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And rain, will make the flowers grow...

I think I've mentioned before that I tend to do things in streaks. It's always been a part of my nature that I don't seem to do anything in moderation, though what I'm doing at any particular time seems to shift about. It's that reason I've never tried to play any MMORPG or any computer game that requires a monthly fee. I can almost guarantee that if I tried, I would get hooked and spend the first few weeks spending almost all my time there. Two months down the line, it's just as likely that I won't log on even once and I'll still be paying the $19.95 or whatever to keep the account active.

Years ago when I was younger, I was absolutely obsessed with musicals. I'm pretty sure I have at least a couple entries on here about how I absolutely fell in love with Les Miserables during college. My sister had bought the broadway cast recording and since I was bored one night, I listened to it and it was amazing. I had always loved Disney movies for the music, but for some reason it had never occurred to me that musicals would be the same thing only bigger and better. Overnight a new world opened and I starting buying cast recordings and listening to them over and over. People who knew me during that time were probably quite exasperated that I would walk around singing the entire score of Les Miserables to myself wherever I went. When I moved to Chicago for grad school, I even took advantage of the theater opportunities there and would buy myself discount balcony season passes meant for students and got to actually see some of the shows I had only listened to on cd.

It's not to say that my interest in musicals extinguished in the years since, but it was often overshadowed by other interests. The one place that musicals always pop back into my head though is at the airport. For some reason, I feel this obsessive need to sing to myself while at the airport and standing in those ticket or security lines. I get a few strange looks for sure, but I find it comforting to sing in those circumstances. I think it just gives me a way to pass the time without becoming annoyed or fretting, and god knows there's nothing else you can do while standing in a security line. And just to note, it's not like I'm belting out showtunes at the top of my lungs or even in a normal voice. I'm pretty sure that sort of thing would guarantee me some extra screening time after all.

I've always loved music in a specific and particular sort of way. Songs which tell a story with a melody that carries through. I've never been all that interested in pop music of any sort, having bought almost no non-musical music cds in my life and only being a radio listener at best in my teens. Honestly, I couldn't even understand much of the thrill when I saw friends following bands and groups and discussing music in general. At the time, I was more likely to have The Little Mermaid soundtrack playing in my car than anything from the Top 40. In fact, I think my friends back then discovered a rather particular form of hell when the one person who had a car and was willing to drive them around also had a tendency to sing along to disney soundtracks wherever you went. Apparently, it's really hard to act cool under those circumstances.

For the past day or so, I've been listening to broadway cast recordings that I snagged from a massive torrent online. I was surprised to note that the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert had taken place last year and I eagerly went to download a copy of the video. I would have loved to have been in the audience for it, but given that it took place in the UK, even if I had known about it ahead of time and was willing to pay the price for a ticket, it wouldn't have happened. I had also watched the 10th anniversary concert and bought both the video and audio cds. It had been dubbed The Dream Cast and I had no reason to doubt that given the quality. This is especially true now, after having seen the 25th anniversary concert. It was really sad to not have Colm Wilkinson play the role of Valjean though it was spiffy to see Lea Salonga back, even if it was as Fantine instead of Eponine. All in all, the cast was just lacking in almost every single role compared head to head. The biggest disappointments were the casting of Marius and Thénardier. I know Marius is supposed to be a callow youth, and the person they got surely fit that role, but he just couldn't carry the part as far as his voice went. The person who played Thénardier wasn't awful, but only lacking by comparison to the amazing job Alun Armstrong. At least Jenny Galloway returned as his wife, and she was wonderful as always.

25 years. It's almost hard to imagine that that much time has passed. Ever time I listen to these musicals, I always wish that I had been blessed with some talent to really sing. It's not like I'm tone deaf, but I always wished that I could sing well enough to match the music in my head. There's always something about a beautiful voice that always gets me right to my core. People are often asked what single attribute could make you fall in love with someone, and I think it might be that for me. I only wish I had a voice to match.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
chocodiablo
Aug. 18th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
i love singing. you should take voice lessons.
henwy
Aug. 18th, 2011 07:00 am (UTC)
For no other reason than to amuse myself? Seems like it would be a waste of money and time at this point. It would have been something to try when I was still a kid.
chocodiablo
Aug. 18th, 2011 11:19 am (UTC)
not a waste of money at all, i think you'd really enjoy it. you've got a nice voice and good pitch, which will help a lot. you just love music so much, i think you'd really get a lot out of it.
henwy
Aug. 18th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
What made you decide to start? I know this sort of thing is up your alley.
chocodiablo
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
really it was listening to musicals from an early age and knowing that i wanted to be able to sing like those people. my mum was an elementary school music teacher so we always had a lot of music around the house. her side of the family was very musical so when all the relatives got together there'd be a lot of andrew lloyd webber and gershwin going on and it just went from there. i could sing alright, but wanted to be better. my mum wouldn't let me take lessons because she didn't think i was good enough, so i would sing along to cast recordings and audition for shows. she came to see me in a dinner theatre when i was 15 and i sang don't cry for me argentina, and she put me in voice lessons the next week. i started to train for opera and was heading towards majoring in vocal performance in university but i didn't want it to become more work than enjoyment, so i went in a different direction and now just sing in random concerts and a little singing group in my hometown. the lessons were completely worth it, my voice improved immensely. i'm even thinking of taking them again because my voice is more mature now and probably at it's best point. and there is my life story in music.
henwy
Aug. 18th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I have this tendency to believe that talent is talent, and no talent is no talent. I know that getting training can hone a skill but it's hard for me to really attribute abilities like this to practice or technique rather than something inborn. It's sort of like artists. Some people can draw and some can't. I always figured if you had the gift, it would just shine through regardless.
chocodiablo
Aug. 18th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
don't believe that. i mean, you do need to have some sort of talent for singing (meaning you can't be completely tone deaf) but there are tons of amazing singers who have just had good training. i think it's because a lot of singing has to do with muscles and breathing technique. if you train and practice, your voice will get stronger because you'll learn how to use what you've got. of course there are singers who are just naturally born with it and are hated by all the other singers who have had to work hard to get to where they are. my voice teacher was actually a piano major and she got in a car accident and had nerve damage to her arms, so she had to switch to voice. she had an ok voice, it was very small and weak, but she could stay on pitch. she was lucky to get a good voice teacher, and now she's amazing and can belt out gilbert and sullivan (that stuff is hard). anyway, from what i've heard of you singing, you've got good potential.
jirel
Aug. 18th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
I like musicals although they still have to abide by my standard rule - happy endings. Have you listened to any of the Bollywood stuff? And in 'things I like that as a child I would have laughed at' - I love opera. I found this out in Bratislova (Slovakia) where I was working as a consultant. The opera there played three different operas during the week and changed often. And cost something like $1.50 a show. HONESTLY! On top of that it was within walking distance of the hotel. I had really only listened to The Magic Flute before that (heard it first in college) and although I liked it, for some stupid reason never tried any other opera.

I'm non musical enough that I don't normally listen to music - I can't sing at all - but opera is one of the things I will listen to. And would go to given a chance. While working in St Paul, Mn (consultant again), I bought a season ticket to their opera. LOVED IT! (Way more than 1.50 a show though. LOL!)
jirel
Aug. 18th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
BTW - unfortunately the only anime I've watched has all been Mitsubishi so I can't comment on most the thing's you've posted on so far. And I've read manga but it was all (blush) yaoi. Although truthfully - I find it absolutely hilarious that I discovered slash in my mid-50s and like it.
henwy
Aug. 18th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
I just don't get slash and fujoshi quite frankly. You can't even claim that men are the same since I don't think there are hoards of us who just love reading stories about lesbians. It's not a genre I avoid since yuri elements come up quite often in anime, but it's usually just one or two characters in a cast. I know there are yuri-dominant shows, but it doesn't seem that there's a huge subset of men who do nothing but watch those shows. Especially when it compare it to the other 'chase genres' like loli's or mecha or whatever.
henwy
Aug. 18th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
I actually loathe opera. The whole operatic style usually grates on my nerves and strikes against the very things I love about musicals. Namely that they tell a story (and I don't understand italian) and the melody is catchy. There are some cross-over elements like Phantom or Gilbert and Sulivan I do enjoy, but it's because they are mixed rather than being pure opera.
jirel
Aug. 18th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
From my point of view, liking opera is similar to liking slash. Damned if I really know why I do. I do suspect that with slash some of it is a matter of the fact that I like hurt/comfort stories and find it easier to bear for a guy to get hurt and have to be rescued rather than a woman, but then I can say I like the voices in opera. Neither is a full, good reason to really like the subject. But I do anyway. Shrug, people are strange.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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