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Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interests and distractions: a Blogroll

True confession: I finally started following Twitter. I made an account a while back but didn't quite catch on to how it worked, and it's only now that I've been making a point of checking it regularly. (You can find me @MezzoMG if you're interested in following.)

After two weeks of active participation, while I can see how it could be a potential time drain - especially since so many of the accounts I follow are linked out to articles, news stories and blogs - it has also drawn my attention to some really interesting things I might have missed otherwise. So with that in mind, in no particular order, a blogroll of some sites which have recently caught my interest:

  • A Hit, a Very Palpable Hit (@vlavla).
    I found this linked off an article about the Hamlet, John Simm, but the blog itself is a wonderful account of what we all go through as performers as we put together a significant show. Excellent stuff.

  • I Value the Arts (@ivaluethearts)
    Widely circulated through social media at its launch a few days ago. Even though I'm not currently in the UK, I most assuredly support the venture, and encourage everybody to check them out! I'd love to see a similar campaign here in the US.

  • Skydiving for Pearls
    I had the pleasure of working with Abigail during the summer, and can only say that however interesting this lovely lady sounds in her blog, she's even more so in person.

  • Intermezzo (@inter_mezzo)
    Anybody in Operaland has probably heard of the recent furore between Intermezzo and The Royal Opera House over the use of promotional pictures on blogs and social media sites (in the end resolved without prejudice, happily), but check out their website for more than just the updates on that.

  • Cindy Sadler of "The Next 100 pounds" has started a second blog of more general writings called (appropriately enough!) "Ramble Away"

  • Sharon Blance Image Workshop (@imageworkshop)
    For the photographers among us, a blog with some wonderful lighting tips and behind-the-scenes videos to enjoy from Sharon Blance, a Canadian based in New Zealand.

  • The Retronaut (@theretronaut)
    Photos, articles, and recreations about everything from days gone by. Some astonishing film and photographic footage from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a wonderful site to explore again and again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Discovering new music

Let's face it - there's a point in a musician's life (ok, in THIS musician's life) where you start to think you're pretty well-versed in repertoire. You've studied, listened and learned. You've been around the business a while and are a self-confessed repertoire-holic (even as a teenager I used to dig through volumes of song and choral rep just because it interested me). And when you're married to a musical polymath as I am, that tends to put even more repertoire in your path so, once you're familiar with most of what's regularly presented, know what's available as a recording, or know what you (or friends and colleagues) have actually performed, you shouldn''t expect too many surprises, right??

WRONG!!

It's a particular delight when a previously unheard-of composer comes to light. Deodat de Severac, in this case. Mr Musical Polymath had heard of his piano works in passing, but was entirely UNfamiliar with his output of delicious songs, including at least one setting of an Edgar Allan Poe text (translated by Mallarme), which fits beautifully into the program for the forthcoming Halloween recital we are preparing which is based on the life and works of EAP.

Thanks to the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the discoveries haven't stopped there: they have an entire digital archive of Poe musical settings, which yielded some more "unsung heroes". We're particularly intrigued by the songs of the American Edward Royce, a composer about whom neither of us know anything at all and so far we have discovered little (anybody who knows of or about him, please do let us know!). What I can say is that this is genuinely good music that seems to have sunk without trace - how does that happen?!

Recitals are always fun to prepare and present, but becoming acquainted with entire bodies of work that I didn't even know existed is a real joy; I love that process of discovery, and am thrilled to be able to champion some unfamiliar works!