Respiro Reflections with Soprano Amanda Blue
Meet one of Respiro’s most enthusiastic alumna, soprano Amanda Blue. Amanda and I had a chance to catch up and talk about her experience during and after Respiro. Following her time at Respiro, in the fall of 2017 Amanda was cast as the New Prioress in Westminster’s production of “Dialogue of the Carmelites” by Poulenc. She went on to place in Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Vocal Competition. Currently Amanda is implementing a recital series in NYC area hospitals which will launch this spring. She continues to work with Respiro faculty David Holkeboer and Deb Birnbaum.
Amanda mentioned several times during the course of our conversation how amazed she was with the growth that took place in just 10 days. From the beginning nervousness of the “meet and greet” to the confidence radiating from the singers and the whole hearted way they engaged with their roles during the final performance she found was just remarkable. She also noted that although the singers came in at different levels, the faculty met everyone where they were in a non-judgmental way, thus giving each participant permission to risk and explore something new.
Amanda came to Respiro by recommendation of her vocal coach. The description of the program also attracted her because she wanted to know more about her body have a better awareness of her instrument. Amanda admitted until the intense body work of Respiro, she had an ambiguous idea as how her singing body functioned. Her expanded sense of self not only helped free her body, but her entire approach to singing became more fluid. Amanda felt what she learned in Respiro literally unstuck her and moved her to a new level of communicating.
Starting each day with yoga was also a part of the program that Amanda really appreciated. It was great to come together in a group activity that opened the body, activated the breath and united body/mind/spirit. It also was a quiet moment to set the intention for the rest of the evening.
She vividly remembers her “ah-ha” moment. It took place the first evening. She got up to sing her aria with rather slouched shoulders and in an almost apologetic way. Body Mapping instructor Jan Prokop came up to her in the break and said “Don’t ever apologize for what you have to say. You are worth listening to. Walk into your space with confidence.” That comment set the tone of all that Amanda would explore during the program.
Amanda called her time at Respiro, “life changing.” The information she received continues to play a huge part not only in her musical preparation, but her outlook on life. We wish Amanda continued success!!!