Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can you Handel it?

The past couple days, I've been working on some Handel.

It is hard.

In a totally different but equally frustrating way than Bach. I mean, as much as I agonized over Donna Elvira, how rangy it was, how it requires complete control and continuity between every single register (to sing it well, that is), and the fact that it is so very exposed-- Handel is in THE PASSAGIO all the time, without the (I can't believe I'm saying this) comforting occasional schizophrenic switch from extreme lows to highs. And exposed in a frightening way that makes you wish you were back in even the most fragile Mozart territory again.

But, god, it's so beautiful. And I absolutely adore period orchestras. So, I'm doing this because I do believe I should have some early-ish music in my audition package, and it's proving a lot harder than I thought to make it not sound PAINED. I guess I am a full lyric, after all, but still. If Kiri and Eileen could do it, I think I should try too. And then I think about it and realize how hilarious that statement just was :) As if.

There is the idea, of course, that we singers should stop spending time trying to squeeze and prod our voices into repertoire that simply doesn't work for us. And I agree. I mean what good would I be doing myself by singing something in front of people that shows off all my weaknesses instead of my strengths? But I'm giving these arias a couple more weeks before I make a final decision. If by then, I am still bleeding at the ears after a practice session, we'll put good old GFH back on the shelf.


Clayton Koonce said...

Thanks for posting these insights, Jessica, as I'm listening to more Handel lately. I also found the special CD feature on the latest issue of Gramophone, all about Handel, to be very interesting. Best wishes for your exploration of this territory!

Erin said...

Handel is great to explore! What particularly are you working on?