Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Composer Workshop with Jake Heggie


Friday February 20 at 8pm
Comstock Hall, UofL School of Music

UofL junior, Jen Thomas is one of the lucky singers able to participate in the Composer Workshop with Jake Heggie. On Sunday, February 15 was the first of the week-long workshops. Here is her impression of the evening:

Jake Heggie does not presume to teach singers how to sing: instead, he uses his expertise to help the singer connect to the text and emotion of each piece, and create a true emotional reaction, instead of acting as a character. Because of this, often Mr. Heggie was dragging singers out of their comfort zone. Many of us were asked to recite the poetry of our songs dramatically, in an over-the-top way, or consider different ways to interpret our texts. I myself had to channel a seductress for my song, which I originally approached as innocent and lilting song. The change to both my voice, and my performance of the song, was drastically different, but far superior, to my original interpretation.
Others were asked to consider the context of their song, especially when their selection came from an opera. He refocused traditional acting techniques to better apply to a singer’s experience. By doing so, each song became a story, or an emotional ride. His deep, emotive music so easily lends itself to an emotional interpretation, and Mr. Heggie’s ability to express himself enhanced both a consideration of his music, as well as the music of others.
He is soft-spoken and passionate, and allows himself to easily connect to every person in the room. In that way, he is captivating. One of the most interesting moments during the master classes to this point was when he himself played the piano for one of the singers. He hardly looked at the music.

Last night (Monday 2/16) Heggie had an incredible interview with Scott Dowd at WUOL. The evening started by introducing the members responsible for making this program possible, Edith Tidwell, Nancy Albrink and David Roth. Jake talked about his process and how he loves distilling something down th to the basic elements. He spoke about how the expenseive and elabroate nature of opera makes it difficult for composers to workshop thier pieces. Usually the first time you get to see if all the pieces work is opening night, (when you have the world watching). So the concept of a workshop process that Kentucky Opera is starting will be a valuable resource for composers. To be able to have singers to go through the vocals would be an incredible asset to the entire process. We were entertained by Megan Deiter, Phillip Morgan and Kelly Ballou each singing Heggie compositions.

WUOL will put it in their audio archives soon and Metro TV was there recording as well. SO after the fact, you can tune in. I will let you know when.

Photo: Jake Heggie works with Kentucky Opera Studio Artist, Heather Phillips, through an aria from The End of the Affair.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Studio Artists Auditions

Friday was a busy day for Kentucky Opera. David Roth, Deanna Hoying and Lisa Hasson listened to over 30 young singers in the rehearsal room of ArtSpace. Singers were auditioning for the few Kentucky Opera Studio Artists spots for the 2009-10 Season.

While we don't have any results as of this post, I can tell from sitting outside that Brent Turner's Figaro was HILARIOUS! Lisa Paradise also sounded great from outside the room.

Amy Elaine Hayes went over her scores as she waited her turn to show her stuff!

Adonis Duge Abuyen gave an animated audition.

This is the third round of auditions Kentucky Opera has held, with one in Cincinnati and one in Chicago. The opera triumvirate will now have to pare down the candidates for call backs which we hope will be by the end of February.