Saturday, January 7, 2012

Memorizing French in a Hurry (or Cramming for Singers)

I have always had a strange ability to "get it together" for a performance often the week or day before I have to be on stage. When I was in graduate school, I was totally a mess at a dress rehearsal the day before the concert. I had NOT memorized the German for the recital in which I was to sing two songs. The next day, I performed perfectly and my coach laughed at me afterwards and asked; "How do you always do that?!"

The answer is perhaps I work best under pressure, but for some reason, I'm always a a tad forgetful until the day of the performance and then I can rock it out. My goal is to stop having this happen because it completely stresses me out. I got a score for the opera I'm starting rehearsals for next week about a month ago and we were asked to be off-book by next week. Needless to say, I've been cramming my brain with music...and FRENCH.

I don't know what it is with French, but it seems to be a bit slippery. I'll remember certain words and forget others. I'll forget which words elide with each other and which consonants are silent. So, I've taken to odd memorization methods.
  • Read and re-read the text in rhythm over and over again: Seems okay until you look away from the music.
  • Recording myself singing the lines: This helps because I sing harmony a lot. Sometimes a little humbling. I'm flat, I'm sharp, that word was wrong, etc. On the good side, I'll usually stop making the mistake once I hear myself making it.
  • Write the text on a piece of paper and stare at it: Seems to work a little since my own handwriting helps with the memorization.
  • Do a dramatic reading of the text followed by a dramatic reading of the English translation: Seems to help me get to where I want to go, but makes me feel silly and should only be done in private.
  •  Pray - en fran├žais
I'm pretty sure I'm driving my husband crazy singing the same music over and over again, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel with the opera. I have a couple more scenes to study and I'll be ready to start staging. I'm very excited! It's my first french baroque opera and I'm completely stoked to be all Frenchy and do sweet frenchy trills. Charpentier is amazing and David et Jonathas is a great story.

Enjoy Patricia Petibon singing Jonathan's aria from the opera. I love, love, love Patricia Petibon. I have a huge soprano, girl-crush on her.

Gorgeous, isn't it? In the words of Rachel Zoe; "I die, OMG, I die."

Anyway, last night I was so excited to wear my new dress.

Anthropologie: Alary Dress (2011), Anthropologie Elk Camp Wedge Boots (2010?)

What are you ladies up to this weekend? I am attending a party tonight but I have to go to bed on the early side because I have to sing in the morning tomorrow. Boo!!