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Ever since I was a kid, I have loved to perform. I grew up around music and it was only natural for me to fall into its world. When I first entered college, I knew I would major in voice. What I couldn't know then, was the journey on which it would take me. Over my time at Bard, I have been blessed with wonderful professors, an amazing voice teacher and a plethora of opportunities. When I first came to Bard, I expected to learn a lot. However, I never could have anticipated how much I would grow as both a performer and as a person. The last four years have been a journey full of twists and turns, some of which, I never imagined possible. My senior year, and the preparation for my senior concerts, took me down yet another winding road.
For both concerts, I wanted to design a theme that could really be traced throughout the music. I was unsuccessful both times. In picking the music for my concerts, I pick music I like. The text has to say something to me, and the music frequently turns out to be something I want to hear over and over again. I also, of course, have to pick music for which I am vocally ready. Having been trained classically over the last four years, it was only natural that my concerts would be primarily classical music. Having grown up around musical theater, it came as no surprise that I managed to fit some musical theater into that first program. After my first concert, I sat down with my board and discussed my concert; we decided that a second concert more focused on musical theater would be the most appropriate course of action.
My first concert was entitled, “It’s All About Love: Suffering and Seduction.” Songs such as Habanera from “Carmen” and On My Own from “Les Miserables” defined both extremes of the aspects of love. This concert consisted of three arie antiche from the Baroque era, three larger arias (including the Habanera), and four musical theater pieces. Most of the musical theater pieces were all older, including well-known songs such as Begin the Beguine and Bali H’ai. The final piece is a contemporary song from “Songs for a New World” and is called Surrabaya Santa. As previously stipulated, the majority of the pieces had to do with either suffering or seduction. Though not every “suffering” piece had the character suffering in the heart-wrenching pain that some might immediately think of, all the characters suffered tremendously; some through anger and others with pure pain.
The second concert was much more focused on musical theater and took the title, “Shades of Love.” This program is much different than the first. Though both programs are a bit of an eclectic mix of music, this one is much more so than the first. Mixed into a variety of musical theater pieces are two cabaret songs. The opening piece of the program, Tell me the Truth About Love, was the inspiration for the title. When my voice coach told me that, within this piece, I should think of all the different “shades of love” people experience throughout their life, I knew that catchphrase would be my title. That first song captures the theme of the program. Sure, it’s an eclectic mix of music but it’s a mix that explores such a wide variety of emotions and experiences that there is at least one “shade” everyone can relate to.
Though didn’t necessarily follow a clever theme when I chose the music for both programs, I found that themes have a way of presenting themselves. Both of my programs turned out to be an eclectic mix of music but by not following a strict theme or design, I was able to explore a wide variety of genres and time periods. So much of music is about love that it is an easy way to connect a diverse collection of songs. While my first concert allowed me to explore different colors of “suffering and seduction” in love, the second concert afforded me an opportunity to portray a much wider array of emotions. In an exploration of different genres and time periods, I was able to learn a great deal and grew tremendously as both a singer and a performer.
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Papatola, Marissa, "“It’s All About Love: Suffering and Seduction”: A Senior Concert And “Shades of Love”: A Second Senior Concert" (2011). Senior Projects Spring 2011. 169.
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