One month from today, I’m singing my first full title role: Handel’s Serse. This has been, by far, my biggest project of this, the first year of my graduate studies. I’m beyond excited to share my work with a full house of family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and community members.
As with any Handel opera, Serse is permeated with recitative, and each character has a variety of arias, which display different affects. My count comes in at 9 arias, 2 duets, and 21 scenes of recitative (of varying length). At first this was, as you might imagine, a little overwhelming, but it’s been immensely helpful to pace myself throughout the learning process, to work a little every day, and to always be as informed as possible about why things are the way they are, melodically, harmonically, and in the text. This has helped me make appropriate ornament choices, not to mention get this whole beast memorized.
While I’m not going to burden whoever is reading this with harmonic analysis, I would like to share with you the colloquial translation I wrote out for myself early in the process, to understand the famously convoluted plot and keep things relevant. Plus, I’d like to think it’s pretty funny… CLICK HERE FOR HILARIOUS SERSE TRANSLATION
I’ve also had the opportunity to study the historical context of the opera and the people involved. In my final paper for the music history seminar I took last semester, I focused on the relationship between Handel and Caffarelli, the castrato who premiered the title role. In the spirit of attaching things, HERE IS THE ESSAY. It’s not my best paper, by far, but I was able to learn quite a bit about the piece and, if you’re reading this, you might enjoy it.
I’m so excited to sing this amazing work with the SFCM Baroque Ensemble, with Baroque instruments, at Baroque pitch. It’s a really incredible opportunity to work with these amazing musicians in this incredible environment. Working with Corey Jamason has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my education thus far, and I have grown in all aspects of my singing because of it. I’m finding the freedom to make the flashy coloratura sparkle, and learning to grow the long phrases into the curving entities they were written to be.
I really can’t emphasize enough how thrilling it is when all of the parts fit into place, as they are now beginning to, and I seriously I can’t wait to share this experience with an audience. So, Sunday March 9th, 2014, 2:00 pm. Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music. See you there. #selfpromoment complete