Sunday, July 11, 2010

'You're the voice, try and understand it..'

This summer, like last year, my brilliant stepdaughter has been working at the Caramoor music festival, which is held in a beautiful garden estate about two hours north of the city.

The Bel Canto program there is run by Will Crutchfield and Che says she's learning a tremendous amount from him and the other young artists.

Last night was this year's opening performance of "Norma" by Bellini, with the amazing Angela Meade - who also performed last year in Rossini's 'Semiramide' - in the title role and Keri Alkema as Adalgisa. Some of their duets were fantastic and Norma's 'Casta Diva' was out of this world. There's a nice interview with Angela Meade here, where she talks about the role, describing it as a "mammoth night of singing".

And while the jauntiness of the score can be deceptive, it's certainly a deeply intense piece of work which, like all good operas, ends with a lovers' death pact.

Being part of the chorus, and just getting to be around such wonderful artists, to witness their preparation and performance, is invaluable for young singers like Che at the beginning of their own careers. It also means that while we're supporting her we get to increase our own operatic knowledge - the pre-performance activities at Caramoor always include a talk on the piece - by hearing some of the finest singers of their generation.

Next week it's another performance of "Norma", then "Maria di Rohan" by Donizetti, before she heads off to summer school at the Vianden Festival in Luxembourg ahead of classes starting up again in Cincinnati.

The most important thing is that she's waking up every day and doing something she loves. But did I mention how proud we are of her...?

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