Archive for abril 2005


Posted on: Lunes 25 abril 2005

I was preparing the music history class that I will be teaching in a few hours (yes, I know, I’m always at the last minute…) And it struck me how nice and poetic are the music quotes at the back of the book. Let me share them with you:

“There’s only two ways to sum up music;
either it’s good or it’s bad.
If it’s good, you don’t mess with it;
you must enjoy it.”

-Louis Amstrong.

“Nothing on earth is so well suited to make the sad merry,
the merry sad,
to give courage to the despairing,
to make the proud humble,
to lessen envy and hate, as music.”

-Martin Luther.

Did you know that the city where I was born, in Argentina, is well known for its beer? No? Well, they have a web site: Quilmes. In fact, I don’t really like drinking beer… For alcoholic beverage, I prefer a nice Sambuca (or a Pastis, if I am lucky to find some French drinks!), or a well made Pina Colada (I don’t like the all-prepared ones), or even a good Irish cream (I do share the same taste as my husband in that instance).

What else? Oh yeah, I wanted to try the picture-posting thing… Ok, let me see, would you like to see how does the town where I grew up look like?

This is it! “downtown” Castres, southern France.

And again, same place. By the way, don’t get confused, the boat you see is only for tourists, it’s the only one that travels on the river “l’Agout”…

Now, I was looking for a picture of the skyline of Montreal, that’s where I spent 8 years studying music,… but I realized that it does look like any other north American city. The difference you feel it while living there, or visiting. The only problem with Montreal is that it’s in the province of Quebec, that some inhabitants want to call a country… (no comments here) Hey, why don’t you have a look by yourself!? click here.

aha! I know now that I have your entire attention since I am intending to tell my life (once more…)

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Noelia (hey, that’s me!), she was 7 and her dream was to become a singer! So imagine this scene:

grown-up: Little-boys-and-girls, what would you like to be when you grow up?
me: (be unlike you) er, I want to be a singer!
grown-up: That very nice, and what will you sing?
me: (trying to be nice) I know all the songs in Carmen!

For the ones who don’t know what Carmen is, it’s one of the most performed operas in the world today. The composer’s name is/was George Bizet (late romantic), and the libretto is inspired by the play of the same name by Mérimée. All is in the French language, but the plot takes place in Spain, with characters including a charming gypsy girl, Carmen, a desperately in love lieutenant, Don José, a toreador, Don Escamillo, and other fun characters…

So, this little girl’s dream was to become a singer. Later she realized that the type of performing art she enjoyed the most was opera, because… well, for many reasons:

  • A singer who gets a “classical” training tends to know better about her voice than a pop singer who only needs to make sure that her microphone is well plugged to the sound system.
  • Opera itself is the most complete of arts, including, on stage: instrumental and vocal music, lyrics (that is literature & poems), often ballet (that is dancing), and costumes, staging, lighting…
  • Plus, language freak that I am, as an opera singer you tend to sing in many different languages including Italian, German, French, Spanish, just a bit English, and eventually Russian!

Wow! What a dream! So I studied music as seriously as I could, said “stop” to my first boy-friend (I had to sacrifice something for my love of art!- silly me), and spent hours singing or playing the piano, or translating lyrics of my songs. And I did enjoy all this.

Years later, and that brings us back two years ago, I was finishing my Bachelor’s degree at the Conservatoire in Montréal. Daniel, who I had known for the past three years, and I were… well, we were falling in love Big reconsideration for me there. (But hey, not too fast, other things were happening at the same time…) .

Also, I was starting to realize that my beautiful dream was not as nice and pink as it should have been, in fact it was becoming more of a nightmare. On stage we had not this freedom of expression that I thought the singer would have: the stage director was the one telling us was to do, where to go, what to express with the text. etc… What a disillusion! However, I was enjoying the stage and I was having fun, but most of the time I had somebody else telling me that my diction was not good enough (sorry, but this was a big lie, mentira!, that same person couldn’t claim to speak as many languages as I) or that I wasn’t expressing myself well enough, or that I wasn’t sexy enough (and again, I don’t thing that every expression in real life comes back to sex, does it?)

In drama course, the teacher was starting every class with an oriental meditation exercise, and was taking it so religiously-seriously, that we had to discuss how we felt afterwards… Sorry again, but keep your religion for yourself, I know very well what “Tchi Kung” is all about, and I don’t want to have anything to do with it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t the only one Christian in that class who felt the same way, so with a friend of mine we went to discuss it with the teacher after a class. We wanted to tell her that we could do all the movements she wanted, but as to discuss “our sensations”, we wouldn’t have any, because we don’t believe in the same thing as she does. Clear enough? And I have to mention that we were very polite.

Do you want to know her reaction? I had never seen such a thing before! (f0r me, that’s was some kind of evil possession!) She got very mad, told us first that Tchi Kung is not a religion… Then, she said that we couldn’t do anything apart from the group, because she was the chief (!), and then yelled that she believes in Tchi Kung!! (do you see the contradiction here?!)

*sigh* Life might be quite difficult sometimes… I also realized, really-for-real, that to become a singer one has to sacrifice a lot… We had a professional singer come and give us a master-class, and she was laughing about the fact that she wasn’t seeing her husband a lot… (How funny! *ironic, very much sarcastic*…) Well, and I was thinking that to have such a life, spending 2 month here for an opera, and another 3 months there for another project, mustn’t be fun for the family that you leave behind, that is, if you have a family. No, I didn’t want such a life, running after success on my own all my life, without anyone to care for, and be cared by… Yes, I was afraid of being alone. I couldn’t see the motivation anymore.

Daniel and I were discussing all this, talking during hours… Hey, we had been very good friends for the past 3 years, we couldn’t hide anything from each other! We had seen that life was going to be hard for us, Christians in the opera world, but we also knew that love was the most important thing for both of us. So we got married, a very simple ceremony, Pentecost Sunday 2003. The irony is that, the very day after our wedding, he received a letter from the Conservatoire… He realized that this idea that he had in the back of his mind since he was 17 was, after all, his vocation: he will be a pastor.

That’s how, after wanting a life of luxury, success and worldly pleasure, we decided that nothing was as great as serving the Lord! amen.

De todo un poco

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