All posts in the singing category

Batty for opera

Published February 8, 2019 by francesothomas

Making Time with the Maestro


Today is National Opera Day.

I have been interested in opera ever since I was a teenager. This is somewhat a mystery. While I come from a musical family, I don’t recall any opera being played at home.

In my early twenties, I was very briefly a part of the opera company led by Josephine McGrail in Pittsburgh. We rehearsed choruses from Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, and La Traviata. I still remember most of the lyrics. Life intervened, however, and I never got the chance to perform these on stage.

Years later in Florida, I was in the chorus of a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. You can read about that experience in my mini memoir I Guess I’ll Keep My Day Job. Not long after that, I was in a concert version of the second act of Die Fledermaus. I also included the story of that performance in my memoir, and I used many of those details in Making Time with the Maestro. 

In the past few years, I have had the pleasure of singing various opera choruses as part of the Symphonic Chorale of SW Florida along with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. In fact, I was sitting on the stage at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall before a concert when the idea of Maestro came to me.

Do you like opera? Making Time with the Maestro is free today only. Let me know what you think.



Venturing into E-Pub

Published October 20, 2012 by francesothomas

Coming from a musical family, I have always sung in choruses and even done some musical theater. As a result, I have been privileged to meet some wonderful people and have some memorable experiencs. I put together I Guess I’ll Keep My Day Job: Memoirs of a Sometime Singer to capture those stories in essay form. They are available on Kindle for a nominal fee.

I Guess I'll Keep My Day Job

I Guess I’ll Keep My Day Job

Broadway Baby

Published June 13, 2012 by francesothomas

I never, ever miss the Tony Awards. Haven’t been to NYC in many years, but I still want to know what’s playing. This is one year when I particularly wish a trip was in my future. Follies is my favorits show of all time. And Jesus Christ Superstar is right up there too.

My favorite parts of the Tonys, of course, are the numbers from the nominated musicals. The singing is fabulous and the dancing even better. How wonderful it must be to have such talent.

Speaking in tongues

Published February 21, 2012 by francesothomas

The Symphonic Chorale is rehearsing two works in German and a third in Latin. Now, I took Latin 1, 2, and 4 in high school. (Our school didn’t have enough students for a separate third and fourth year so we were all lumped together. But I digress.) Now I find out that the pronunciation I’ve used in singing for thirty years or so is German Latin. My current conductor lived in Rome and demands Italian Latin. Still, the switch from doh-nah to don-nah is manageable enough.

The German is another story. Tim recites the words and we singers parrot them back as best we can. Every time we do this , I am reminded of the scene in Lilies of the Field where Sidney Poitier tries to teach the nuns to speak English. Hilarious.

New venue for Naples concert

Published February 19, 2012 by francesothomas

Symphonic Chorale of SW FL concert in Naples on March 24 will be held at Moorings Presbyterian Church instead of Gulf Coast High School as planned. Collier County School District threw up so many road blocks that we had to go elsewhere. Not an easy feat to accomplish at nearly the last minute. Our Artistic Director Tim McDonnell must have done some fancy talking or maybe the church just felt sorry for us.  Regardless, I am feeling calmer. Now back to my publicizing efforts.