A question for OT

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A question for OT

Postby navneeth » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:07 pm

Hey OT!

I was just watching a video of Beethoven's 9th (the finale to be precise) conducted by Karajan. In the beginning (of the Ode to Joy part) a male singer starts it off (sorry, I do not know the exact term...is he also called a tenor?) and I realised how long he had to hold his breath to finish the part before the chorus join him (I guess we need to watch to realise how tough it is :D ) So I'm just curious to know what has been your most difficult/challenging performance in your career, if any?

Btw, it's great to actually see an orchsestea at work in these videos at YouTube. We don't get such opputunities here. The last time(I may be wrong) such a thing happened in this country was in Delhi (Dec '05), and few days before that, about 500m away from my house - Zubin Mehta conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra.
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Postby bignaf » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:09 pm

It's a baritone, and yes, it's a really long phrase. lots of the vocal phrases in the movement seem to have been written for string instruments. and Karajan doesn't help with his sometimes slow tempos ( but it sounds great!).
a candidate for a tough breath-control tenor phrase is probably Mozart's "Il Mio Tesoro" from Don Giovanni.
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:56 am

Hi Navneeth,

Yes, as *ig said, it's a baritone at the beginning. It's a long phrase, but not really impossible. The tenor solo comes later in the piece, and his phrases are pretty simple.

The toughest for me? Hmmm....

I could say it's whatever I'm working on at the moment.... :D

In retrospect, I'd like to think it wasn't so tough, but at the time, my first principle role as Benny Southstreet in an abbreviated production of Guys and Dolls was among the biggest of challenges for me. I had been invited to be a chorister for the show, and in the first cast readthrough, all of the production people looked at me and thought I'd make a good Benny(who was actually a melding of the Benny and Nicely Nicely characters). I had no idea if I could come up with a New York accent, let alone act. It was a lot of work and a lot of stress, but was greatly rewarding. I used to have a very blurry video tape of the show, and I came across very well, if I say so myself.

Another huge challenge for me was my first season as tenor soloist/section leader for Jewish High Holidays. My only exposure to Hebrew up to that time was one performance of the Chichester Psalm, so I was a total neophyte. I had a two inch binder of music to learn in five rehearsals, so I ended up doing a lot of homework, and I was very insecure about my ability to rise to the occasion.

Now, I practically have the whole book memorized....

Last instance: One of my early goals when I started singing again after getting out of the Navy was to join the San Diego Master Chorale, at that time under the direction of Frank Almond. I auditioned on Dec 28th. The neophyte strikes again: I sang a solo, was stopped halfway through("I've heard enough."), and did some sightreading. Afterward, Frank commented that it sounded like I'd done some "solo work," which usually connotes being a professional soloist in front of an orchestra. I had no idea, and thinking about having sung solos in church, etc., I told him sure, I'd done solo work. :rolleyes: He then asked if I'd done Beethoven's 9th before. I'd not only not done it, I wasn't sure how it went! I told him I hadn't, and he told me the Master Chorale would be performing it on Jan 14th, and he'd like it if I could join them for that performance. So, I learned the choral movement of the 9th in two weeks. I was also only one of two new members asked to do it. The other guy knew the piece.

Funny you should bring up the 9th....

A slight hijack here...

Under the heading of "most exhilarating", it would have to be my first production with the SDO. We did Turandot which has become my favorite opera. It was a hugely lavish production with phenomenal principle singers. At the end of the opening night performance, I was bawling while we sang the final chorus.
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Postby navneeth » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:17 am

Very interesting anecdotes, OT. :D So which part did you sing in the 9th? The simpler one? :)
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:20 am

navneeth wrote:Very interesting anecdotes, OT. :D So which part did you sing in the 9th? The simpler one? :)


You're killin' me! :D With reference to voice parts, "simple" and "Beethoven's 9th" don't belong in the same county!
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Postby Shapley » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:27 am

OT,

They may not belong in the same county, but you're the one who put them there!

Yes, as *ig said, it's a baritone at the beginning. It's a long phrase, but not really impossible. The tenor solo comes later in the piece, and his phrases are pretty simple.


:D

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Postby navneeth » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:52 am

Shapley wrote:OT,

They may not belong in the same county, but you're the one who put them there!

Yes, as *ig said, it's a baritone at the beginning. It's a long phrase, but not really impossible. The tenor solo comes later in the piece, and his phrases are pretty simple.


:D

V/R
Shapley


Thank you, Mr.Shapely.
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:26 pm

Making the inference that the music as a whole is simple because the phrasing is simple is just plain.......................................simple.
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Postby bignaf » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:56 pm

I can see how your answer could be confusing to non-musicians, OT....
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:31 pm

bignaf wrote:I can see how your answer could be confusing to non-musicians, OT....


Ssh, I'm having fun with this.
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Postby bignaf » Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:35 pm

speaking of fun, I watched Monty Python and holy grail yesterday for first time, I liked it, but probably won't go crazy about it.
I disliked their Meaning of Life. :rolleyes:
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