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"The damned wretch girl was me!"

Marina Pacheco

Few years ago I was part of a production of Paride ed Elena by C.W. Gluck. I played the long and demanding male role of Paride in a staging by the choreographer Clara Andermatt, who gave the performance a very elegant and original movement, creating moments of body dancing dialogue. 

 Marina Pacheco (Paride) & Carmen Matos (Elena)

Marina Pacheco (Paride) & Carmen Matos (Elena)

The scenery was simple but very effective: an old vertical piano, a bit deconstructed so that another singer could pass through it; a round top piano bench also quite old and some large platforms possible to organize in different levels which were modified during the opera to promote diverse dynamics.

It was a wonderful rehearsal period with an amazing cast, incredible team and great stage assistants... All set for the premiere! But first: GENERAL REHEARSAL OPEN TO PRESS.

Everything was going well: silence in the audience; marking and lights all correct; perfect scenery changes; musically all quite well; condition of one of the scenic elements: dubious...

TV Report about Paride ed Elena Production 

In one of the most beautiful moments of the musical interlude, in which the chorus performed a choreography that ended in a kind of human sculpture, my character and romantic partner were watching from the highest platform; she was standing and I was seated in the old (very old!) piano bench. Then I felt a strange creak from the bench and I moved slightly to make sure of it; new creak and no good sign; so I glance at my colleague who was going to sit down after me, but of course my wide open eyes were not enough to make her imagine it was a sign I wanted to give her to be careful. The choreography ends and it's my turn to get up at the same time my colleague has a recitative. It was a frame of second when she breathed and I ended up on the ground before a broken bench!

(I leave place for your imagination...)

Well, going on... I got up in the blink of an eye and I could see the human sculpture shaking everywhere because all of them were trying not to laugh and my colleague was singing from the gut to keep going without stopping... As they say "The show must go on!". Funny as always, I looked everywhere except to my colleague - who was singing looking at me - because I had a tremendous desire to laugh.

Well, from the audience the journalists were certainly registering the hilarious moment... I was right!

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Days later I gave an interview concerning other production I was involved in. The journalist was really kind and as soon as he understood I was part of Paride ed Elena cast he said cheerfully "Oh I was there at general rehearsal when the damned wretch girl fell from the bench".

Immediate answer followed by a huge laugh which characterizes me: "The damned wretch girl was me!".

 

The paradox of a dream's magic

Marina Pacheco

 @ Krystallenia Photography

@ Krystallenia Photography

There are days when a paradox of emotions sets in. A desire to go after dreams, wishing to go higher, aiming achievements... On the other hand: doubt, some inertia, fear of failure and inability to believe with full heart.

The truth is that a step forward allow us to start getting out of the place we are and no longer want to be... regardless whether we need more and more steps after that, as I shared in the post "Drop by drop... Step by step...". A starting point is always necessary and not always the simplest. It's like going to the gym: it's hard to start, but gradually we start getting some results and it becomes as salutary as indispensable. 

It's not possible to live in an impasse of disbelieve in myself and what surrounds me. It doesn't suit me, it doesn't match with the world where everything revolves... It's just not me!

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I ambition new projects, new stages, new achievements... I want to be complete in everything I do! I want to live my life, my career, my dream in full joy... I want to be happy!

 

 

Criticism as a gift

Marina Pacheco

My job is built on criticism. Since the first steps, the first lessons, the first auditions we are confronted with analysis of our work. External analysis by teachers, family, friends and audience and our inner analysis/ self-criticism.

 @Krystallenia Photography

@Krystallenia Photography

This is a path built on the technical basis IDENTIFY - RESOLVE - IDENTIFY AGAIN - RESOLVE AGAIN, which allows us to grow and have the privilege of living under the premise: there is always something to IMPROVE. Perfection doesn't seem reachable to me in such a noble art and so subjective appraisals. What an artist carries with him has so much subjectivity that even near perfection there will always be at least two different perspectives and one always less favorable than the other. 

Hence comes learning how to deal with criticism, to humbly accept opinions and be selective and retain what really serves us. It's not about pedantry, but rather about the capacity of self-evaluation and enhanced use of what's suggested to us. This is because no one knows our body and instrument better than we singers do.

Therefore, the whole process of building a career, a voice and singular artistic truths hides behind a panoply of moments of criticism. And even those considerations made with some meanness and no constructive purpose other than destabilize are as valid as important like all the others, because they give us the possibility of learning to filter what we should or shouldn't retain, to identify what's genuinely said and to prove ourselves we are ready or not to embrace such a beautiful career, however full of demands and creeps.

 

 

 

The promise...

Marina Pacheco

As I wrote in my previous post, the story of my trip to Italy and participation at 37º Zecchino D'Oro contains sub-stories which bring wonderful memories. 

Since I was a child I knew my mum's passion for Italy; she lived there before I was born, she loved the culture, the people, the food, the nooks... Well, I remember as if it was now listening to my mum delighted describing the passion for that country.

It was so intense and genuine that I put in my mind one day I would take her back in Italy!

I was a little girl full of dreams and an immense respect for others' dreams... I was taught like this, I had examples at home like this, so it is easy to understand that this desire of making surprises and helping others to reach their dreams begun in childhood.

 Me and my mum in Venice in 1994 (during the participation at 37º Zecchino D'Oro)

Me and my mum in Venice in 1994 (during the participation at 37º Zecchino D'Oro)

Instilling in me the sense of responsibility, I was a little girl when my mum gave me a piggy bank to which she contributed with a little coin from time to time. A symbolic way of helping me to learn how to organize my stuff.

What did I do? I started counting the pennies so I could have enough money to take my mum to Italy. Innocence! I wanted it so much, I truly believed I could and my mum was delighted with my constant statements: "I'll take you to Italy!", "One day you will be back!", ...

Do not doubt about the power of the mind, the will power and about desiring anything good with full heart...

Some time later - I was member of Pequenos Cantores da Maia (a children choir in the city I lived) - I was invited to represent Portugal at 37ª Zecchino D'Oro, in Italy and naturally I had to be accompanied by an adult: my mother.

Given all the production process it was still a considerable period staying in Italy with little tours in between, as it was the example of Venice.

From then on, behind having done my promise and being really happy about it, I also started talking about Italy completely fascinated... For years I watched Italian TV at home, absorbed their culture in many ways, read books in Italian and I ended up in a career as an opera singer from which I breath Italian culture as well!

Che bello!

Drop by drop... Step by step...

Marina Pacheco

Many years ago, when I was a child, I was invited to represent Portugal in 37th Zecchino d'Oro singing a song by Vítor Dias (artistic director and conductor of Coro de Pequenos Cantores da Maia, to which I belonged).

Naturally I wasn't nervous at all, although I was aware this was an unique opportunity. The program is mythical, the conductor at that time - Mariele Ventre - was a very sweet person and I was assiduous spectator of the show at home through our Portuguese TV RTP. Well, I felt privileged (there's more to say about this whole adventure, but I'll do it in next post...)!

Dreaming took me further and the Universe wanted me to be chosen in 1994 to perform "La Canzone" - Portuguese title: "Esta é uma canção de embalar". The song was beautiful, appropriated and ended with a good classification. 

The whole experience was absolutely memorable and I keep it in my heart and memory, crying frequently when I remember such beautiful and innocent times. I learned some of the magic of recording studios, live broadcasts, photoshoots... everything behind a production of this scale. It is a concept that continues today and will last!

From all the beautiful things I've lived in this period (I've still been in Italy for two months, if I'm not wrong.), I keep the lyrics and melody of one of the songs of that year which should make us think about it every day. It was called "Goccia dopo goccia" ("Drop by drop") and was sweetly performed by 3 Italian kids, whom I keep in my heart and keep contact through social platforms (the good things about internet!).

May we reflect. Here I share the beautiful and special message:

"What is a drop of water if you think about the sea

A small pomegranate seed

A green grass yarn in a large meadow

A drop of dew, what is it?

A step of a child, a note alone,

A sign above a verse, a word?

Anyone says "nothing" but it's not true

Why? Do you know why?

 

Drop by drop a river is born

Step by step we go further

One word only and a song is born

From a << hi>> said at random a new friendship;

And if a voice alone is barely heard

Joining with others makes a choir

And anyone can sing even if out of tune

From nothing, nothing is born: that's it.

 

It's not important if we're not big as the mountains.

What matters is being together

To help those who can not

Drop by drop...

 

Drop by drop a river is born

And a thousand yarns of grass make a meadow

One word only and this is a song

From a << hi >> said at random another friendship

Step by step we go further 

You reach ten because you know how to count

A large skyscraper starts from a brick

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From nothing, nothing is born, that's it.

 

We're all together: that's it.

From nothing, nothing is born: that's all."

Getting to know the World losing "my world"...

Marina Pacheco

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An ambiguous sensation invades me whenever I travel. I feel I'm going to get to know the World, experience new things, discover places. All this leaving behind my space, my family and my friends. They are life options that are harder than we ever imagined.

I realize that I'm losing my world: I'm not there at birthdays, at the festivities, at parties organized to get friends together, at those moments when my people need a hug... or when I need a hug.

Sometimes I wonder the paradox of all this; I question the crudity which lies behind these magic moments that I live on stage.  

Losing my world hurts deep; knowing the other side of my career and living it provides me with huge happiness and personal fulfillment..

It wouldn't be possible to feel it differently: art is emotion, it is surrender, it is giving... and it is feeling happiness in that offering. They are options... One has to try to understand how to handle it...

 

When "my people" are not in the audience...

Marina Pacheco

 @ Krystallenia Photography

@ Krystallenia Photography

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I sing inspired, happy, fulfilled ... The lights beating my face, the energy on stage whispering good emotions to make me keep going with all surrender... I absorb every fraction of a second of each moment I fully live on stage... The piece ends, that happiness fulfills me completely, the applauses pop - some more sincere than others, but there in the middle they are not distinguishable - and that compliment delights me. The lights of the room turn on, I manage to recognize the faces on the audience... Or maybe not...

Unfortunately not always I can count on "my people" on the other side: some concerts are far away; sometimes work do not allow the presence of those I love; some people have already listened to me and feel they did their job already (they don't understand the distinct magic of each unique project I take on stage); some friends forget; some colleagues get sick, others get lazy... I can't find that smile "of mine" from the audience at the end of the concert! The lights shut down, I change clothes in the dressing room, I get out from artists door, nobody waiting... I don't have the right of getting "my" hug in the end!

I enclose myself in an inner smile which warms me. I feel that bittersweet happiness of being living a fantasy that suddenly has ceased to be and became reality... That reality which adjusts the dreams in the best way...

"My people" are not always there...

 

 

Envy: enough!

Marina Pacheco

 @ Krystallenia Photography

@ Krystallenia Photography

I refuse to deal with envy, to covet others. I refuse to focus in a feeling which, beyond not allowing me to evolve as a human being, makes me be focused on my next with a disloyal principle of copying or stealing identity's characteristics. A desire to live someone's destiny. It's hard to see that feeling in someone's eyes and feel that the human being gets often carried away, promoting unconfortable situations and unnecessary comparison with others which leads to disloyal behavior. 

What matters willing to be better than the other? What matters overcoming his achievements? I don't wanna my self: I don't want too forget what characterizes me; I don't want to become a product of something idealized in my head based in a feeling as envy.

Each one's path has a purpose. Options, goals and dreams are result of a personality that has been stoned since birthday. How to envy that? How come to try to have something we will never feel ours even after reaching it?

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We may seek our essence, understand our path, fight for our dreams and love our existence and who we are, exactly as we are.

 

Signs from the Universe!

Marina Pacheco

Sometimes the world gives us proof that things don't happen by chance... Coincidences?! Yes, it is possible... but there are moments when it is truly hard to be so disbelieving that willpower and good energies which surround us can make move the universe.

 With teacher Luciana Serra at the Workshop&nbsp;

With teacher Luciana Serra at the Workshop 

Still a student at Bachelors, I really wanted to do a summer course - a specific singing workshop - with two weeks duration, in Switzerland... I took my savings, but the money wasn't enough and I really wanted to go... It was a very good masterclass with a teacher with whom I dreamed to learn one day... The application's deadline was almost there and the amount of money necessary was considerable to be possible, in such short time, to get the money that was still missing.

There was not much I could do and five days to the payment's deadline we got a post mail at home addressed to my mother, whose sender was a Bank. Curious was fact that she had no longer an account on that bank and the last time she had it was for a loan for the house where we lived when I was a little baby, in Lisbon, around 20 years ago. Changing house and life, she also changed Bank.

Must say the letter came to our new home - new address - in a city 300km away from Lisbon. Considering that a mere confusion from the Bank, once my mum was not a client anymore, we went together to one of its counters to understand what was the subject. For some lapse the account hadn't been closed and some money got stored there... Some... Precisely the amount I needed to the course I wanted to do with all my soul... Yes... The coincidences!

May we all pay more attention to the signs of life, of the universe and of nature... And above all to our thoughts, the ones we desire and visualize. I could go! And I was so happy!

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Gratitude!

 

Just being!

Marina Pacheco

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To perform a work requires understanding it, feeling it inside, contextualizing its origin and the purpose of whom created it. To perform a song or aria however requires to put a lot of ourselves in it.

This is Art: a compromise between what is written on the score and simply BEING! Because art is to feel, to live, TO BE!

We leave so much of ourselves in what we do that is inevitable the beautiful and magic singularity which the interpretation of a piece suggests. 

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And each piece is a unique work regardless the passion we have for it and because of that it will always be singular and special in itself. Music is easily appreciable, causing delight. But what makes it incredible is this peculiar uniqueness that each artist gives to it with his own characteristics, inherent to his Self, to his Being!