Today I came down with the flu passing through the Smith JYA Paris program the exact day when (tant pis) I had an audition for voice lessons. Semi-delirious and achy, I not only mistook the time of the audition, but lost the address, my way and my sense of direction. I managed to get there an hour later, but fortunately for me, the teacher was really understanding and very sweet about letting me vocalize and sing for her, even though I was late, ill and (by that point) mildly hysterical.
I have to say, as much as I love the French language, it is at its best when sung. It's hard to do the nasal vowels when your flu has knocked off the top of your range, but there's something about singing in French that feels extremely decadent. Italian to me feels very pure (all those very pure, non-diphthong vowels) and English very comfortable (it's my first language, after all!), but there's something about singing in French that makes me feel like I've wrapped my vocal chords in Lyons silk. I and another student sang Dome Epais, a beautiful duet that one may recall from the British Air commericials of the 1990s. French Romantic composers really knew their stuff. I mean, you have to go Baroque to get your diva-trills in, and to Mozart to be simple and clever all at once, but you can't top the French Romantics for sheer beauty of tone. They understood their language and crafted the notes around it so carefully it's a pleasure to sing it.
I'd like to say that getting to sing that duet cured my of my flu (music being the food of love and feeding a fever, a melange of aphorisms that really did make sense in my head this morning, when I was hopped up on French Tylenol) but, alas, it hasn't. It's made me extremely cheerful because hey, it's another aspect of the Beauty That Is France, but Rob has still banned me from going out in public, lest I spread my contagion to everyone else. Fortunately for me, I now have Dome Epais to sing until my flu takes my voice away altogether. If you can't marvel at the Gothic masterpiece that is Notre Dame, or see the arm-less beauty (Venus de Milo) at the Louvre, getting to sing Dome Epais isn't a bad alternative.