Archives For Preparation

On My Way Out

After the first week of 2019, I feel energised, happy, and hungry to step closer towards my personal goals. After throwing myself at all my targets head on, I did feel a little tired today. But after eating a tasty homemade chicken, sausage, and vegetable casserole, to fight against any last germs and lingering colds that seem to be in the air. I still say, “Bring it On!”

This week I have updated my calendar and diary with work deadlines, events and fun outings with friends. I have treated myself to a weekly planner, that allows me to plot year goals and monthly goals that I can track the progress weekly and create focused to-do lists. So far it’s helped me to be prepared for my immediate goals whilst maintaining my focus on tasks for future projects. I really like it, it feels like an adult star chart that helps to keep me motivated and positive. How do you assess and manage your goals and productivity? Do you have any tips or suggestions that have helped you to achieve a personal goal?

Today I arranged to meet up with my friend Beth Taylor who I studied with at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Beth is a fabulous mezzo-soprano and as we live at opposite ends of the country this was a great opportunity for us to catch up and just chill out together.

Beth and Charlotte

One challenge I’m tackling head on this year is learning how to run. Of course, I know how to run, but previously I found no enjoyment in it. I would occasionally sprint for a bus but would be greeted with breathlessness and possibly catching it in time. Luckily for me, I love dancing and trying out new hobbies but I have been very resistant to running even though it can be a cheap hobby to participate in. I read an article about Lisette Oropesa, a soprano working in the industry who explained that she began running to help her lose weight so that she could be more appealing for casting. But as I read the article, I realised the overall benefits of being able to run were important to an opera singer. Often opera stages are very large and directors may want you to run on from the wings before a big aria. I would hate to work so hard and get an opportunity to perform in a big opera house and then begin an aria out of breath because of poor running technique. So I download the NHS/BBC app ‘Couch to 5K’. It’s is aimed at beginners and builds up to being able to run a 5K slowly.  I chose the comedian Sarah Millican to narrate my run routines and so far I have enjoyed listening to her encouraging voice. The routine starts you off with baby steps,  including both running and walking to help build up towards the 5K goal.  I do still run like Phoebe Buffay with the occasional disco arm moves if inspired by my playlist. I’ll keep you posted with my progress. I don’t think I’ll ever be like Mo Farah but I’m glad I didn’t put it off.

Ready To Run

I can now run for 8 minutes and I am getting my pose ready for the Olympics ( Ha Ha )

One other task that I have set myself this year is to attempt to re-write my biography to include some of my achievements from 2018.  I find this difficult as it is a real skill to write a comprehensive yet concise biog, which can then be condensed even further for auditions and production companies who request biogs of 200, 150, or 100 words maximum. If any of you can offer any guidance or make suggestions on how best to achieve this I would be really grateful.  Here is an example of a short one I wrote recently what do you think? How could I improve it to be interesting in a program?

Soprano Charlotte Hoather completed her Master’s in Performance (Voice) at the Royal College of Music in June 2018, under the tutelage of Rosa Mannion and Simon Lepper, previously gaining a First-Class Honours Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying under Judith Howarth.

Following five-star reviews in 2017 for her performance of ‘Uccelina’ in Scottish Opera’s production of BambinO in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, Charlotte continued in the role for a tour of Paris for the Théâtre du Châtelet before the production moved to the Metropolitan Opera House, New York for a series of sell-out shows in 2018. In July 2018 Charlotte won first prize in the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Charlotte’s professional performances include the role of ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, the role of ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Mansfield Park, and the role of ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s production of Candide. In 2019 Charlotte will be performing the role of ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of Tim Benjamin’s new opera The Fire of Olympus which will be touring the North Of England in Autumn 2019.

Prepared

This week – I’m preparing for my vocal exam next Wednesday. Asking questions of myself; how can I better this? Am I using my time effectively?

I recently found myself at an enriching crossroads, where I reached a point in my development and I was unsure where to take my music from there.

I have been singing with the conscious effort of being correct. But I cannot do this when I perform. I need to lose myself in the music that I am performing. I am singing the dots, rather creating a line and sewing the phrase together.

    “Nowadays, we tend to rely on sound rather than shape. But music is not about sound. Sound is simply its material, (as paint is for painting). What music is about is gesture, colour, shape, form and, especially, emotional intensity.” [The New York Times, Rodger Norrington. 2003].

PascalPicture

Pascal “paints” his pictures using his photographs in place of paints. The way he uses them makes his work individual and unique and this is what I want from my singing. But maybe not quite this wild ( He He He )

My voice is like paint, but if I don’t involve good technique of brush strokes, or make decisions myself on how I want to paint I’m only copying someone else’s interpretation and not my own.

So I turned off my iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. I lost myself in music such as Debussy and watched master-classes and interviews of idols. e.g.

Barbara Bonney master-classes:

     “You are supposed to like yourself. That’s the thing, you are supposed to like yourself and who you are because if you don’t how can they like you, (you know). So it’s not about saying ‘Oh I am the best in the world’. It is about saying I accept myself, I trust myself. I enjoy being me, I love having my voice. And all I can do is share that with you through the music that someone else has written. And that I have the privileged of singing for you.” – Barbara Bonney.

Practice

I need to practise every different option for every phrase: swelling, diminuendo, crescendo, attack, softly float… So when I get to perform I have more ideas to play with. It isn’t about practising and creating a structure that I must follow every time I perform. It is about preparing for every scenario so when I sing from my imagination I can spontaneously react to my emotions at that second rather than thinking.

“You have to be prepared for everything the conductor wants you to do, but on top of that you need to be ready for everything you want to do.” – Barbara Bonney.

It is me who is expressing; it is my imagination; it’s Charlotte’s version of Rusalka, Mimi, Tosca … It is my version of the story and I need to be brave enough to tell it how I feel it should be told at that specific space in time.  I can’t change the notes it’s more about adding more emotional intensity.

It always keeps it interesting; therefore you are not a copy of yourself every time you sing. Every time you sing it is completely fresh. Maria Callas said “I practise, practise, practise, I go on stage, I turn off my brain, and I let it go, I see what happens, I improvise the entire evening.”

SongsFromTheHeart

This is where I am at with my pieces, I have learnt them, I have practised them and now I need to explore every dynamic option so that when it is my time to perform I can let go and sing from the heart .