Normally I don’t notice my dreams. They’re pretty innocuous, sometimes involving weird combinations of friends, or characters from movies, sometimes I’m singing or I’m in a show and I get up onstage and I don’t know my lines–but that’s quite standard, so I don’t stress out about it much anymore.
But lately I have been dreaming up a storm, all kinds of terrifying things–and not just things that are terrifying to singers/artists/performers, things that would be terrifying in any situation. Crazy people with guns and being at the back of a train where somehow you have the knowledge that “they” are killing people (by some method that your psyche has seen fit to exclude) starting at the front of the train. And yet I haven’t been waking up in a lather like I used to with nightmares, maybe because there’s something not that scary about the way my nightmares present themselves. They just happen, and I wake up and go back to sleep, and they happen again, or not. I discussed it with Greg, and we think Paul Weston would have a field day.
Anyway. I hadn’t really intended to give you such an in-depth look at my very strange subconscious mind. What I had planned on doing, while I sip coffee and wait for my grandparents to arrive in Paris, was sharing some of the music that I’ve been into lately. So here goes!
I discovered Dwayne Croft last year, I think, singing “Joey, Joey, Joey” on that Celebration of the American Musical concert (which also Frederica von Stade, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, Samuel Ramey, Jerry Hadley and Elizabeth Futral…whew!), and now I could just listen all the time. He may be my favorite baritone. There is just something SO masculine about that voice (in a voice category, or fach, that is already extremely masculine). I feel the same way about Thomas Allen and Robert Merrill. And John Raitt.
I’m pretty sure I’ve already waxed poetic about Lucia Popp. The more I see and hear of her, the more she’s become my role model, and this video is no exception. The situation is hilariously artificial–the character, Christel, is the mail-carrier of the village in Zeller’s Der Vogelhändler, and this is a made-for-TV film of the operetta, so she’s pretty much frolicking through the meadow in front of a camera. And yet it looks completely natural. She doesn’t make a single theatrical gesture, it’s as if she acts like this every day of her life. I aspire to that kind of relaxed ease onstage (and in front of the camera, if it ever comes to that!).
I will always have a soft spot for The Merry Widow–it was my first big role post-high school (Valencienne, not the Widow), and it’s just so romantic and hilarious and beautiful. I think the mark of a good piece of music theatre, and a good production, is that you want to live in the world that’s been created. I’ve seen productions of The Merry Widow that I did NOT want to live in (Lyric Opera of Chicago, I’m looking at you!), but my goodness, this one is sexy. And blonde. I’ve actually seen Karita Mattila and Bo Skovhus sing in person before, but never in these roles (her in Manon Lescaut and Katya Kabanova, and him in Die Fledermaus), and I just love how REAL they make it–especially since neither of them are German. Plus that is the kind of dress that makes me want to be an opera singer.
This is one of the pieces I’m singing for my operetta class, and I just can’t get it out of my head, to the point that I think I may have officially memorized it yesterday, just from walking around Paris and humming it. I’m a little sad to say that I don’t love Dame Felicity’s performance of it in this video, but I love her in general. She’s just so elegant and classy, and she doesn’t take herself too seriously, even though she’s a truly great musician.
And on that note, a leeeetle more Widow.