Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jennifer Rivera - Blog Canto

For some, a blog is a personal online journal. Actually, that was it's original function. The origin of the word "blog" is a combination of "web" and "log."

Jennifer Rivera is one such blogger. Her posts outline the trials, tribulations, thoughts and adventures of her life -- as an opera singer. If you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an operatic production, or what the life of a professional singer is really like, this is a great place to start.

Rivera writes in a very accessible and non-technical style that sometimes reads more like a letter to a friend than a public posting. For example, here's Rivera talking about that most awkward piece of stage business -- kissing a fellow actor.

Then there's the situation where you are kissing each other and holding it until the blackout. When the lights are on you and you're onstage, you are in your characters, so it's no big deal. But when the lights go out, you're suddenly yourselves again, so how do you extricate yourself from kissing without it being weird? I've noticed I almost always do the same thing. I always pat the guy (or girl if I'm playing a boy) on the back like "hey champ, good job there" as soon as the lights go off. Have you ever seen two straight guys hug and do the "straight guy back pat"? That's what I do. I'm surprised I don't ruffle their hair or punch them on the arm.
Rivera also provides interesting insights on the art of singing, and opera performance. Like this:
Ah, una voce poco fa, Rosina's entrance aria - I have a love hate relationship with you. You start so low and dip down to very low chest tones, then move around frantically with tons of coloratura (and especially with the crazy ornaments I do) and then leap up to a high sustained B natural at the end. Plus, other than the few lines of recit in the first scene, it's the very first thing Rosina does, so you don't have time to calm yourself down by singing other easier things. But at the same time it's a wicked fun aria to sing, and there are endless possibilities, so even after thousands of renditions, I am never bored with it. But it usually freaks me the eff out.

Accessible, appealing, and a fun and fascinating read. Jennifer Rivera's Trying To Remain Opera-tional is one blog I read regularly.

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