29 March, 2006


And by forward, I mean "Kadima"- the Israeli political party that seems to have won the top number of seats in this latest election.
No need to get political and stray too far from the music, but this fills me with hope that the forward thinkers who want to maintain a "Jewish Democratic State" will be able to now do so, without the morality versus security issue- ie, occupying another people.

This has been a long time coming, and it has perhaps taken a generation of voters who have not served in an official declared 'war' after an attack by one of many Arabic nations between '48-'76 and even '81, but instead have been in the army during the Intifada years, where terrorism (as defined by militaristic actions against civiliants) versus freedom-fighting (as defined by militaristic actions against military/government powers) was more prominent.

And so- hopefully with continued pull-outs and giving up of land, perhaps the country will be gaining its moral highground and security once more.


26 March, 2006

remember when...

Remember when you were between the ages of 16-21 and you had no clue that you could possibly make a career out of singing? You were maybe debating between going to college or conservatory, getting told by parents that a career in the arts was maybe not the best way to go, but getting complete support from your amazing "first" voice teacher, who thought you could be the next sutherland/callas/dessay?

Remember then when all you had to do was learn the notes of the song, sing it like you meant it, and all of the joy, unriddled by years of technical talk, self-awareness, self-criticism, and self-consciousness, was pure? Sure, you may not have sounded like a pro, but there was a loveliness, a naivete, a sparkle to what you were doing, because it was the first time you were ever doing it, and you weren't even sure if what you were doing would be enough to carry you through to making this a profession.

I attended an undergrad recital tonight. And yes, although the girl would definitely get a technique reworking if she continued singing and auditioned for grad schools, the sheer purity and excitement of her voice in recital for the final year of her undergrad was just astounding.
Sure, she needs to work on supporting her breath, and yes, phrasing, languages--everything that you get with work in grad school devoted only to the craft of singing (with some music history and theory thrown in), but it was really beautiful in an innocent kind of way.

In a- this is me, this is my original voice,. I've worked hard, learned the music, and here is my unadulterated voice coming at you in a glorious wave of youth and happiness- kind of way.


25 March, 2006

fate update

Nope. Instead of a 5 hour drive apart, we will now be a 5 or 6 hour flight apart (plus stopovers).
Next Next year, as I said below, I will be living an exotic life in some exotic country. Together.


fun press

It's really weird to be at a stage in my singing where I can google myself and find that OTHER people can also see that I've been hired to do things next year. On two homepages of OC's (Opera Companies), I can now see that it's true via press releases and cast lists.
The contract will not dissolve into magical fairy dust!
They like me, they really like me!

I guess that means I should learn the music now.

Now it's not just my website, old cast lists from college, reviews by know-body newspapers (also from college), and un-updated competition websites (that I ALSO did in HS (!) and college).

In other news, goals for the next next year are to go international. There are specific reasons for this (namely, a significant person), but we are in the beginning musings of dropping everything in the US and attempting to go global by choosing a city with a population greater than 2.5 million, culture, potentially in a language that we have both studied (or not at all), where we could both pursue our career goals (different), and make enough money to live as poor bohemians with nothing to run on but happiness and the dream.

I feel as if this would not be putting the career "aside", IF I somehow figured out how to audition for companies in possible places like this, OR knew of teachers, coaches, places to study, maybe even schools or programs that I could enroll in. As long as I'm adding either complete fluency plus hopefully a role or two to my repertoire, it's worth it.

And I'll look at it this way- if I do go and it ends up being in Europe, I'll really only care about traveling and seeing everything and maybe participating in some international competitions along the way.
If it ends up not being in Europe, I'll get really good at using chopsticks.


22 March, 2006


A sleepless night later, I sang this morning and did a decent job. It wasn't my best--but could they tell? Only time (or one day) will tell. They asked for the 2nd piece I did not think they'd ask for. Was it because it's very very hard and high? Or because it's much shorter than the other choice they had (sparing them)?
My own review- I lost some luster in the first piece. It's a crowd pleaser, I know. I tried to sell it, really I did. The vocal was there. But boy was I TIRED during the 2nd verse and especially the end coloratura stuff- especially that last note--where once again I couldn't tell how many thirds above usual I had attempted to sing.
I hung in there dramatically obviously, but it sucks when you know you're only being "listened" to and they are not really amused by what you're doing.

Second piece- Good. Obviously the high notes were there and great. I felt pretty good dramatically about it too. It's really their decision- I'm not sure how many other coloraturas they heard who would be offering any or all of this same music.
I did the best I could on weird sickness, no sleep, and early non-warm up mode.


20 March, 2006

allergy cold or virus

My throat is scratchy. If I don't control my cough it sounds bronchial and scary. It's either allergies or weirdness in weather- since it's been between 50 and 20 in the past 3 days, snowing and sunny, or it's a cold- in which case my vitamin C drops better be doing some good, or it's a virus, in which case I can't do anything but ride it out and hope it doesn't get any worse that it compromises my singing in the city this week.

Either way, I should sleep it off and take off tomorrow morning- I'll see how long I let myself get away with sleeping in.


19 March, 2006

words words words

The performance tonight went well. Didn't mess up words that I had to learn 15 minutes before the show.
Went to the gym again today, but was bored bored bored. Need to bring something to listen to or do something more interesting from now on. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.
Have one more to get through tomorrow before I can completely only concentrate on upcoming competitions and summer music.

I saw V (for Vendetta) today, and aside from it being an action movie, I actually really liked it. I found that it was a bit thought-provoking. There was definitely one twist I never expected until the last 5 minutes of it, when I noticed that the interrogator was wearing the SAME GLOVES AS V! Please people, I'm smarter than that- I was CSI like, every time it's on (like right now- new 1am episode, yea!).


17 March, 2006

the day's update

1. I peed after my lesson.
2. I went to the gym! (30 minutes on elliptical until some FOOL got on the treadmill in front of me and blocked the TV)
3. I also photocopied about half of the things that I needed to do- except not the most pressing ones, instead the ones that are farthest down on the list of things to be standing around at a copier machine xeroxing.

I am vocally happy and content right now because I know what I'm doing. I'm getting back to that feeling of the good old days, having completely dealt with both ends of the spectrum in terms of technique, focus, spreading, resonance over the past two years.
I feel as if I've come full circle and realized that I had it all from the beginning, but it took this journey of going through body and voice to bring me back to the start, only much more secure, beautiful, supported, and correct.
This is my voice and I'm not doing anything to it to make any type of sound. And that feels nice!

Have two performances this weekend that I'm looking forward to because they're the best kind- a mix of MT and opera, fun, audience pleasing numbers, me in a pretty dress and heels that hopefully I can walk in like a normal person and not an alien.

Next task: (old task) learn music for summer and next year...seriously I have to stop kidding around with this stuff.
And coming up sooner than that: Review arias for upcoming competitions.

And keep going to the gym!


more not music

My landlord is in my apt. right now fixing the bathroom sink, which, over the past 2 weeks has been draining more and more slowly. This is great, except that I just rolled out of bed, haven't peed, haven't showered, haven't brushed my teeth, and I have a lesson in approximately 40 minutes. That's what I get for sleeping in because I stayed up late last night reading.

So now I'm dressed in gym clothes, and using this non-shower opportunity to hope that I make myself go to the gym after my lesson---the gym which I have not visited regularly since, oh, November (the last time I was getting buff for a show).

Things I can do in my gym clothes that don't involve going to the gym:
Get coffee and breakfast after my lesson
Go to kinkos and photocopy some music that I want to bind together for next week
Stop at Target on the way to the gym and see if I end up just spending some money there and then turning around and going home.
Do ANYTHING that involves eventually not making it to the gym today.

The thing is, the dance and yoga for the past few months have been really great, but I know if I just go kick my own butt for 45 minutes every other day I'll see the results more than just knowing that I feel good after sore muscles from pliees and downward dog.

Back to my sink- the landlord left, but left the door open. Does that mean I can pee yet?


15 March, 2006

not about music AT ALL

I know I'm not supposed to tell anyone, so I figured I'd post it here online for the whole world to possibly see (not that they read this, but whatever).

Dear person or persons in charge of fate,
PLEASE let the clouds part this afternoon at 1pm, as my BF's boss calls their entire section into a meeting. Please let the radiant light of the missing sun over the northeast penetrate down through those super-clean windows and Please let the announcement be that they are moving to a location that would be a $150 dollar 45 minute plane ride away from where I'll be next year, and a 6 hour drive from where I'll be next year.

I've had enough of small towns and 5 hours drives and no time together for the past 2 years except some performance weekends and some weekends off in between productions.

Please say that we will both be in two large, great, fun cities next year, enjoying ourselves, our friends, and our work, and being able to SEE eachother every OTHER weekend or so, not talk on the phone every night planning when we'll see each other in a MONTH.

I will even be a good girl and practice, and not eat like crap, and go to the gym, and really really care about myself and people around me! But if you could just make this happen so that I don't feel like I'm leaving next year, to go to a part of the country I've never been, that costs $500 dollars to get back to the coast that I know and love, I'd really really appreciate it.


14 March, 2006

public enemy number one

Facial, head bopping, leaning, smiling and spreading the Eee's.

Getting back to that ease requires an amount of watching but also an amount of relaxation and trust. Trust that I don't need to do anything with my face or mouth besides just sing the words in the same exact way I would pronounce them.
Trust that I don't have to DO something for the music to happen. Know that it's just all there waiting to be interpreted by my head and emotions.

Trust that I've been hired to sing at least five more roles in the coming year based on what I do at auditions- which is none of this brand spankin' new technical way of looking at things. It's out of my head and in my heart at auditions. Just fly by the seat of my pants fun. It's just the love of the art and presentation. And that is what they hired, and that's what they're going to get.

So no more head banging against the wall. Just smiles (although not too spread!), relaxing, and knowing that this is what I want to do.

This could sound a little more like a hallmark card, no?
I don't want to be all warm fuzzy for myself but for some reason I have to remind myself here so that when I read this again I know what I want.
I just want to do it the way I've always done it.
Simple, easy, pure, right.


13 March, 2006


About to go reclaim my mojo--tonight and tomorrow. Rehearsal. Lesson. Bring it.

It was hiding for about a week or so...
come out come out wherever you are!

I see you.

once again, I say:
bring. it.


09 March, 2006

It's in the air

Is it just the weird gray weather outside, the quasi-cold end of winter into the drizzly not so much spring, or the heat turned up too high and giving us headaches and allergies that is making so many singers including me feel like they are in the black hole of their singing career?

mused about it after a little time off, half the other blogsphere is either stressed, unmotivated, on leave, or gone forever.

I haven't sung yet today, but I've taught and listened, and talked too much. Don't feel good, and tonight's rehearsal will probably not be any better feeling.

I am stressed. I'm getting pulled in two different directions in terms of next year and am not really sure what to do about it.
Well, here is the better explanation. There is NOTHING I can do about it, even if I wanted to make a decision.
I've already signed a contract. And so I cannot even have the luxury of investigating this other possible opportunity for myself, as I believe it would be a VERY big mistake to reneg on the contract at this point.
HAD I known that I was being considered for this other opportunity, I MAY have asked place number one to wait a bit on the contract.
But I didn't. And that is how it goes.
This isn't about rank of opportunities, it's two completely separate things that cannot compete with each other, but I still wish that I could have at least had the chance to experience a bit of both this year and then be able to make a more educated decision about what I should do next.

Vocal things. I wrote my very first teacher an email yesterday regarding my new vocal things. She knows I've never had to work, it was always just there. And she is a big proponent of just letting it happen. Stop thinking about it. Smile, clear everything away besides what you are trying to convey, and there it is- magically great.
I haven't had a "lesson" with her in maybe six months. I haven't seen her regularly for five years, but I still consider her a great mentor and friend.
I wrote her about all of these vocal things and asked if I could come see her to get her opinion of what's going on.
At this point, I just want singing to be something I don't have to think about again.
I want to wake up, as I used to, have the high whatever note, have a smile on my face, and the excitement of a small child who is so happy with what they are doing that they couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

I'm not even a quarter-century old and I feel like I'm old in this business already. I feel like I'm playing catch-up with those just ten years my senior and already singing internationally, and racing those who are my age and a bit younger to get into the big programs, the big houses, the big opportunities- that will LEAD me, maybe to those other places.

Where on this path this year did I forget that it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing? That if I'm singing something that I love and I believe in, then it's all about the music and not who else could be doing this just as well or better than me?

I want to remember that feeling and live and sing for that alone.


on singing part trois

Warm-ups- still have to do them, and haven't really had to before. BUT that could be because of the following:
a. sleeping like crap, too little, and with the heat on too high.
b. eating like a fool before I go to sleep because I don't eat all day because I'm too busy (reflux, anyone?)
c. it's damn early in the morning when you're trying to do anything but lip trills at 9:30.
d. chain smoking. (that was a joke. laugh. ha. ha.)

But I had a coaching at noon today and it went *well*. No, really, it was actually better than i'm going to describe here. I was doing good things. They didn't all necessarily feel 100% new technique diet good, but they felt free-er, bett-er, going toward the right place-er...er, yea.

And so on-singing turns yet again from the original wide-eyed optimism to sardonic bitterness to perhaps a pleasant outlook for tomorrow with light showers.


07 March, 2006

On singing...part two (I'm not manic, really)

This is going to seem like it's coming out of left field after the #1 post.
But it's how I feel today.
WHY am I doing this?
WHAT am I working for?
WHEN will people/ears agree on what sounds good, better, best, beautiful in my voice?
HOW old is everyone else around me that has their technique put-together, that's singing as a career?
IS there anyone else my age? Are we ALL just trying to get into the same top 20 or so young artist programs to cover leading roles and hope we get to go on in case of a sick lead singer and then have a breakthrough performance followed by a stellar career?
WHAT do you do when your voice starts to play that lovely 'I'm getting a bit bigger' trick on you?
HOW is it possible that I put this awesome new technique into all of my new things, and can't figure out how to get it into my old music?
WHY don't we all take the year or 6 months that we need off to get our voices in line, really figure out who we are and what we're doing vocally, instead of always just looking for the next performing opportunity to put on our resumes?

Just as timing would have it, I am set for this summer and for next year with a mixed bag of new and old roles. I am excited, I am elated, I am challenged. I am wanting to do a good job. I am also wanting to take such a long break from actually performing to work on this new technique and getting my middle lined up (ahh,the age-old coloratura tricky middle-high passag.)
I feel like I should go on a diet of Vaccai and the 24 hits.
I feel like I want to practice singing on Aah and Eee all day instead of cracking open my scores to study my new characters and assignments that are coming up.

I know that this is just a down two days, or week, and something (probably a good lesson tomorrow or Thursday) will soon uplift me back into thinking and believing that I can do all I am scheduled to do next year and in the future.

Well, I know I can do it with what I've always done it with. I don't know yet that I can do it with this lined up free feeling.

I wish I knew someone who was a singer or not, my age or older, that knew MORE than me about the all-inclusive business and could offer me some advice or therapy. It seems like I"M always the one giving advice, reading the forums, magazines, getting the inside scoop, knowing who's on what roster, where they are going, what people are doing around me, who I am in direct "audition" competition with---but to me that's not an IOTA as important as HAVING the VOCE to back it all up!
It doesn't matter if you know your competition or not if you can't BRING IT.

I always knew I could. That was the easy part of me. And now I feel kind of like---dang, that girl doesn't know what she's up against, but it doesn't matter, cuz she's amazing. And where am I? Well, I'm still really good. I still have a novelty about me, a definite selling point, but for the first time ever, something that I'm also working toward technically. And it's frustrating to a person who has never really had to "practice" the voice as much as just "memorize" the words.

Good news: I can stand to warm up and figure this all out. It's a good challenge and I know that I'm up for it.
Bad news: I'm still gonna feel shitty about this until I prove to myself that I can do this by singing roles a,b, and c, in the new technique and kicking ass.


06 March, 2006

On singing ..maybe part one

Why singing? Why opera? Why not any other profession?

When I was younger: I just liked singing and I didn't care for whom. I liked that I learned things fast, and well, (even when I was only doing musical theater when I was younger), and when I started singing opera I loved that it had so many other parts that I had to get right before I could consider a song "learned". Translating, reading the original book or play the opera was based on, learning it in my voice, listening to other famous people singing it, singing it for my teacher only, then maybe for an audition, and then maybe even getting to sing the role.

I almost hate that I get one or two chances in performance to really convey everything that has been involved in learning a role for me. In Lucia i felt like I did so many more hours of thinking about her dramatically, vocally and emotionally, than I could actually tell people about in my performance. Of course due to nerves, only thinking about the voice, and just trying to be in the right place on stage at the right time can get in the way of all of that.

I do LIKE performing, but it's not the love I have about this profession. I love mastering the role and having something that someone else wrote, with whatever historical background, whatever soprano, whatever conductor and lyricist, now in my own repertoire. It's mine because of what I put into it, and no one else. I can get told where to walk on-stage, but I am still responsible for why i'm walking there.

I do have to sing the notes of the page, but it's still me that's making the decision about how to sing them and why I would even bother to say these words.

The feeling of the musical process is fascinating to me, and yes, I prefer when there is an end" to the means of learning that comes about in terms of a performance. But i'm often let down by performances because there is so much more that can't possibly have been there on the one night of singing/acting that I put into it. Even though it's fine, or better than fine..to other people.

Some singers say they love performing. Yes, me too. I love the feeling of live theater, I love the feeling of polished technique, I love the feeling of preparation getting me here. I love being in front of people (more often if they are strangers than family members). I love the orchestra, the curtain up, looking into the wings and seeing the stagemanager calling cues, my colleagues waiting for their entrances, fixing things on-stage and unscripted. Even the nerves before hand that bring a smile to my face that is taking a turn toward the anxious- to remind myself that I DID put the work into this that it deserves, and I CAN do it and it will be the best that I can do.

But there is so much more that belongs to this choice for a profession, and I think I like that work even more--with the perk of getting to perform it for an appreciative, knowledgeable and impressionable audience.


05 March, 2006

tired, shopping, the oscars

Went to bed at 3:30 am because I had caffeine and cake at 10:30. Woke up to a weird noise on the street at 4:45 am. Tired.

Bought a sweater at Rue 21 for 5 bucks. Thank you spring clothing lines that come out when it's still winter.

Kind of excited about the dresses and JOHN for tonight, but will take a nap first, and then listen to some more Lakme or Suor before I get hooked on the tube for the night.


04 March, 2006

post recital breakdown

Yay! I have waited SO long to NOT have to still sing my graduate recital. And now it's over!
And I don't miss the feeling of not having sung it yet...at all! :)
But to real music criticism.
My review of my performance:

The Debussy were the best they have ever been. The technique just clicked, I wasn't singing into the room. I was singing out the back of my head and it was really working. I felt connected to the words so much. Just gorgeous music...how can you not?

The Mozart AGAIN (just like in previous recital) was a bit shaky for me. No nerves because I know the piece, no one else could vocally tell there was much of a significant change for me from when I usually rehearse it, but for me it felt completely different. Those sustained G's just felt like they were about to taper off at any time, so I think I either pushed into them to make sure that didn't happen, or I relaxed them too much so they got a bit soft. It wasn't off in any way except in my mind- comparing it to what I had done previously.
I still don't think I'll ever really sing it again unless I do a recording of Mozart concert arias one day (IF I'm famous..famous...famous (Rasputina anyone?))
The good: The recit. I was all there. And that's the toughest dramatically.
The needs to be improved: Just getting OUT of my own way on the "easy" part of the aria! I mean, this is Mozart. This is easy for me. The high G's-that's what I DO. So yes, the runs were fine, but my larynx slowly rising and trying to choke me was NOT fine.

The Bernstein- good as usual. I added some more childishness into it and hopefully it didn't come off as "too coy", as Bernstein instructs the singer specifically not to do.

The Strauss- The best it's been. Got all the words except a tiny flub in Amor but I just kept singing something like "hirtin" or "hilfe"--either one works! No weird rhtyhmic things went wrong. I think I wrapped my head around them all really well and I'm happy with the performance.

The last set- fun for me and fine as usual.

Teachers were happy with it. They knew I was struggling in the Mozart, but otherwise they said the voice came through like no other time before. I was really into the new space.
The coach was happy- we'll talk more on Monday to get the full review.

OK then. Now all I have to do is attend diction classes until the end of the year (I can only miss one more..boo), and do my TA work for my professors!

I just ate a big piece of cake and had coffee so I'm sure I'll be up for a while and that's OK because I have NOTHING more to study for this week! Now it's time to start cracking open those scores for the summer and next year.

-ggg (for the three in the Mozart).

Met Broadcast R+J

Ok, I have to post about this. I saw this production a month or two ago with Dessay and Vargas. It was life-changing. And now listening to her on the radio I get the same chills. It is just perfection.
I don't care how much she smokes, what surgeries she's had. She has the golden ticket and the golden voice. She can sing almost anything she damn well pleases, and it sounds easy and normal as putting your socks on before your shoes.

I'm not one of those people who have the singers they love or are obsessed with and refuse to buy any recordings of anything without X tenor or Y coloratura soprano.

OH GOD this balcony duet is GORGEOUS.
I can't even concentrate on typing.

Love is not strong enough a word for my reverence for her voice.

"jusqu'a demain" !!!!!

03 March, 2006


Twenty eight hours until the recital.

01 March, 2006

the ipa gods would not approve

My current interpretation of how much of Amor is memorized:

An dem feeeeeuer sass das kind. AAAAmor, Aaaaamor, und war blind. two.
Mit dem kleinen Fluuuuuugel faaaaaaachelt in die flaaaaa x3 men er und laaaaachelt,
fachelt, lachelt schlaues kind. two three four five six one to three four ach der feeuuuer brent das(?) kind aaamor aaamor lauft geschwind....two...three...
O wie in die gluuut durch peinnet Fluuuugelshlaaaaaaaaues (?) laut er weeeeiiiiiinet (?)

pretty piano music one two three four
Und die hirtin schoss entrinnt hilfe (something- I think Schauend) das shlaue kind.
piano piano und die hirtin hilf dem kind...aaamor...amor...bos und blind.

hirtin hilft dein herz entbrennet(?) (totally made up section coming up now to complete the roulade in the correct key) something with schelmen...crap crap crapp...
seeeh! die flaaaaaa--trill trill, something trilled on an "i" vowel...
Hut dich.
Huuuuut dich vor dem schla....ahhh..ahhh..ues, den schlaue kind
One. fachelt. La-----eeehhh--ehhhh-eeehhh chelt Schlaues kind

Better than yesterday when I didn't practice!
And pretty good for today after not practicing except in my mind three or four times, and even then not really looking at what it's supposed to be!

I think I need to fix that one really bad sentence and figure out the dem/den's, and then the schlaue or schlaues situation.
Maybe by my dress rehearsal tomorrow night.
Maybe I could have actually paid more attention to this in the past two weeks instead of watching, oh, say- reruns of Seinfeld, BBC news, crappy local news, and whatever else I get on my 3.5 cable channels between the hours of 11-one a.m.
Maybe I could have also actually paid attention to what each word of this lovely ditty meant a few weeks ago, instead of just trying to sound it out in my head as it is flying out of my mouth.