Nerves at times can get the better of us, they cloud our minds and we get taken away from the bigger picture. For the audience to fully engage in your performance, it would be best if those nerves could be put at bay.
1. Rest, rest, rest…. when at all possible. In the week leading up to an opening night and during a season, rest is the best medicine for a healthy voice and a focused mind. With the confidence that you are well rested and with “fresh” voice any possible nerves and doubts are subdued and help you to perform at your peak.
2. Resting allows you to enjoy all those downtime TV pleasures that at other times you may feel guilty about! I love to delve into a new TV series, or revisit those old favourites (BBC Pride and Prejudice is a particular indulgence of mine). These are a great distraction and really help me relax on nights leading up to an opening night when final rehearsals are becoming very concentrated and tiring.
3. Baking…. something about mixing exact amounts of melted chocolate, salted butter, flour and sugar is definitely a pastime that helps me find my happy, calm place and makes for a perfect creative activity while mentally going over notes, words and difficult musical passages. And of course getting to sample the results is an enjoyable part of the process, and your fellow cast members always benefit from this as well!
4. Backstage, a simple hot water with honey does wonders. The placebo effect of drinking a throat soothing and warming drink calms me down and is an enjoyable way of keeping hydrated. Water, water and more water is a must as well. Hydration is a voice’s best friend.
5. My dressing room pre-performance routine always involves listening to music to distract me and keep me smiling. Something upbeat and happy is definitely the best combination, whether it be Paul Simon, Michael Jackson or Ella Fitzgerald.
6. Be prepared…. working hard in the weeks/months/possibly years leading up to an operatic role all pays off in performances. Nerves are best put at bay when you have the confidence of solid preparation behind you. Then you can get out there under the lights, breath, enjoy each moment while making beautiful live music and bringing an audience into your character’s world for a few exciting hours.
For more information on the Opera Young Artist Program click here