Can we all just agree that Leontyne is unreal, unbelievable, on another level? I grew up listening to her and Kathleen Battle, and really, they were my first concept of what opera singers sound like. My first memory of opera is watching Aida with my grandfather on TV. And I vividly remember the singers-- it was Placido Domingo and Leontyne Price. It made a big impression on me-- I don't remember if I liked it or hated it-- but there it was, burned in my memory.
I'm singing in another competition tomorrow, and last night, in the interest of trying to block out the competition PTSD that seems to be seeping back in, I started youtubing some of my arias to get some inspiration. Since I'm singing some Carlisle Floyd, I thought it made sense to find anything I could with Phyllis Curtin-- and there was a wonderful interview from the NEA Opera Honors. In that same series was one with Leontyne...I couldn't resist.
I hung on her every word for the forty minutes of the interview! It was so so so so good. She talked about how important it is to gain acceptance of claiming center stage. What a concept. Sometimes I think that this is our biggest problem-- How do I reconcile in my brain the idea that I am good enough to be CENTER STAGE? How do I claim center stage?
For Leontyne, and according to this interview, it seems that she fell madly in love with her voice and her sound. She reveled in it, and relished sharing it. She appreciated every opportunity she had to be on a stage, and she emphasized that she never let anything negative keep her from being at her best when it was time to take center stage.
Super good advice.
Now, how to do it?
I think the first step must just be to decide to do it. Which I have.