I won the Encouragement Award in the Met Regional competition last weekend. This was the most appropriate award for me – younger, once again, than everyone else, but with energy and promise. The people they sent on are Ready to be sent on – Ready to sing the repertoire, and I did not have any kind of sinking feeling when they won- only pride to be on the same stage as them, and happiness that they will have such an amazing opportunity.
My performance was a different matter. I sang alright. I did not sing my best, and I was not focussed enough. This was not a matter of luck or of circumstance, but I am glad to have had that experience, because now I know what I must do to sing my best.
- Before the competition, I did not practise my arias – I assumed that since I had sung them alot before, I would be settled into them. Not true.
- Over Christmas break, I did not stay focussed on who I am as an artist, which, I am learning, I should never separate myself from. This resulted in a lack of focus and a slight lack of confidence on stage.
- I had not done yoga or any form of bodily relaxation before the competition, and I did not do consistent breath-work during the week leading up to it. Instead of focussing my energy to spend time preparing my body, I let tension build up. This was my most fatal mistake.
- When I arrived at the competition, I was more worried about making a good impression to the other singers than finding a space to properly warm up my body. I should have disregarded everyone until after the performance.
- Another thing I learned, was to ALWAYS carry copies of the music you will be performing to the competition/audition. The pianist did not have my music, and it was saving grace that I happened to have copies of most of my arias.
This competition was the first time I really travelled substantially to sing, and I learned alot about myself and how my body operates under that kind of stress. We’ll see, next time, if what I learned paid off.
The other interesting thing about the competition was the chat with the judges after the competition. For some reason, these judges had alot to say about our clothes, and not much to say about our performances. 😉 However, the woman from the Metropolitan Opera seemed to really like me, and asked about my future plans. I described my plans to try to move overseas, and to get a job singing in a house. She warned me to take baby steps; that I am young and should not look at what others are doing, but to follow my own path. This was a bit disturbing to me, as I feel that I am following my own path – my path has always been ambitious and slightly unrealistic. But her saying that only made me realize that I must try to work overseas. I may not succeed, but I must try. What can it hurt (except my bank account)? The worst that can happen is that I return to Canada to get my master’s degree, and then re-emerge into the professional world. I am glad the judge expressed apprehension about my plans, because it solidified my resolve.