the sound, like curtains. They make shields you can put around your mic that work, though maybe not great on a budget. Also, these would work better for sing very close to the mic, I’m not sure about from a distance. Anyway, have fun with your experiments!

  27. 

    Your duets was absolutely beautiful x

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you very much, we had good fun on the opera last year with Northern Opera and it was great to take a trip down memory lane.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  28. 

    Wonderful! I love the duet!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you Clare, I wish we had more time to do more I’ve lots of friends I’d like to duet with, Jenny did all the technical hard work. Stay safe and well x

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  29. 

    Hi Charlotte, good luck with your improvised studio. I await the grand piano being hoisted up by pulleys from the courtyard like they do in those tight-knit Parisian buildings -hehe

    A power couple without full power- perish the thought!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather May 30, 2020 at 11:55 am

      😂 please don’t give George any ideas, I don’t like the idea of sitting on a piano stool to watch tv hehe.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

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