I am currently relaxing on a much-appreciated day off right before my last week in Ottawa and I am reflecting on the last two seasons and everything I have learned during that time. Throughout the two-year period that I have been privileged to be part of the OLO Opera Studio, the program has grown a lot. The caliber of the program, staff, teachers, coaches and artists rises every year, and every year there are more unique opportunities and there is great music to perform.
The aspect of the program that impacted me most this year was the creation of the total artist, the total actor and singer. This happened not only in our acting classes but also through our staging rehearsals. Diving into a role and meaning everything I sing and do is more than just a mental exercise, more than analysis, more than mere technique, and much more than just being in my own head. It has everything to do with being the character, living it, feeling it and meaning every word without analyzing it as I sing it, trusting in what I have learned, in my foundation. There are moments that are just perfect, when I can let go of extra chatter in my head that criticizes the performance or my technique, and I just get to live in the character and sing. It is a fantastic rush when all of my training allows me to do that, be in the moment, and stop worrying.
Programs like the OLO Opera Studio help the young artist reach that level of artistry and professionalism. The Studio is a fantastic step between being a student and being a freelance artist out on our own. We get the benefit of working with professionals, working in or observing the main stage’s rehearsal process and the production, as well as receiving some fine tuning through our acting classes, stage combat, master classes, coaching, and performance anxiety classes.
I found that this season in particular enabled me to delve into and develop many different characters through our noon concert of Cosi fan Tutte, the French Embassy concert where I got to explore a wonderful variety of roles, such as the pants role in the aria Romance de l’etoile, La Perichole, Malika in the Lakme duet, Carmen, and of course Hansel and Gretel. These many opportunities to perform kept us busy throughout the program, always challenged and driven to excel and grow. I couldn’t have asked for more!