And so we come to the end of another week. I shall be glad to see the end of all of this. The stress has made me frantic at times. I’ve been waking ups early in the morning and not been able to sleep properly and I’m exhausted.

It started with me paralysed – literally paralysed; out of breath; dry, sore throat; nausea at the thought of my first run-through with my accompanist and total fear of the exam. As the week has gone past, the fear has eased and I really felt after Wednesday’s practice that I was ready for my exam on Sunday.

I had a lesson today and there was a maelstrom of contradictory feedback: some of it is absolutely beautiful yet who knows whether I’ll pass or fail and yet it’s the best I can do and I’m never going to be an opera singer but my determination has got me this far and, well you get the picture. I’m left thoroughly confused and yet resigned to Sunday. If I can keep my nerves under control  and can remember all the little bits and pieces that I need I should be OK. And yet, unless I try and forget those little bits and pieces and immerse myself fully in the characters and emotions of the songs, I shall not give a good performance.

To cap it all, I finally resolved the conflict of how to sing Mad Bess of Bedlam today, two days before the exam. You might remember that this was the first song I performed in my Bromley Music Makers’ recital, having been locked out of the building and it was a little tentative. It appears that there has been a conflict in singing styles for this song. (Purcell would only have scored it with a figured bass, line and it’s up to the people who make renditions of the door to provide the actual arrangements.)

Until about 10 years ago, singers were encouraged to sing the song in distinct sections with a pause between each section, denoting Bess’s rising unhingedness. This is how my accompanist at BMM suggested I perform it. In the last decade though, another scholarship of the song has defined it in a different way, expostulating that there should be a constant pulse all the way through the song and it should not stop. I am being asked to sing it like this now. I hope I remember on Sunday, eh?


In other news, I find that I have faded to a lighter shade of foundation. My skin changes colour quite noticeably throughout the year, and often quite quickly, and suddenly I catch my reflection in the mirror and I look strange. This has happened and I have now gone from Syracuse to Barcelona. No. Me neither.


And the Boywonder Facetimed this evening. It’s always lovely to count his presence at out dinner table, just as if he were seated there with us. Of course, he and MsDD has a debate about who was the US President who has done most for civil rights since Abraham Lincoln but that’s usual FT banter hereabouts.

Anyway, enough of me tonight. Sleep well.