28 August, 2008

practice makes perfect

Sang through a bunch of Italian things today.

Revelation: I may not be a H8tr anymore.
Is it possible that I'm actually growing into it and onto it in a good way?

I'm in lurvvv...Celine Dion style.

Off to a weekend of favorite people and favorite activities IRL....with my ever handy NEW IPHONE to check my email if I'm really really tempted.

26 August, 2008

Week o' Opera

Madama Butterfly, Flute and Figaro this weekend.

All were fun, dramatic, inspiring, and all those other good adjectives that make you want to go home, open scores to new operas and old operas, and sing your heart out in your apt. in the middle of the day, hoping none of your neighbors are still home and think that a crazy person moved in next door.

This week I am starting to pursue my other side-gig profession--putting people's lives in order...mostly singers...mostly editing and writing-based work...mostly offering kicks in the behind to people that don't have their materials updated, their auditions mapped out, their cover letters written, their headshots photoshopped...all in the wonderful form of work called 'consulting'.

It's something that I enjoy doing. Hey, I can't sing in the apt. ALL day long, right? So what ever can I fill those hours from 10pm until bedtime--around 2-3am with?
Either way, I'm hoping to get it off the ground in this new city. Although most of the work is done via phone/email, there still is a new base of potential to work with in the city. And that requires some netective work, some google-ninja-ing work, and some cover letters to be written that offer my 'services'.

Back to my real job-
and the elusive "5"...arias that is. This has been a recent topic of discussion on "The Forum".
Here are my thoughts for this year...in no particular order..

Starter (probably) DurchZ. Pros-- Mozart. Line. High notes. Low notes. Character.
Cons- maybe sung by a lot of sopranos.

French possibilities:
Olympia verse 2- Pros: coloratura cons: Olympia verse 2. HA

Fire- pros: short, coloratura, SHORT. cons: everyone and their mom sings it for a short french piece, and the opera is not done very often.

Fee- pros: line AND coloratura...kinda. cons: not very high, not performed often

O legere Hirondelle- Pros: a bit of line and coloratura. cons: rare, a kind flitty character, repetitive!

Lakme- too long
Non monsieur non mari- long and overdone in auditions, I think.
Nixed from the line-up: Marie- due to casting tendencies for more lyric voices and fewer fun cadenzas.

Oscar- pros: character, legato, previously performed. Cons: I feel like I get cheated out of a 2nd aria when this is asked for 2nd. I know it's so the panel can hear line, but it's just so short...wish I could have something with legato AND fireworks to replace it.

Norina- overdone and hated by many
---all leading ladies, arias on the long side but they are 2parters, some casting tendencies are heavier/lyric, I'd offer any one of these 2nd, with coach and teacher approval that the sound they will get will not be the full lyric-y sound, but will still cut, carry, and be lovely.

Clorinda- kind of perfect character and crazy cadenza-wise..but maybe not because it's a cut aria and because it's not a leading lady. So what does aria choice say about my audition? Does it reflect the same way as a 'rare' aria does? People go digging through everything these days to find something that's not overdone.
I'm on the fence about this one being put into that category or into the 'uhh, does this girl know that this aria is usually cut' category.

Contesse di Folleville- awesome but 10 minutes long and I don't think I can find a cut to do it justice.

OR- early guys:
another under-done Handel of some sort.

Easy- after Durch- Zerbinetta.
Also can throw in at any time: Sophie, Queen

a bunch of MT that is considered operetta
crazy new things! that sound weird and show off crazy high notes and the ability to learn modern music and sing it with shape and presence.

Decisions, Decisions.
I don't NEED to change my rep. up, but I want to.
and all of the arias are learned and ready to go anyway.
So now it's up to the court of public opinion (coaches, teachers, etc) and my own instincts to put together a 'package'.
What I really want to make sure is that it doesn't come off as a one-trick pony--only crazy high notes, or only cutesy high energy characters.

Searching for that perfect aria in SOME language that will give depth to the rest of the 4 or 5 that I offer, that are the opera's show-stealing arias.

21 August, 2008

one word

If I had to only use one word for WTOC's Ariadne this past Tuesday it would be: Fierce.

A la Christian from Project Runway, a la the generally encompassing awesome-ness of the singing, direction, costumes, attitudes, and success of the production.

I was happy to see a number of my colleagues perform a challenging and beautiful work in a lovely musical acoustic and intimate theatrical space.

Looking forward to this weekend of continuing operatic travels, and then a weekend of labor day fun that will include seeing Wicked (for the first time, I know, I know--this needed to happen years ago and just didn't. Not that I don't know all of the music from youtube).

19 August, 2008


Sorry, it sure has been a while.
I've been meaning to update, but I've been mac-less since Friday. Now I'm writing on an inferior compaq6000 which belongs to my cousin who is currently at work, as normal people should be on a tuesday at 10am.

DC has been lovely so far. Beautiful weather, fun activities, great museums, and the best is yet to come with the performance of Ariadne tonight at Wolf Trap. Have I mentioned how excited I am for this? ?? ???

Oh- audition last week: sang Durch and Norina. Had to go through immense amount of drama, as my drycleaner 'misplaced' my audition dress. YES, my favorite, awesome, pretty, bold, red, audition dress.
And of course, since I was in the process of moving into nyc and my clothes were all over the place, I couldn't find any.thing.else. to wear. So it's 4:30pm and my audition is at 7:30pm. I find a dress that is a print that may be a LITTLE bold, but hey, it's the summer, so why not.
But. I have no shoes. To be specific, blue or white shoes. WHO owns white heels? Or for that matter, a blue, but NOT navy heel?
Not me.
(I usually wear the dress w/flats and was NOT about to audition in peeptoe white flats, as cute as I would look on the street in them).

So after my drycleaners completely piss me off by lying that the dress is on one of five trucks and it won't be there today (Friday), after they said it WOULD be there LAST wednesday...(yea.)...I begin the shoe-store shuffle on the Upper West Side.
First 3 boutiques on Columbus...yes, they have something that would match- but NOT worth 350 bucks!

Fourth store- has a potentially great shoe that is on the cusp of too expensive, but they don't have it in the color/size that I need--and this blue matched PERFECTLY.
BUT they have another location!
(cut to me jogging to Lincoln Center)
(cut to me at the 2nd location)
Scope out the shoe, see if they have my size and color--7-7.5-Blue- YES!
Ooook, since it's my only choice and otherwise I show up to an audition in black heels and a blue dress. No. Unacceptable.

However--at the end of the day, I'm KIND of in love with these shoes, and KIND of want to wear my new last-minute audition-configuration as, possibly, one of my 'season' outfits for auditioning.

Oh, and after all the running around it started pouring anyway, making my 'I'm living in NYC on the UWS and not taking any cabs anywhere' promise to myself null and void.
Put my sneaks on under the dress, hopped in a cab in the pouring rain, changed shoes at NOLA and sang a great audition.

Coming up this week and weekend:
Madame Butterfly and Flute in the White Mountain state
and Marriage of Figaro near the Green Mountain State.
And maybe buying my iphone in Beantown if I have time to get down there and visit.

12 August, 2008

have I mentioned

How great it is to be able to apply to programs online?
Thanks, that was quite painless.

No ink smears, no licking envelopes, no looking for that stash of Forever Stamps that I bought and put 'somewhere I could never forget'..and then forgot.

The internetsss is such a magical and wonderful place.

new digs

Yesterday I moved a majority of my things into the apt. I'll be living in for the next 5 months.

Wow- this may be the longest stint that I'm in a single place since I was in my last year in college. No, I take that back--since the residency program I did 2 yrs ago--that was 8 months long.

I've obviously learned to pack light and only had to transport:
My late summer/early fall clothes in one large suitcase, my winter clothes into another suitcase, a carry-on suitcase with audition clothes and the clothes I'm wearing this week.
A few more bags of shoes than I'd like to admit.
A keyboard.
A bag full of hangers extension cords.
A box of music I'll need for the next few months and papers I'll need for auditions (copies of headshots, resumes, recommendations, drivers license/passport, etc)

And really--that's about it.

I've learned how to travel light, and even though I have a cute clock collection, a favorite stuffed animal (yes, still!), tons of pics of me and my best friends from all over the world, and other chatchkes lying around that I'd love to add into my personal decorating of an eventual 'home', this one is temporary. And the more I bring now, the more I'll have to just pack up again in 5 months.
So all that's staying safe and sound in the basement until I'm a real person someday.
A real person with a place for everything that I have collected over the years that means something to me (and of course, doesn't clash with minimalist modern decor).

10 August, 2008

olympic inspiration

Just a short line about how inspired I am by watching the life work, life training, however few or however many years that is, from the youngest competitor to the oldest, of these Olympic hopefuls.

07 August, 2008


I had the opportunity to see a fabulous play the other night-
A Flea in her Ear, by Feydeau--translated into English, of course, although, back in the day (first semester of undergrad), I took a French class called French Comedy and Farce, and we had to read it in FRENCH.

I was at a highly prestigious summer theater festival that has seen the likes of Blythe Danner and her somewhat famous daughter...you know..what's her name...oh yea--Gwyneth Paltrow (in one of the pics she was just 8 years old in a play there), walk through the doors and out the stage actor's exit once the curtain came down.

Aaaanyway, it was a study in comedic timing.
And a good one at that.
In comedy, there is laughter from the audience. Sometimes, where you never expect. Because of a gesture, a double take, a word, the TONE of that word...
and here, wrapped up in a delightful little bundle of acting and directing, was an amazing book from which the actors had to shape their words, phrases, bodies, and minds.

Yes, I caught them ...sometimes thinking ahead to their next line while putting on the 'face' of listening to their dialogue counterpart.
But about 95% of the time it was flawless, seemed so natural, off the cuff, and non-rehearsed, even though I'm sure that it was quite the opposite...meaning-OVER rehearsed to a point of exhaustion where everyone was convinced they were NOT funny anymore...and then--voila, you have a comedy.

06 August, 2008

downsizing and other musings

This shouldn't be so tough, since I lived the majority of last year out of two suitcases..but that was just clothes.
All I required on those gigs were current-gig-score, audition-binder, and maybe next-gig-score.

Now that I have the opportunity to live in NYC for half a year--what music will I bring with me?
Music in the 'I'm going to learn this role' pile?
Music in the 'I should learn these cantatas' pile?
Music in the 'I photocopied this aria 3 years ago and wanted to add it to my audition binder' pile?

A smattering of all of the above will travel with me, but I also don't want to live among boxes of music, and I know that I have the NYPAL at my fingertips--literally--8 blocks away.

Also, 'tis the season of figuring out who I'm going to ask for recommendations.
Oooohhhhhhh..recommendations- a necessary evil (for companies) and very very...just plain evil.. for singers who are no longer in school, are graduates of young artist programs and year round residencies, and have begun the career of a young professional.
This does not age them out of still participating in programs and residencies that could offer continued training, high level visibility, the opportunity to work with a new set of coaches, conductors, directors and colleagues, etc. etc.
The value of these programs for singers at any early stage of their career is very high and important.

As I haven't been in an academic or apprentice setting since a year and a half ago, I suppose I'm left to ask colleagues from the main stage--conductors, directors, etc.

More and more often, in the lists of young artist participants in summer programs and year-round programs, I'm seeing managed singers, singers who already have a pretty steady regional career and gigs for the next 2 years, in the mix.

When I was a youngster I used to ask myself why these singers would want to stay in the young artist game? Yes, they're mostly all under 30 and, by the rules, have a right to apply and get in. But I thought once a little career momentum began, it wouldn't be so tough for them to just go out there and try to keep doing it.
I see now that it's more and more common, even for someone that is booked through 2010 in leading roles, to accept a young artist position at prestigious summer programs and year round residencies, and make more contacts with more people that will most likely lead to more hiring in the future.

Which begs the questions--
Can you just go it alone based solely on your voice and your resume?
Or does it take a big named program to want to invest in you before others really start to take notice?

What's in a name....


04 August, 2008


Performances that I'm going to see in the next 3 weeks include:
King Roger- (saw it at Bard yesterday)
Cesare- Glimmerglass
Ariadne- Wolf Trap
Flute- Opera North
Figaro- Berkshire Opera

And those are all BEFORE I arrive in NYC and begin the operatic viewings there for the next 5 months!

The above trips will involve a bit more gas money than I'd like to spend--but hey, it's worth it to see friends perform, say hello to colleagues that are coaches directors and conductors for the summers there, and above all, see ARIADNE for the first time LIVE which I'm very very (have I mentioned very?) excited about!

Up next on my plate (or, what SHOULD be up next)
is learning 09opera-1 and 09opera-2 roles...buuuuut wouldn't it be MORE fun to work on some new arias and revisit others that I haven't quite performed in a while but could be great for this year?
I say- YES!
So, I'm thinking about throwing some new-(er) things into the mix before audition season begins and seeing if they work.

I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung (nixon)
Fear to the sinner (tempest)
Pour en faire (cendrillon)
Sventurata (cenerentola)

Off to be productive.

03 August, 2008

I'm baaaack

Landed yesterday after a lovely flight that included:
Be Kind Please Rewind
Nim's Island (I couldn't stop watching partially because it was so sad to see Jodie Foster in such a crappy kid's movie)
Annie Hall (yes, the first time I saw the entire movie. On an airplane)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (see above)
Aladdin (Thankfully we landed halfway through this movie because I don't think my row-neighbors appreciated me singing and saying every.single.word.to.the.movie at a SOFT level, but nonetheless out loud while it was playing).

All in all, another airplane success across the ocean. Not too much turbulence, not too much bad food, no disturbances from small children kicking the back of my seat...
in short.... "a great success!"