Have you ever had the opportunity to plead for your soul? I mean to the point that you can feel the heat from hell singeing your heels? Well that’s what I did in the “Libera Me” section of the Verdi Requiem (video below). If you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about, a Requiem is a mass for the dead, and Verdi composed one of the most celebrated versions; perhaps because it’s really an opera masquerading as oratorio. There’s drama in every moment, and singers are taken to their limits in stamina, control, and passion. An opportunity that can kick your butt if you’re not careful. Fortunately I prepared for this one long in advance. After the first run-through I was sweating like I’d run a couple of miles and really needed a nap. Seriously. After a few weeks, however, I was ready to roll and excited to bring Verdi’s work to life to the best of my abilities.
If you’d also like a translation, here goes (thanks Wikipedia!):
Líbera me, Dómine, de morte ætérna, in die illa treménda:
Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
At this point my only real regret is not recording the second performance, where the high B natural was WAAY better. Alas, we live and learn. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and think I’ll keep this one in my repertoire. Enjoyed singing every moment, even if I was simultaneously scared out of my mind. This was a real departure from the type of oratorio or concert rep I normally perform, and provided the eustress I needed to continue growing. Isn’t that half the fun of being an artist? The day I stagnate is the day I find something else to do with my time. Enjoy the performance, and let me know how you’ve approached growth in your own career fields – particularly if it was terrifying or foreign at the time.