Three ways to lessen suffering the pain of auditions

The other day I saw a marvelous television program in which Bill Moyers interviewed Pema Chödrön, an elderly American lady, now Buddhist nun, who has become famous for her wisdom mixed with common sense.

One of the subjects she dealt with that struck me with great force was the difference between pain and suffering. The interpretation she chose to differentiate between those words was powerful. She described pain as being for example, an unwelcome event, an injury, a disappointment, and so on. And suffering is what we then do inside ourselves in response to that event.
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Artistic Intimacy

I was completely stunned by two video excerpts I saw yesterday on the ubiquitous youtube of Dawn Upshaw singing Messiaen‘s “Saint François d’Assise”, directed by Peter Sellars. (I’m indebted to Alex for posting one on his blog).

The excerpts show the rehearsal process, Dawn’s valiant struggles with the virtuosic music and Peter guiding, encouraging and sometimes being extremely exacting with her.

At times, Sellars appears to be making excessive demands– why on earth is he asking for such elaborate postures and insisting on such a precise quality of movement when the music is already so taxing? Can’t he see that just singing the piece accurately would already be plenty? As a coach myself, I’m an advocate for sensitive treatment of singers, and was at first perplexed.
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