It can be really comforting to have those arias that just fit you like a glove. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that an aria is just right for you, and it has its home in your package.
At the same time though, it is so easy for those exact arias to become dull. Let’s face it – it’s really hard to keep our materials fresh. But we have to. Not only for the sake of our auditions, but because one day we’ll actually get to do the whole role, and if the showstopping aria isn’t at the top of its game, then there’s a problem.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between comfort and staleness though. Not sure if you arias need a pick-me-up? Here are five things that might suggest it’s time to refresh your arias.
Your music looks ridiculous
If your music looks like this, don’t beat yourself up – we’ve all been there. At least, I’ve been there. This is an actual copy of one of my arias. It needs a refreshment indeed!
You don’t remember what you’re singing about
Maybe you spent hours translating your text, reading the libretto for the opera, and maybe even reading the book your aria originally came from (or maybe you didn’t – it’s okay, we won’t tell!). But maybe you’ve reached the point where you only vaguely remember the gist of what you’re singing about. You’ll know when you’ve hit this point when your synopsis of both opera and aria sound more like a bad version of SparkNotes than an actual translation.
You can’t remember the last time you’ve worked technically on it
Even if you spent hours in the practice room honing your technical skills in this aria, you’ve probably made a lot of progress since you first started learning it. If you can’t remember the last time you did this kind of technical work, it might be time to go back and see if you have any old habits in it. As they say, old habits die hard, so there’s no better time to start fending them off than now.
You’re going through the motions
It might seem like I’m speaking metaphorically here, but I’m speaking quite literally. It’s time to refresh an aria when you repeat the same stock motions with your hands, feet, and face every time you sing it. Characters have lives! Yours should too.
You don’t want to sing it again
Emotional detachment from an aria is perhaps the biggest sign that it’s time to refresh an aria. Can’t remember why you loved it in the first place? Does it feel like something you’re “supposed” to sing? Then take the time to fill your aria up with love again. Many of the other steps will fall into place if you do.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the moment and thinking to yourself, “Where should I start?” then take a deep breath. I wouldn’t have pointed this out to you if I didn’t have a plan!
Tomorrow, Operaversity will start #AriaRefresh exclusively on Instagram for the month of March. 5 weeks, 5 days a week, 5 arias. Each week, we’ll refresh our arias together through images in the 5 steps outlined below.
- Refresh your music
- Refresh your understanding
- Refresh your voice
- Refresh your character
- Refresh your spirit
To participate, simply follow @Operaversity on Instagram, and tag pictures of you working each step with the hashtag #AriaRefresh. If needed, you could also double up on certain steps in lieu of others (just be sure you’re really fresh on the step you’re skipping!). Furthermore, if you’d like help understanding each step, you can subscribe and sign up for the free eCourse version here. Or, if you’d like to take your practicing skills as a whole to the next level, check out A Singer in the Practice Room here.
I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to see you all there! Together, we can make all of our arias like new!
Do you have arias you need to refresh? Which ones do you plan to work on during #AriaRefresh? What steps really resonate with you? Please share with all of us in the comments!