I was in her place for two whole hours, in which I told her about my previous training, my plans, and my needs; and she told me about her own background, how she can help me, and we burnt CDs with scores and recordings of great performances of a piece we’ll be studying together—Schubert’s ‘Die Schöne Wüllerin’ song cycle. We did vocalizes, so that she could check my voice, and worked on an arietta I’d been working to exhaustion with my previous vocal coach in Sao Paulo, Giordani’s ‘Caro Mio Ben’.
The teacher is from Cuba, where she had most of her training, so she’s already warned she’s strict and demanding. Not that it was necessary, because while we were doing ‘Caro Mio Ben’, she went through each musical phrase, making sure I got everything in perfect tune. She also made me control my unquiet, ever-swinging body during the exercises. However militar, she was pretty nice and generous—gave me TWO lessons in a row for the price of one!!
I got home, burnt some Ian Bostridge MP3s, checked some of the scores she burnt for me, sorted through my collection of classical singers and studied the first verse in the first lied she assigned me.
So far, it’s working!!
Image: Daniel Taylor, a Canadian counter-tenor my ex-vocal coach adores, playing the part of Oberon in Britten’s musical setting to ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream’ by Shakespeare, in Pittsburgh. Celena Shafer is Tytania, and Justin Brill is Puck.