Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salzburg Update

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind and a total dream! I have enjoyed walking the streets of this beautiful city everyday to and from class. Music is in the air in every direction. And the diversity of people is fantastic! However, I really need to avoid the Backerei's on every corner!

My voice has essentially experienced a revolution. Thanks to Rudolf Piernay, I feel I have the final piece to the puzzle that I have been missing in my singing. This revolution has also opened up a plethora of repertoire that I never thought possible before. It has been so nice to work at such a high level. Prof. Piernay really focused intensely on every little detail. I feel that I can approach my music with a greater depth of understanding that I did not possess before. During the last two weeks, he has uncovered my true voice and has given me more understanding of the possibilities of the beauty of sound that my instrument is capable of. It's really quite exciting! It is kind of like carrying around a beautiful rock all your life only to discover that it's a diamond or a ruby! I feel so blessed and find so much joy in this discovery.

I should back up and explain a bit better what happens with these masterclasses. The first day of the two week session, all of the singers enrolled in the class audition for the teacher/professor. The Professor then decides who will be an active participant and who will not. At that point, a schedule is made where each student will get private lessons, coaching/rehearsal with the pianist, and masterclass performance time. Everyday is full of getting instruction, observing other students, and practicing. Most of the Vocal masterclasses are held in the old Mozarteum building which is right next to the famous Mirabell Garden where parts of The Sound of Music was filmed.

The students in the class were from all over the world including Romania, Russia, Korea, Switzerland, and Poland. It has been so interesting to see so many cultures in the same room trying to communicate about the universal language of music. In the end, we are all very much the same. We just speak different languages. I have enjoyed observing lessons in German and French as well as English. Although my German language speaking skills are very limited, I'm starting to understand more and more. The Austrian's speak German very differently than the Germans so they are harder to understand.

Along with the voice instruction, I had the opportunity to take an Alexander Technique class along with a few Yoga sessions. Both classes have made a tremendous difference in how I approach the act of singing. I have a completely different perspective of the way my body should be engaged physically while I am performing. I've learned how to be more efficient in my movements in order to make the optimum quality of sound possible. I also love how I feel as I am being encouraged to become more centered in both body and soul.

This last Monday evening, we were delighted to run into our dear friend Brian Stone who is also in Salzburg on a grant from another American Austrian society in New York. He conducted the orchestra for the recent Die Fledermaus I performed at UD this past Spring. It was really fun to see a familiar face!

We were also surprised by a brief visit from Bob Demers the president of The Austrian American Society of Wilmington, DE (the society that has granted me this opportunity). The just popped in to one of my classes one day. I wasn't at all expecting him to be in Austria! It was quite a surprise! He was here visiting his daughter. My husband and I were joking that he came to make sure I didn't take the money and run! (Just teasing Bob!)

I finished this first session by performing in the final Academy Concert that was on Friday evening. I sang Come Scoglio from Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart. I felt really good about the performance although I certainly didn't remember everything that Prof. Piernay taught me. In the end, I chose to commit to my character and connect with the audience. That is where the most fun is for me. After the concert, I was walking out the door and going over my performance in my head making a note of the all the things I didn't do properly. I am always my own worst critic! Anyway, a young girl and her mother stopped me and asked for my autograph. I didn't quite know how to respond to that but it certainly gave me a nice self esteem boost! I absolutely love performing but I get somewhat uncomfortable with the attention I receive afterwards. My greatest thrill is the magical connection between myself and the audience. I'm always happy to know they received something positive from my performance.

I will be saying goodbye to my husband in two short days and will begin another session. I will also be changing apartments so I feel like I'm starting all over again in a way. I am missing my children but have been happy to know they are having a blast with Grandparents back at home. How blessed I am to be having this experience! Who would have thought that a country bumpkin from Deer Park, WA and a mother of three would be granted a dream opportunity like this! Thank again to everyone that has helped make this possible!


Rachel said...

Kara, I'm so happy for you. What a life changing experience you're having.

Melissa said...

SO amazing to read about all that is happening with you! How wonderful! You are so talented and I am SO happy you have this opportunity to learn from the best! Best wishes on your incredible journey!!