Sunday, August 23, 2009
I got back this morning from my second workshop of the summer. I was in Seattle for 2 weeks, attending a baroque opera workshop. We learned and performed a program of scenes from various 17th C operas.
This particular workshop was started by a totally famous and important lutenist, and besides the impeccable musical coaching and teaching, the strengths lie in the areas of drama and movement. The 3 stage directors are all remarkably good at dissecting archaic texts, guiding the students as they discover the nuances of the language, the best ways to express that language verbally and physically, and the movement and gestures that will best accomplish that.
2 of the 3 directors also run a movement class every morning, focusing on de-stressing and ways to kindly use one's body.
I haven't written anything about this yet, mostly because I was processing so much information that it was hard to stop and dissect. Also, the internet filter on the campus blocked anything with the word "bitch".....oops!
One thing I've noticed at past workshops is that some participants manage to get to know the faculty far better than others. I've always been in the "wanting to get to know, and therefore get everything possible out of faculty, but too introverted and shy to actually do it" group. I vowed to change that this year, so I made a point of just hanging around outside the theater after the last rehearsal of the day, and asking to have dinner with the out-of-town directors. The locals seemed to go home to their families in the evenings, but the non-locals were staying on campus, just like the students.
So, it turns out that one can learn loads from just sitting around the dinner table or the bar.
I made a point of asking "what next?" or "who should I sing for" or "do you have ideas about how to carve out a career that synthesizes text, rhetoric, history, drama, movement, dance and singing??" (you know, just the little, inconsequential questions.....not!) It really isn't quite as scary as I thought, this whole being outgoing thing, and I'm soooo glad that I put in that effort.
I've come home with loads of ideas and inspiration. That's the good part. The terrifying part is going to be implementing them. Because it turns out that, according to G, the guy who directed my scene, and who has a fascinating and multi-faceted career in early music, the best way to go about all of that synthesis stuff is to found my own company.
Most "early operas" that get performed are actually 18th C, almost a full century later than the repertoire that most interests me. These earliest operas get performed at the Boston Early Music Festival, and occasionally in student productions, but not usually other places. G suggested that I start with memorized concerts with a continuo team, then move up to memorized concerts with some movement, then work up from there.
yeah, yikes. Not intimidating AT ALL!!!
I think that a certain amount of my terror stems from the little gremlins, which have been awfully active this summer. They've been nagging at me, telling me that I'm not living up to some ill-defined ideal, or something. The feedback that I've gotten from faculty members at all these workshops, however, has been very, very positive. I'm trying to listen to the objective feedback, and trust that these are the foremost experts in early music.
Now, just to torment everyone with knowledge of awful teen gross-out movies from about 10 years ago:
"This one time, at baroque camp..."