30 September, 2007

insomniac post

WHY is it 2:03 am and I can't fall asleep?
1.Post-show energy.
2. Post show hunger satiated by the following (in no particular order, plus some of them were DURING the show (NOT when I was in costume):

During show:
1 Piece of a Philly Roll left over from sushi dinner. Ginger.
1 peanut butter rice krispy treat covered in chocolate made by a cast member's mommy.
1 cupcake frosted with extremely sweet blue frosting made by a cast member.
1 Klondike bar given to me by my dresser, because she had them.

Post show:
1 piece of whole wheat bread w/peanut butter on it, folded in half.
(some time later)....
Some cool ranch doritos CRUSHED into a wheat bread sandwich of Brie and Salsa. I'm not kidding. It's delicious.
Some more cool ranch doritos.


For reallzzz I could be slowly causing my own early death due to malnutrition. Besides the wasabi and ginger and whatever veggies were pan fried into the Gyoza, I can't remember the last time I ate a vegetable.
Well, I suppose the salsa could count.

Yes, I'll make myself feel better by saying the salsa counted.

28 September, 2007

hot off the press

A word about reviews.
I think for unknown singers, those who are just starting out, those that need as much press and pr as possible for future visibility, reviews are important.
That said, they are not the end all and be all, and they won't make or break a career.

THAT said, four papers have spoken and they have all spoken extremely favorably about my performances.

So what do I gather from the similarly positive wording about the energy that I brought? the clear coloratura? the spark and youthfulness?
I gather that I understood the character, I sang it darn well, AND I had fun and it showed!
I thought this role and I would not be the best of friends. It's not anything out of the ordinary for me vocally. Not high, not hard--kind of like a walk in the park where I can not worry about warming up for it until about 20 minutes to showtime, and still know that it will be sung just as well if not better as if I had been coaching all day and was really in the zone.

But what extra did the critics pick up on? That edge that made my performance stick out?
Well, I'm not quite sure, but I'm going to chalk it up to fun mixed with preparation.
And by fun I mean I worked hard on the character, I know what I'm doing each time, but I also leave room to play with it onstage each night and see what happens.
By fun I mean a planned attack of what works, what reads, what I need to do to make THEM think that this is easy for me (whether or not it is on any particular night, or depending on what I ate that day, or what time I finally fell asleep the night before).

This role and I are almost bff now. I'd love to do it again, I'd love to think of new ways that I can play with the character and interact with the rest of the characters on stage. I'd love to give new meaning to this accent, that eighth rest, and that dance sequence.

Aw, shucks. I've blubbered about it before, but this "job" is fun.

26 September, 2007

more goodness

Tonight's perf. was sehr gut again. Yay.

Tomorrow- coaching on next-opera, quick scene review of one part of the opera for a cast "b" member who will have a performance this weekend, and then a little gathering of friends at my place for some wine and cheese and other assorted spirits and nourishment.
Better clean up and do the laundry!

Things I'm looking forward to:
parents coming into town this weekend to see the show
flying back to NY for unpacking, repacking, and getting to the city
singing auditions again! And pulling out that old fave with the high g--yes- I'll "le sait" it again- that one.

25 September, 2007

2:20am show day/night/whatever

Yes, still can't sleep. This schedule must stop.

I was feeling tired around 10:30pm today (after doing NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING besides things on the computer between 11am-3pm...while lying snuggly in my bed), and thought to myself- why am I tired at 10:30pm? That's LAME- I should at least stay up until 12 seeing as how the only thing I've done is practice today.
I mean, sure that was productive.
Yay practicing.
I got the finale and the quartet finally memorized so now everything for next-show is ready.

Oh yea, and I updated my website with the two sweeeet reviews that the show got.
So. In conclusion- I practiced, did more things on the websssies, walked outside for about 30 minutes before a torrential downpour began, went to dinner with a guild member and schmoozed (with an amazing cream of mushroom soup and a grilled chicken with pecan and chevre salad ...((heaven)) for dinner), and then came back to the apt. for more online-ing.

There is SO much to read when I don't stop myself from just the leading articles in the Times and Spiegel and BBC. ARRGHH.. and that is why it's 2:23 and I'm still awake.

With a show tomorrow/today/in about 17 hours.

I think because the weather has changed back and forth from cold to 80 degrees to torrential rains and humid to really cold again, my allergies are going a bit crazy.
I've never had allergy problems before (I think). Each time I feel like I'm about to get sick it's that scratchy throat feeling and then a dry cough which turns into some crazy bronchial thing and I know I can NOT get to that third stage by downing Emergen-C, ricola, not singing, staying in bed, and taking very careful care of myself for 2 days.

But this is different. I wake up feeling like I've been run over by a truck. Or a moose. Or something large and painful. My eyes are red, my throat is tight, and sure, I can start singing right there and then, but the lingering headache doesn't really get better that way either.

So I think it's allergies because my eyes are also red. Or lack of sleep???? But I DO sleep a lot, it's just at horribly weird hours.
Too bad! I'm not going to take anything. I hate every medicine except for the tiny red sugar coated advils and chewable Flinstone's vitamins (of which I prefer getting a grape flavoured Barney over those nasty orange ones, but I think there's a conspiracy to package more of the yucky orange ones in the bottle).

The voice was fine today when I went to practice. I shall be fine today/tomorrow for the show and the rest of the run. I'll just continue to down water and Naked green machine juices (SO GOOD!), and all shall be once again good.

g'nite eventually.

23 September, 2007

another opening, another show

I don't know why I'm up so early after going to bed so late and after having so much post-show energy.
But I'm up. So I shall post.
Fasting and then doing a show was not as hard as I thought it would be. I broke early and made sure I got something in me before my call to hair and makeup. But I still feel like I atoned and got hopefully sealed in the book of life!

I'm thinking back to around May and June when I was posting about how I'm looking at this score every day, and somehow those first 30 pages just "stick" in my head without me having to really memorize it.
And then around August when those last few recits were just not cooperating in my head just up until the last few days before leaving for the gig.
And then the rehearsal period where everything seemed to mesh together and go so smoothly that I was just kind of waiting for something to explode.

But- nothing exploded. Everything was there in that magical "I'm in your head" kind of way.
It still freaks me out every time though.

When I haven't sat down and run lines, typed them out over and over, do speed-throughs every night in my head before going to sleep.
When it's just magically- there- from understanding it, getting it into your body, I am always scared that it will betray me.
But it doesn't. And it didn't.

Happy to report that things were actually pretty awesome.
And by pretty awesome I mean really awesome.
Tempo of aria one was a bit slower than usual in the B section- a conductor's choice or feeling out there--but it was still absolutely easy and fine.
Ensembles were fun. I felt like I was ringing out over the din of lower voices plus the horn section!
Aria two actually got applause after it! YAY! I got to stop the chorus from coming in on the right beat! HA. My songs usually just go right on into the next batch of music and chorus (not like the dramatic/tragic characters in the show who get fermatas after their big cadenzas).

Nerves- a bit for the 5 minutes before my first entrance. And then I just wanted to have fun. And did.
A few unexpected extra "fights" and "physical acting" occurred- as total mistakes (once when I'm thrown off of someone else's back, once when I almost got sucker punched for real and not for fake), but I rolled with the "punches" and took it "like a man". (man/boy). And it was great fun.

After aria 2 I knew it was in the bag, and was already looking forward to the after-party glass o' red wine that I so richly deserved.

Afterwards I got as girly and dressy as I could in new dress o' hawtness (I'm talking seriously hot- backless low cut numbah), talked with the future-possible-company that came to see me, (they were tres tres impressed), and came home around 1:30am with too much energy and really hungry as well.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the run, because I do have to admit this show is just plain good times.

21 September, 2007

voldemort still lives (of course- it's only book 5)

I finally finished the book at 4:30am last night.
There shall be no more discussions on that. I think that I just have to not read them, and watch the movies instead, because staying up until 4:30am is certainly eventually going to be detrimental to my sanity and probably health.

There are SO many fun conversations on nfcs right now about application fees, audition woes, did you hear from so-and-so, who has a sublet in NYC? It's just so amusing to read during audition season, when really, NO good information is given (except by the administrators and Opera Directors who are the voice of reason and try to calm us all down by explaining the large budgets that they have to balance with audition expense trips---totally acceptable). Everyone is so snippy. "Have you done a search"? "Always sing what you sing best, stop tailoring your audition materials", "Patience Grasshopper" "My 5-yes, but I've never heard you".

I feel a bit badly for the newbies every year who are so excited about all of the flurry of information and activity, but who are totally shot down by the returning, jaded posters, who have been doing auditions seasons for the past 5 or so years of the forum's existence, and therefore know that the same threads show up every year and are sick of it.

As for me, things are in the development stages.
Since I have another gig this audition season, I have fewer opportunities to audition for the big summer programs as well as mainstage for next year that may be coming through town during those dates.

I'm still working on it though.
Previous-Yap is coming to hear me in current-role, to hopefully help with the decision of whether I'll be hired as a principal in previous-Yap for current-role.
If that worked out for the summer I'd sure be one happy camper.

Next year's unfolding opportunities are a mix of the usual year-rounds, with the added kick/zest of hopefully any mainstage auditions that I can get, plus Europe thrown in the mix as well- if I can ever get over there to sing for the right people, or consider doing the NYIOPs at the right place, right time.

Oh yea, and tonight- we feast. And then fast.
Gmar Chatima Tova.

20 September, 2007

dress rehearsal and he who shall not be named

Tonight (w/orch.) went really well.
There is still tomorrow to have the 'bad' dress and then the 'good opening'. The acoustics in this theater are just so singer friendly, that there really is nothing to do but smile and sing your heart out. It feels so good. Never pushing, never worrying, never for a split second wondering about balance, direction of the voice, whether you're blocking has you too far upstage to carry. It's the best.

What I was feeling today- SO tired.
I went to bed at 3:30am last night, and as I sit and compose this it's already 1:30am.

Know why?
Harry Potter.
I'm not even kidding.

I don't even really CARE about the series or the movie, and I'm only reading book 5 right now. AND the only reason I picked it up, is because since I'm at a gig I didn't bring what I was ACTUALLY in the middle of, Atlas Shrugged, because it was too heavy.
So I asked friends here if they had any reading materials (besides some of the Shakespeare in the apt. that I already thumbed through), and they had Harry Potter.

I haven't read 1,2,3,and 4 since undergrad, but I figured why not just pick it up for some evening reading?

It's like constantly waiting for SOMETHING to happen, some part of the story that I can say- ok, that's a good place to stop. And then put the book down and turn the light off.

But nothing BIG happens. It's just that something happens in every chapter that you say, well maybe it will START to be resolved in the next chapter...and I read on.

I'm usually like this with books.
Read most of them in one or two sittings, love staying up at night to finish a some quality Rushdie, Dostoevsky, Russian and French literature and of course the Brits and their plays into the wee hours of the morning. But these 600 pagers! I tell you, I was really in pain today when I woke up after going to bed so late.

Well, I guess I'll torture myself again this evening, but I really want to finish the book already! So that I can pick up something that is actually worth staying up until 3:30am and suffering the next morning because of it.

Sometime soon- a post on operas in English. That are meant to be in other languages.

19 September, 2007

reasons I should be an agent (and singer)

I recently composed a few emails for some of my friends, with text of how they should present themselves as an unmanaged singer to an opera company that may or may not be having auditions in New York this season.
It was a mass type of email, but each one needed the name of the artistic administrator filled in, plus the tailored opera company name in the first and the last line. Nothing too hard, and you can basically cut and paste however many times you want to send it out.

After googling the emails of the admins (don't write the Directors for such a silly inquiry as to whether or not they're having auditions in NYC), I had them send out the emails, and out of about 40 inquiries most all wrote back with the correct information- whether the company accepted materials, whether they would be hearing singers in NY, whether they would have later auditions at their home location.

The BEST part of the responses to these emails, is that FOUR companies wrote back saying something like "please send us your singers' materials and let us know which day you would prefer them to be scheduled and we will get back to you as soon as possible".
HAHAHA! That means they thought that I was the agent- writing to find where and when the auditions were, so that I could submit my singers!

Now, not to get all inflated and self-congratulatory, I already know that I have skillzzzz for the business of this world. It was just really amusing to get responses like this AND it got me thinking.

Why COULDN'T singers/I do this in some form?
Ok- just hear/read me out.

You think of a catchy name that has to do with music (not your last name obviously).
You buy another cell phone line. You use your mom's maiden name as the agency contact (which is really you, the agent and singer), you get some of your talented friends together, rewrite their bios and resumes so they are formatted similarly, get a POBox for post correspondence, and voila!
I know, I know. It's about the contact. People have to know who you are before they want to hear your singers.
BUT- what smaller opera company wouldn't hear a new agent's singers- at least the first year?
You have to make sure they are good, of course.
But if all of the singers ARE good and rock their audition, and are young and motivated and ready to be hired and can actually do the gig---that would be SO awesome!
Everything is done via email anyway.
So. At the beginning of each season to send out hard copy mailings introducing yourself as a new agent, who represents these singers.
Then you find out when the auditions are, and send out an email to the admin. requesting times for your singers to be considered for roles in their upcoming season.
Then you do the audition (and the agent doesn't come with them...duh- cuz it's you!)
Then you follow up. And follow up. And follow up.
And then you wait and see.
And if your singer friends were good enough- maybe you've just begun an agency.

So fun.

18 September, 2007

real life catches up

Yes, the posts should be about music. But I suppose they can also be about personal relationships and how those are affected by a music career.

It's not that a relationship ever takes a backseat, being a performer just makes the road a bit more bumpy to travel on to get anywhere.

Not being together, not knowing what city, state, country or continent you'll be singing in next, not knowing the next time you'll be able to see one another, not being able to plan really leaves things in limbo sometimes.

Many of my singer friends are single. Many of them are in relationships with other singers (either a big mistake or the best thing in their lives--according to which stage of the relationship they're in- new, summer program fling, breakup, or divorce). A few are in relationships with people who have nothing to do with the music business.

So what does it take?
Well, in my experience so far, it takes a lot of working on communication.
One person can't get angry or upset because a scheduled phone call just couldn't happen because rehearsal wasn't let out until 30 minutes later.
The other can't get sad because their hours are so crazy and insane and the time zone they are in precludes any goodnight conversations for over a month.
And you have to talk about these things before you face them, not just assume that you'll get through them just because you love each other and want to be in this relationship.

If you're in it for the long haul (what nice terms to put a loving, forever type of relationship in!), then you have know what you will be willing to sacrifice, and whether that will affect your career, or your relationship, or both.

It's not about being selfish in either case, it's about realizing that you can't be completely happy by giving something up that you're not ready to give up.
Example- would I be happier in my relationship if I only lived in one location with the person that I love?
HOWEVER. I would not be happier with myself because I'd feel like I'm giving up on a career I'm just beginning and could go anywhere--and that would creep into my "happy relationship" of living in just one place. And slowly but surely my happiness in the relationship would somehow deteriorate and become intolerable simply because I was not satisfied with another part of my life.

These of course, are my thoughts now, at my age, on this evening.
Check in a few years down the road and maybe the only thing on my mind will be babies and Martha Stewart bedding sets. Even still, I'm pretty sure if it's babies I'd also try to find a way to lug them around to whatever gig I had, wherever it was. Maybe in one of those carriers they make for little yappy dogs.

14 September, 2007

great minds think alike?

Take note- I said that I'd talk about straight theater and acting in opera BEFORE the Metblog's most recent entry (today) that has an interview with N. Dessay about how she approaches her roles, and her dramatic acting techniques, and her wanting to prove that opera singers are actors.

Find that interview here.

From someone who has watched many of her performances on DVD, Youtube, video,and anywhere else I can get it (oh yea, and LIVE), Dessay is, to me, a consummate stage actress. Both delivering lines to an audience and allowing the natural action-reaction of a moment, occasion, scene, to unfold.

In opera staging rehearsals and master classes there is often talk of extending the action. Extending the emotion--because the actual words or music are repetitive (bel canto), OR it is a moment of freeze that is purely emotive, and stands outside of time.
And it should take that long, or those many "actions"- whether they are stock or not- for the character to express what it truly feels.

Oh, let's throw out an example that Dessay is working on now- Lucia.
Is she mad from the start?
Is there a hint of madness?
Is she a victim of circumstance in terms of women's positions in her era?
How can she sing her first act aria and be so excited/afraid, then be so enraptured in a love duet, get crushed in the sextet, and turn to such madness in the third act?

Many singers would take each of these scenes and sing and act them to the fullest emotion, not really thinking about connecting them to the other musical pieces. If you just make each one a pretty picture/scene, the audience very easily understands the one or two emotions you convey in each scene.

But no. What is SO much more interesting to watch and to act/sing, is the evolution. The small hints of instability in the first act aria- the hysteria mixed with terror. The extremes to which she takes the solemnity of a vow--the love duet that may be the final farewell in her mind, and how that sets her up for the lashing out at Enrico, the sextet and the mad scene.

It's so much more riveting when you see how, slowly, the entire character takes shape.And yes, that may mean a more "refined" first aria and first duet. It means you're not going to take the extreme choice of just playing/acting "happy, more happy, oh my gosh, it's unbelievable that I'm so happy" How did I GET so happy? Won't my brother be happy that I'm happy? I hope nothing happens to stop this happiness.'

etc. etc.

I think from seeing a recent performance of theater at a very, well, famous, theater, that actors are trained to concentrate more on the evolution of the entire piece, which singers are trained (as they are vocally), to approach the piece in segments, to master them vocally and dramatically, and then somehow to make the recits in between "make sense".

And it's not being lazy. It's really just how we are taught. Master the big famous arias, tackle the love duets, make sure the recits are solid, and then put together the ensembles and the rest of the role. It's very fragmented when you take it into lessons or coachings, and ever since my own lessons and coachings began to involve more role study than singing through arias and art songs, I have made sure to do things in order. To let the evolution of the entire show influence how I'm doing the coaching that day, and what pieces I'm working on in the coaching.

It's too easy to just warm up and then sing the mad scene.
As Dessay said, the hardest part of that piece is the Act II low duet with her brother.
So why not start at the very beginning? And if you only have an hour, start with that duet and then sing the mad scene.

In my approach to characters over the past few years I have definitely tried to think of the arc of drama instead of perfecting the little gems within. Of course, that too- but to make it more dramatically viable I think the first way should always win out. I'm left cold or unmoved by so many "moving" performances, because of the lack of continuity. Don't just sell me the aria.
Sell me the whole thing. Sell me so much that for an evening I can be transported to whatever time and place you are living this piece in and the piece lives in you.

13 September, 2007


I had an audition today.
Well, sorta.
It wasn't for anything in particular, but it was for someone in particular.
I was having an odd day to begin with (probably something to do with the sudden weather change, the fact that I had a really long singing day yesterday and that I was slightly dehydrated) so I was just feeling sluggish all day.
But I got my energy up, got the high g's together, and all that other stuff in the middle as well, and I headed out in my new audition dress.

Performance assessment:

Aria numero uno: 9? and some decimal points maybe.
Ok, more specifically:
Energy was there, dynamics were there, commitment was there, having fun with it was there. It was all totally there in an organic way. Really.
It was funny, though- because I had been kind of out of it all day, a lot of the whole experience seemed to be moving in slow motion almost. It was like I was aware I was doing something but it was so second nature to me, that a lot of time passed between one phrase and the next, one movement and the next, and I could almost be outside of my own body looking at myself performing it, and have enough time to comment.
Not vocally or dramatically of course. Just a weird feeling.

Aria numero dos: 8.95
I say that because of ONE breath that IIII took that I don't usually take.
OTHER people take it. So it's no big deal whatsoever.
But I didn't like that I took it, after deciding with the conductor that I wouldn't take it.
So there!
Take that aria two.
Acting was obviously there since it's something--oh, let's just say currently familiar.

BUT again- there is always that discrepancy between acting what you have been "blocked" to do, and acting in an "audition" situation. So there was modification on both sides as this was the first time the aria was requested since the role had been performed.

Overall- I think I did well. I made pretty music. I was enthusiastic about it. I was vocally and dramatically there.

Next post is about straight theater. No, not heterosexual theater. Straight theater as in real drama. No singing.
After seeing a great play tonight that was "straight".

12 September, 2007

direct competition- food for thought sinceit's 2pm and I haven't eaten yet.

Is it about you as a person and voice?

Or is it about the comparison of you and everyone else as a person/voice?

Is it about the buzz from your recent competition winnings, grants, and other awards that gets you more jobs?

Or is it that we all sing pretty much the same, but if YOU have those competition winnings, grants, and other awards, the panel thinks- well, all of these other people have validated you, you MUST be good/better/best?

Is it about being the best you can be in what you're doing and at your auditions?
Or is it about the direct (or indirect) competition--meaning, getting "wins" in other categories (competitions, grants)- that propels a main stage career?

11 September, 2007

holy days

Well, I suppose it's ALMOST been the traditional 7 days of mourning before I posted again since the last tragedy to the opera world.

As I lay here telling myself that I should have turned the lights off an hour ago when I was actually a bit tired and my eyes started to burn from the hours spent looking at the computer screen today, I thought of a topic to write about since the high holidays approach.

Well, BEFORE that topic, I'll approach this one: religion and work.
When is it ok to request a day or two off because the upcoming holidays are the most important in your religion?
It's pretty much like working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Palm Sunday all rolled into one.

Well, maybe even more so. For some.

What to do? Well, this year, thankfully, I don't have to do much. It just so happens that I have the three evenings and one full day in question OFF from rehearsal/run-through/tech anyway--but that was a fluke, and if we were not doing so well with the rehearsals, we would have had a run-through.

So- what would I have done?
I'm actually not quite sure.
So maybe I'm not going to approach this topic. I'll just write that I'm glad that this year, at a time when I'm feeling the need for some closeness and spirituality and wisdom of the ages, I'm very glad that I can observe the high holidays without feeling like I'm the "other" whose personal beliefs made someone have to change a master schedule to accommodate me (hey, it's happened before and it didn't feel good--so I'm just thankful that this year and this time it's not like that).

The real topic to write about is fresh starts.
Yes, in just a few days I'll be entering a period where every year, we are encouraged to think back on the last year, think about the wrongs we have done to others, knowingly and unknowingly, and apologize, so that we can have a fresh start in the new year, and hopefully be written in the book of life for one more year.

The symbols of this holiday are especially meaningful to me.
Apples and Honey.
Ever since I can remember it's been just a once a year treat, and as such, a reminder of the sweetness of the year ahead, my childhood watching my mom peel the red apples for my dad and the green apples for me and my brothers, and the honey which came from anywhere local to where we were living that year.

Now that one brother is on the West Coast, the other on the East, parents Upstate, Me- well, everywhere and nowhere, and especially Special Someone in a very very far away country--it seems a comfort that a holiday where you don't necessarily need to be together, but whose essence brings people to think about the ones they love and the ones that most influence their lives, is just around the corner.

Shana Tova.

06 September, 2007


A great voice was silenced last night in the opera world.

Many other tributes will be better than anything I can write here.

No personal stories, just someone saying goodbye, who was moved by all of the youtube videos, bootleg dvd's of Ballo and Elixir, and other recordings that I have watched and listened to.

Ciao Bello.

05 September, 2007

well well well

My busy-ness/business seems to have gotten some results and good responses.
It's nice to know that people in the "know" care about what you're doing and are genuinely happy to find out about how you're doing in your career.

Going back through old emails to find addresses and such, it's interesting to see the pattern of contact. Very high volume after summer programs. Saying hi to fellow singers, sending coaches and directors a thank you and an update about what the fall schedule will hold for you. And then of course during audition season everyone wants to meet up in New York.
Then it's a bit quiet- maybe a Happy New Year email. And next it's the big gig you just got a great review from, or one that's coming up as a debut.

End-of-the-year review and a wish for a stress-free summer (for those that are in year-round seasons), AND an especially stress-free summer (for those that run summer programs), and there you have it.

The way to keep in touch with contacts-
Politely letting them know what you are up to, what you look forward to, and somewhere in the middle offering to sing for them again during audition season in NY, inviting them to performances if they are local/regional, and being genuinely interested in what THEY are doing as well.
Knowing where conductors have gone in the past year, wishing someone a good production of Traviata if it's upcoming, etc.

To me it's more of a wonder that so many singers don't do this on a regular basis. They're scared to approach some people, they don't know what to say, they don't feel comfortable.
You know, after getting over the initial 'should I be doing this' jitters...it feels so DANGEROUS to send an unsolicited email to someone that ACTUALLY knows me and PROBABLY remembers my kick-ass audition from this season, or this past summer program, etc....it's actually pretty painless.

And when I start my real business of being a personal manager for people's lives and arts grantwriter, since I already to it for free for so many of my friends (well, not the grantwriting part, that's for a feeee!), I will put up somewhere on a sticky note or an actual bulletin board some sort of phrase reminding me that we are all PEOPLE.
As Borat would say, "I like-uh you peepulsss".

So who cares if you run an A opera house?
If you've conducted and coached at the MET?
If you're the general director of one of the top three summer residency programs?

That doesn't mean that I, singer number 42 on day 4 of the New York auditions, can't write you to say
a. Thank you and could I have some feedback
b. Hello and this is what I'm doing now
c. I wish you a continued successful season and I hope to sing for you again in the future
And CONTINUE to keep in touch with you!

03 September, 2007

2008 and taking care of business

Today was surprisingly productive.
Took some strides in the business of singing area.
I know, it always comes down to choices and planning, but depending on auditions and audition results, the best laid plans of mice and men...well, yea.

So I sent some update emails to colleagues.
I read more about the possibilities of returning to Europe.
I revised my materials in German.
I made a list of agents and houses that I'd want to get in touch with.

I figure if you never can really tell what will happen in the US, why should my backup plan be temping/tutoring/teaching in some big city near THE city, waiting for the next big thing to happen...when I have contacts and people interested in me returning to Europe and maybe having the opportunity to sing there as well?

I made other lists of US houses still uncast for certain roles in 2008 (at least according to operabase and websites).
I am making sure to keep options open with an open mind, to keep lines of communication open, and not to assume anything or count on anything to happen without me doing something about it.

The one thing I'm still debating about is this young artist thing.
Am I one? I'm young enough to be.
But do I want to stay inside with that "safety net"? And for how many more years?
Should I find it encouraging or discouraging that friends of mine in 5 separate summer and year round residencies said that the overwhelming majority of singers were 28 and OLDER this summer and this year?

Still to be determined on that one--as application deadlines aren't QUITE so near.
I've got about a month.

01 September, 2007

le weekend..thoughts on career and character

Well, it's a long weekend for just about everyone..except me. Rehearsal on Monday. But that's ok. We've had about 3.5 days of rehearsals, and a majority of my scenes have already been staged. I'm feeling pretty good that I have almost three weeks just to tweak, work on character, really dig in. Rather than be staging and "rehearsing" while still not 100% sure blocking is set, etc.

Of course things could still change, but right now the environment is so wonderful that I'm thinking it'll just be more playtime and discovery. Really allowing me to take time with this new character and get as much into it as possible.

The role this time around seems to have to faces, two bodies, two minds, that I need to find just the right combination of on stage:

It's a physical role, but also a very refined one due to the setting and century. So while I jump on other people, and prance around excitedly, I still need to maintain decorum.

It's a young character, but also one with great power and prestige, so while I have that swagger, there is also a sense of refinement, as one who would have been brought up under aristocratic tutelage.

While I'm the comic relief, I always take myself extremely seriously.
Devoted, almost to the point of indoctrination.
Easily offended, easily offending to others (and likes it that way).

Back to the weekend--yes, it will involve further character development as I walk around mirrored rooms, think about musical entrances and how much time I have to be a brat to one character and then another, and of course work on getting taller somehow.

It will involve continued general "thoughts" about audition season.
The applications are all in front of me, almost ready to go, I'm just not sure I want to send them.
It's the same debate in my mind.
Do I pay the money for an audition, which, IF I got it, would maintain the status quo from last year? (meaning, young artist)? Or do I wait, and rely on other upcoming auditions to become a mainstage auditioner and hopefully singer/performer (THIS year--preferably...)?

I recently was emailing a friend about careers, stability, success and life.
They wrote:
"one of things that does inspire me is how un-embittered you are in the face of a
career that offers no security, no room for error, and often no fair
reward for hard work."

It was strange to read those words, because it's not often that I put all of that together and really think about this, as a career different than what someone else in another field would be working for.
I wouldn't say I'm an optimist. I am a realist.
Nothing is fair.
Working hard doesn't mean you'll get the job.
Singing the best/prettiest doesn't mean you'll get the job.
Sending an application doesn't mean you'll get the live audition.
Having the look, materials, voice, recommendations, time free to be in NY--means nothing.

So then, why?
Because this is IT. How much better can it be than singing in your favorite opera? Than living the music of one of the geniuses of the century? Than interpreting a work and following the footsteps of your great musical idols? Of joining the ranks of those who make art their passion and share it for a living?

Of course I'm not an optimist. When since the age of 21 you're receiving 29 out of 30 rejection letters each audition season, you learn that it's not about you.

All you can do is work the hardest, be the most in-the-know, sing the best you can, act the best you can, be as prepared as you can...to know everything about the black hole you will walk into for 7 minutes one day a year between October and December and audition for ONE spot in ONE opera of ONE season. And then rinse and repeat however many times you have auditions.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming for a light and carefree labor day weekend.