A singer’s mental work

Did you catch this in our Thanksgiving post from mezzo Joyce DiDonato?

…”the mental work we do in preparation for the stage and for singing is, bar none, the most important, beneficial and worthwhile work we can do as singers. “

Yours truly has mentioned this mental work before, in the context of sport.  Several other posts dealing with the books The Artist’s Way and Power Performance for Singers deal with the subject in detail.  (Please do a quick search on this site for those titles, as they’re too numerous to list.)

To this performer’s thinking, Ms. DiDonato’s given a wonderful example of shutting out the world and concentrating on the work at hand. Note that she didn’t post during this intense 3-month period.

Afterwards, she’s explained a little, very eloquently, about the generalities of what she did, but not many specifics. That’s also a great lesson.

As Cameron points out in The Artist’s Way, a wise artist doesn’t broadcast what they’re doing while they’re doing it. And they don’t give the ball game away afterward, either.

Great example of when to talk and when to shut up! It’s also a great lesson in protecting yourself and your process.  Don’t understand why? Read Cameron’s book.

Veddy important.


Joyce DiDonato: A gratitude posting for Thanksgiving

Ms. DiDonato has paused long enough in her singing career to resume her blog, with an excellent posting about giving thanks, and quite a few useful reminders that a classical singer is a classical singer 24/7.

In other words, you cannot 9-to-5 it, whether your schedule is as trying as hers or not.

Grateful you don’t have to watch everything every minute, just so you can go to work like she does?

Most people just see the glory.  Yours truly knows the sweat and tears that’s constantly and continually behind it.


Sunday salon

Yours truly loves a beautiful book, and paper that’s a pleasure to write upon.
Thus, was delighted to read this in The  Washington Post.

Also of note today in this article about a Broadway producer working with high school students. Their subtitle is ‘ Shakespeare meets “Jersey Shore.”’
Cool, dude!

PBS’s Masterpiece Contemporary had an interesting show, “Page Eight,” with Bill Nighy.

Yours truly got hooked on British actors after discovering what interesting things they do with voice and body to portray a character. A chance to view this actor in a straight, good-guy part, wasn’t to be missed. Interesting to hear and see how he used facial mannerisms and vocal effects in his characterization.

Interesting NPR bit also about Nighy, and Mr. Nighy’s site.
More about the Robin Hood Tax.

Wonder why we don’t hear about this across the pond…


Sunday salon


Interesting article in today’s Washington Post about birthing new plays & associated issues.

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe

“Nobody sees a flower, really — it is so small — we haven’t time, and to see takes time…”

Learning to sing also takes time.

Scroll down in the Wiki article for online examples of her works.

PBS’s American Masters series

Reviewed an old VHS copy of Juilliard lately.

Excellent, but not yet available on DVD.


Applying Horowitz’ Mozart to Granados’ Tonadillas

”It is deceptive, Horowitz believed, to think of Mozart’s piano writing as simple… Horowitz liked to quote what Rachmaninov said of the opening of his own Third Piano Concerto, a simple melody played in octaves: easy as it may seem, Rachmaninov felt that it was more difficult than the rest of the Concerto.

“ ‘Mozart was a virtuoso-composer just like Chopin or Liszt,’ Horowitz explained, ‘but his virtuosity is expressed in fewer notes…  Because of the spare textures, Mozart’s piano music needs more color, not less, than so-called Romantic music in which color is already an integral part of the composition.’
                                Insert: from notes by Edward Greenfield

Horowitz — Mozart

Same thing with Granados’ Tonadillas.