Opera N00b Performance Anxiety
September 14, 2009 1:51 PM Subscribe
I was just cast in an opera! Problem: I have never been in an opera before, and am not really a "musical" person. Please help me keep from falling flat on my face!
Though I have landed a major role in an upcoming comic opera production, I don't know how to sing opera -- I have a lot of training as a performer but I haven't done any actual singing onstage in many years, let alone opera. The director and conductor have assured me that they have no problem with my character speak-singing most of his lines a la Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, and that I was cast because of what I would hopefully bring to the character in terms of acting. I trust the director completely and think everything will be fine... eventually.
The director keeps reminding me that it doesn't really matter what notes I'm singing, it's all really about when I start and stop singing. I have the book, and cd's of both the whole score and the piano music. But really none of this stuff means anything to me. I can sight read enough to pick out a melody, but when I look through all these pages of music notation, I can barely tell what I'm looking at. It's an original opera, so I don't have like a cast recording I can listen to.
By the time we're done rehearsing I'm sure I'll have that down. It's the first week of rehearsal that has me freaked. Tonight is a read-through with the whole cast, all of whom will be real live opera people. I can't help dreading that I'm going to look like a total ignoramus and wind up slowing things down. I'm sure they'll wonder why I was cast instead of an actual tenor. I am planning to go in and be confident and friendly, but I'm a little psyched out at this point.
If you have any advice to help get me through this rehearsal process I'd be happy to hear it. I only have two and a half weeks, I'll do whatever I have to do to ace this.