Monday, March 12, 2007

Bathroom Divas 2 Episode 5

This week's episode saw the three remaining finalists prepare for and perform in the final vote-off. At the beginning of the episode, the three found out that the judges requested that they perform the arias they learned for the first week in order to gauge progress throughout boot camp. These arias are:

Phil: "O du mein holder Abenstern" from Wagner's Tannhauser
Elaine: "Senza mamma" from Puccini's Suor Angelica
Paul: "Questa o quella" from Verdi's Rigoletto

After coaching these arias with Mary Lou Fallis and Dan Lichti with Susan Black at the piano (I was at the Tapestry composer/librettist laboratory for a few days), internationally renowned soprano Measha Brueggergosman visited the house to offer advice on the finalists' appearance and dress. This was followed by a shopping expedition where Measha chose the finalists' outfits for the final performance.

A day of coaching with Tom Diamond followed, in which all three were asked to go beyond what they had previously allowed themselves in order to more fully engage with the drama of their arias (a highlight was Phil being asked to do half a dozen laps around the pool prior to singing his aria in order to more fully access his physicality).

The next day I was back at the house to play for the final day of coachings. Each singer was allowed to choose their coach for the final day: Phil chose Tom, Elaine chose Dan, and Paul chose Liz. That afternoon, season one finalists Elton Lammie and Sonja Gustafson came to the house to share their experiences with this year's singers.

That evening, Paul, Elaine, and Phil were asked to do an impromptu dress rehearsal of their arias.

The final day of boot camp featured the finalists performing for the judges at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, with myself at the piano. The guest judges were mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin and conductor Yves Abel. Phil, Paul and then Elaine, all showing remarkable improvement, sang for the judges and received a positive response on the amount of growth they had shown in their final performance.

Next week on the Bathroom Divas season finale: the judges' deliberations and the announcement of the winner...

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