Master Class with Chuck Hudson
Merola Opera Program 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 7:00pm | Herbst Theatre
Last night supporters of Merola were invited to attend a master class with the Chuck Hudson, a snappy, attentive & alert theater coach. The purpose of the session was to help the singers hone their presentations in the context of an audition. Mr. Hudson did a great job of being both instructive for the singers & entertaining to the audience. He was especially funny when drawing a singer's attention to awkward gestures, calling one pose "Doctor waiting for scrubs" & asking one singer, "Are you selling me a used car?" He was most effective when he called out phrases implying subtext while the scene was going on. Just saying things between the singer's phrases -- "you want to wring his neck", "you see the moon", "mating call" -- really did improve the singer's focus.
Soprano Nadine Sierra sang the "Silver Aria" from The Ballad of Baby Doe with a distinctive, velvety sound. Immediately after her aria, she surprised Mr. Hudson by leading the Merolini & the audience in singing Happy Birthday to him. Baritone Benjamin Covey sang "Hai già vinta la causa" from Le nozze di Figaro while Mr. Hudson tried to get him to "cause the accompaniment" by moving his legs when not singing. Mezzo Renée Rapier easily dropped into the sad mood of "Must the winter come so soon?" from Vanessa, even before Mr. Hudson gave any notes. Tenor Eleazar Rodríguez sang a dreamy "Un' aura amorosa" from Cosi fan tutte, & Mr. Hudson helped him find ways to make the many repetitions of the same words more interesting. Finally baritone Ryan Kuster, possessed of a very big voice, sang "Here me, o Lord!" from Floyd's Susannah. Mr. Hudson helped knock the level of the preacher's desperation up a notch. Pianist Natalia Katyukova provided Mr. Kuster a dark & rich-sounding accompaniment.
Attendees were invited to a champagne reception with Mr. Hudson & the Merolini afterward, but I was unfortunately not able to stay for this.