Well after five weeks of coaching, vocal technique, stage direction and language classes my Summer Opera School here in Italy drew to a close yesterday.
It was a fantastic day for me personally as my family flew out to watch my last two performances which made the day feel just that little bit more special.
Everything seemed to come together for me as I had been asked if I would like to perform the role of Gretel in the first two acts of the Englelbert Humperdink opera “Hansel and Gretel” in the final performance. I could not believe my luck as this meant that not only did I get to play a lead role but on the same day that my family would be here to watch 😊. I had a fantastic time playing the role and the audience who were very supportive seemed to enjoy the production too. My parents and brothers then took me out for tea and they all said how glad they were to make it in time to watch as they thought it was fabulous.
I had to leave them in the restaurant and dash off back to the theatre for a rehearsal call at 20:15 for the last opera performance of the course. It was Puccini’s “Sour Angelica” and I again played the role of a pregnant novice. It was a different more somber atmosphere for this production and quite a change from my afternoon role of Gretel.
When the curtain closed for the last time I could not believe how the time had passed so quickly and how much work we had all got through in the time we had. It has been a wonderful experience and I will take away so much from my time here. The help and guidance from the fabulous staff, the support and friendship of the students and for reinforcing in me my love of opera and my desire to pursue a career in this beautiful art.
As I am writing this I am about to go down for my evening meal with my family, tomorrow we make the trip south driving down through Italy on a family holiday. Time to relax and recharge my batteries before I return to Scotland to start my final year of under graduate training.
Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments and for sharing this amazing experience with me, I will catch up with you all as time and the Internet permit😊
After a very busy week of four operas being performed back to back, and rehearsals in between I’m very thankful it’s Sunday! A day of rest was truly deserved by all my colleagues and the staff. So here is a little low-down on what I’ve been up to: I have performed twice in Puccini’s ‘Suor Angelica’ and twice in Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ in the local Auditorium, which is a fabulous stage, equipped with rich, thick, red curtains and row upon row of red seats. It certainly gave the place a majestic and theatrical atmosphere. Normally this space is used as a cinema for the local community and even though we weren’t the usual blockbuster the support and turnout was wonderful. For every opening night the 250 seat (guesstimate : ) ) theatre received almost a full house, which was super for the small town. Both operas went brilliantly and the cast were marvellous! I can’t wait to perform with everyone again in this final week. On top of that we began staging in the space ‘Hansel and Gretel’ I have a cast role and I also have a performance as Gretel next Saturday. Tomorrow we’re practising with orchestra.
Me, Alison Christopher and Laura Doyon
Me With Laura Doyon
I’m in the middle of cooking a spaghetti bolognaise for 12 friends at the minute so I’ll have to dash. But love and best wishes to you all xxxxx I’ll catch up soon.
The First Line Translates ” When Walking Alone On The Streets”.
The song Quando M’en Vo is also known as Musetta’s Waltz and comes from the second act of “La Bohème”.
The opera is based on the novel ‘Scènes de la vie de bohème ‘ by Henri Murger. La bohème is a four act Italian Opera composed by Giacomo Puccini. The world premiere was in February 1896 in Turin. The word ‘bohemian’ describes the non-traditional lifestyle of impoverished artists; writers; journalists; musicians and actors in major European cities.
Mimi – a seamstress – soprano
Rodolfo – a poet – tenor
Musetta – a singer – soprano
Marcello-a painter – baritone
Schaunard – a musician – baritone
Colline – a philosopher – bass
Benoit – a landlord – bass
Alcindoro – a sugar daddy – bass
Parpignol – a Toy seller – tenor
Four friends share an apartment in Paris; Marcello, Rodolfo, Colline and Schaunard they are broke and cold but Schaunard plays for an eccentric English Lord who instructed him to play his violin for his parrot until it died and he earns enough from this to buy provisions and offers to pay for food at the Café Momus to celebrate his good fortune. It is Christmas Eve and Benoit the Landlord tries to collect the rent, they ply him with cheap wine and three of the men go out to the Café Momus leaving Rodolfo behind as he needs to finish an article.
A soft knock on the door disturbs him and he opens it to a lovely, pale young woman who asks him to re-light her candle. He invites her in and she promptly faints. She is called Mimi but her real name is Lucia she sings the famous aria “Mi chiamano Mimi” she embroiders to earn a living, Rodolfo is completely smitten by her and when his friends return to persuade him to come with them she asks if she can go with him, they leave singing of love ‘O soave fanciulla’ (Oh Lovely Girl).
At the Café Momus in the Latin district the friends eat a huge supper and Rodolfo introduces everyone to Mimi. Musetta makes a flamboyant entrance with her wealthy benefactor Alcindoro. Marcello tears Musettas character to shreads, Musetta notices him and is annoyed that he will not look at her. She creates a scene smashing a plate, Musetta turns her full charms on Marcello, she sings ‘Quando men vo’ boasting how everyone watches her when she walks down the street and their looks fill her with desire.
Mimi feels sorry for her and Rodolfo explains that Marcello had once loved her but she left him for the wealthy Alcindoro. Musetta pretends to have a dreadful pain in her foot and sends Alcindoro off to fix her shoe. Marcello is undone with her flirtations and embraces her. When the bill comes the Bohemians don’t have sufficient funds to pay so slyly Musetta suggests they combine bills and let a dumbfounded Alcindoro pay it.
Street Scene From La Boheme
Marcello is living in a tavern and paints for the innkeeper, Mimi appears coughing violently she tells him of her hard life with Rodolfo who abandoned her the night before. Marcello confesses that Rodolfo is inside. Rodolfo wakes up and comes out looking for Marcello, Mimi hides, she hears Rodolfo confess his jealousy and reasons for leaving Mimi were a sham, he fears she is being consumed by a deadly illness (most likely consumption). Rodolfo in poverty can’t do anything to help and hopes his pretended unkindness will encourage her to find a wealthy suitor. Mimi’s coughing alerts him to her presence and they agree to stay together until Spring. Meantime Marcello hears Musetta laughing and goes to find her, they quarrel about her flirting.
Some months later Marcello and Rodolfo are trying to work, they talk about their girlfriends who have left them and found wealthy lovers. Schaunard and Colline arrive with a frugal dinner to share. Musetta appears she found Mimi in the street that day, severely weakened by her illness, her wealthy lover had left her and haggard and pale they help her to bed. The friends leave to pawn their belongings to buy medicine. Mimi tells Rodolfo that her love for him is her whole life ‘Sono andati’. As Musetta prays Mimi dies leaving Rodolfo weaping with anguish.
This is a video of me singing the aria “Quando M’en Vo” accompanied by Russell Lomas from a recital in Rochdale in 2014. You can download a copy of the song on Amazon or iTunes from my album Canzoni D’Amore.