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Verdi: Solenne in quest’ora

We’ve made it… IT’S FRIDAY!!!!

So, what genres do I have left on my phone to explore? Well, frankly too many… so I’m going to avoid making you listen to a bunch of Jazz, Pop, Musicals, etc;. And no matter how tempting it is to tell you how They Might Be Giants has probably influenced me more than any other contemporary music, I’m going to go a different route. Instead, I am going to share some opera with you.

I mentioned in Wednesday’s blog how I feel about opera, but let’s just say that we didn’t hit it off at first. When I started college at Shenandoah Conservatory (all those years ago), I was a musical theater major. I loved singing and acting, but I didn’t really have much interest in opera, so I set my sights on Broadway. After one semester of early morning ballet classes, I began to think that perhaps I had chosen the wrong major, and I changed over to voice performance at the end of my Freshman year.

I loved my new voice teacher, Bard Suverkrop, and I  immediately liked the complexity of performing opera… the way it challenged my mind to be present as an actor while also constantly having these systems of memory and physicality running on high priority in the background. It was (and is) very fun to do. I instantly got a lot of encouragement and I felt great about my choice to switch majors… but I didn’t really LIKE watching or listening to opera. It all seemed so staid and boring and safe. I remember conversations with my classmates where I hated on Callas, Terfel, and several other of my heroes (God, I was a douche… a big sorry to everyone I knew in those days).

But then, in a single clarifying moment, the course of my life would be forever changed. I was playing a video game on my computer, and decided to put on a CD that a friend let me borrow. I was just half listening to it in the background… and then, my operatic innocence was shattered by the most powerful high C I’d heard in my young naive life. Franco Corelli, at the end of Di quella pira. I sat there in kind of a shocked stunned silence…and then listened to it several more times. I just didn’t understand how I could be so wrong about opera. This was passionate… almost reckless… visceral and masculine… I LOVED THIS!!! And thus, my life was forever changed.

So, for your listening pleasure, a video of my favorite tenor (Corelli) and my favorite baritone (Bastianini) singing together in Napoli. The thing I love most about this video is how real and unproduced it is. You can see Bastianini stealing looks at the conductor, they aren’t together with the orchestra, you can hear the prompter, Corelli sings sharp, they get hissed at by the audience, and I’m pretty sure somebody throws rotten vegetables at them at the end.

It is real, and astounding, and beautiful… at least to me.

Thanks for reading, and for supporting my friends and colleagues at NYFOS. I’ve had a great time sharing some of my favorite music with you, and I hope you enjoyed yourself. To keep up with my singing engagements, I encourage you to visit my website www.JoshuaJeremiahBaritone.com, and to like my artist page over on Facebook at Joshua Jeremiah, Baritone.

Have a great weekend, and may the force be with you!

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