I have chosen the Myth of Persephone to look at the ages/phases of womanhood and I am illustrating each stage in my new CD with Operatic heroines.
I am going beyond the simple minded dichotomy of virgin/whore/mother or lover that afflicts women in patriarchs. Each stage has complex archetypes, besides each woman has within herself myriads variations.
My Operatic women and their voices help me to examine their journeys and choices.
The vitality of a woman can be restored by digging into the ruins of female underworld, where one can face the more wild and innate instinctual self. This is my own journey and this CD project very much reflects that. What intrigues me is how different women find the balance between the darkness and light and what are their journey into the Renaissance.
Besides, we are all children when it comes to stories. I think that stories are like medicine. They have such powers, they do not require to do anything, but only listen, the remedies for healing are contained in the stories. They awaken the excitement, sadness, questions, longing, and understanding. Exactly like music!
But putting mythological forensics aside, I want to tell about the recording experience 🙂
Few days before the recording, I sat quietly and thought about all the heroines that I am about to sing. I created an image for each one of them as if they were standing in front of me, as if I am looking into their eyes. Incredible warmth spread over my body and I realized that they are all bursting to speak, wanting their voices to be heard and it is through me that their stories will be sang.
The recording lasted 3 days, with 2 previous days of rehearsals. Each day was as different as the phases of my women. I am grateful for each one of the experiences in this week.
I discovered freedom, surrender, I discovered huge new strengths and how good it feels to really connect to myself, listen to my own voice and to what I need and want. I felt that to surrender makes you feel the way life is, beauty is, nature is.
At times the recording presented challenges and tested my stamina to its limits. It has stretched my vocal ability to the farthest I have ever went, mainly because of the intense and demanding schedule.
I discovered that the less I gave, the more I had. I learnt that some emotions are better to put aside, as they can only stand on the way and block the freedom of your mind and soul.
The more complex situation was, the simpler the solution appeared. All I had to do is to listen to my body and my voice and understand what they needed.
I had to access my deepest resources of hope, energy, confidence, trust and faith and beauty of surrender and go on, and the results took me by surprise and brought a lot of joy 🙂
I was taking inspiration from people around me, young musicians, who were there with me and for me.
I am sure this CD is one of many, and they all will be different, they will probably present a phase or a fascination of my own life. But I will always remember this first opera CD with the youngest orchestra I have ever sang and the discovery of surrender.
Singing is like a form of dance. It begins in the body, the heartbeat, the rhythm is where the meaning begins. Music of your own body, your own mind. The dance with many partners, your soul, the words, the music, the conductor and orchestra. This recording was a dance of many voices and an exhilarating one.
Ilona Domnich Soprano
Leo Nucci Bariton
Simon Over Conductor
Rupert Coulson- producer, at Air studios Hampstead
programme: arias and duets from Snowmaiden, Rigoletto, Figaro, Manon, Fortunio, La Voix Humaine, Linda di Chamounix, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Rondine