Buckle up. This is about to get mushy and personal.
Today’s selection, “Alma del core” is a sweet declaration of love. The lyrics remind me, unsurprisingly, of the one I love. So, I dedicate it to my husband, Henry Busby. Our marriage has been a true source of comfort and strength to me during social distancing.
Soul of my heart, spirit of my soul Ever faithful, I will adore you. I will be happy in my torment If I can kiss your handsome lips. -Poet unknown
I decided to dedicate today’s selection, “Sento nel core,” to my friend and colleague, Michelle Markwart Deveaux. I know Michelle through the Speakeasy Cooperative, a wonderfully supportive and multi-talented group of independent voice teachers which Michelle founded. Michelle and the other voice teachers in SECO have been there for me in so many ways as I have transitioned from a career in higher education to life as a small business owner. Why this song for Michelle? There’s no hidden meaning really, it’s just that she seems like someone who appreciates a good torch song, even if it is three hundred years old. And this one literally has a torch in it.
I feel sharp sadness in my heartwhich disturbs my peace. A torch shines which ignites my soul. If it is not love, it will be love.
While we are waiting for it to be safe again to have public performances and rehearsals, I decided to create a fun performance project for myself from home. I’ve chosen 24 arie anthiche (literally: “old songs”) to sing while accompanying myself on the piano. These Italian songs and arias are classics of the vocal repertoire and are often used as teaching pieces. I learned several of them as a beginning student, and I have been playing them regularly with my own voice students for the past 12 years. I’m uploading one song each day to YouTube for the rest of the month of May. It’s not slick sound or video production; it’s me, a one-woman team, just singing into my phone because I’m a singer and I simply must sing, social distancing notwithstanding. My spouse helps with the page turns, which is MUCH appreciated. I choose a dedication each day. Sometimes it’s to a group of people, sometimes it’s one individual I’m thinking of, someone who has a special story with the song or aria in question.
The first video, linked above, is dedicated to my first voice teacher, Professor Linda Dobbs. Linda made it clear to me that in singing, simple and easy were not the same thing. “Amarilli, mia bella” is her favorite of the arie antiche, and it really can’t be matched for lush beauty and subtle technical demands. It’s an excellent teaching piece and a piece to grow with throughout a singer’s life. I never tire of singing it or hearing it, and I’ve been singing it for almost 20 years now. I hope you enjoy this first installment of 24 Arias in 24 Days!