14 December, 2010


In two days I'll be leaving for fun in the sun and a wedding (no, not my own! shock and awe!).
Things I SHOULD do on the plane:
Memorize, memorize, memorize english translation of upcoming opera2 and text!!!

Things I'll PROBABLY do on the plane:
Sleep. Watch movies. Repeat for 14 hours.

See ya after the new year when I'm already at upcoming opera1 gig!!

Oh, well, actually, maybe I'll do a 'year in review' type thing before that, but not in the next 2 days!

08 December, 2010

from 'the forum'

Wrote this a few weeks ago, over yonder on another classical singer discussion forum, but thought it was appropriate to post here, since I just did a run-down of US-based Yaps/reality of the business.
Why not hit Europe as well?

Just as a comparison and a possible statement on the 'state of things' here in Europe:

Between Aug.25-Dec.2nd of 2009 I had 10 auditions.
Aug.25-end of 2010: 3 with one more scheduled.

In the 'winter/spring' (Jan.-March-ish) audition season of 2009: 12.
'winter/spring' season of 2010: 4.

In addition, when I moved here in 2009, at THAT point singers were already saying the audition opportunities were fewer than 'normal', or 'the past'. (And yes, I moved here, I didn't do a 'European audition tour' with a US mailing address still on my resume).

It certainly seems like this may no longer be the place to 'wait it out' and then return to the good ole' USofA with 'roles under your belt', nor is it the place to get your foot in the door more easily.

(But we already knew that because we all read What The Fach, right??!!!! :) )

Advice to singers considering an 'audition tour':

Consider coming here seriously if you want to live a European lifestyle and STILL chase after every last opportunity/audition-- just like in the US. Yes, that means you may have to teach English, try to get a part time job (welcome to dealing with Foreign Visa offices), or be creative in the musical opportunities/other part time opportunities you seek out for yourself ALL while applying to house auditions/agent auditions...auf Deutsch.

Don't come here because your teachers and coaches said you should 'hit' Europe and you'll be 'perfect' for the types of houses and shows they do here.

To be frank, I don't really think that kind of opportunity exists here anymore, UNLESS you are interested in applying to the 'yaps' of European houses..upper age limit for most 28 (women), and median age of most of my colleagues singing in such programs- 24/25).
And yes, you get paid nearly nothing to do all of the barbarinas/anninas/papagenas that your hearts desire with no security that when you've put in your one or two years that you'll move into an ensemble position at that house.
Although I wasn't looking for this type of situation when I moved here, I know an equal number of young singers that have benefited from it (ie, moved up into the ensemble and have security in their job..although maybe not the best roles possible) and a matching number that were spit out into the 'real world' of trying to secure mainstage auditions for leading roles on their own after two years. They do have pretty perfect German though!

07 December, 2010

the 'biz' ... again

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"! It's the YAP, YAPPIEST season of all...
Yes, it's that time, in New York City, when singers young and OLD wind their way through the bowels of nyco, warm up in the bathrooms of church basements, lip trill in the hallways of NOLA, and hope above all hopes that they are 'accepted' somewhere.
Validation, of course. And "The PATH". Feels kind of like "The SECRET". They say "if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere", but, is it true for YAPs and those first programs that are supposed stepping stones to success?

(btw, do you like all the quotes and alliteration I've used so far? Yea, it's THAT kind of morning).

Here are a few case studies of friends of mine (let's stick with sopranos since it's easily the hardest 'fach' to get hired in...no matter what).

Soprano A- undergrad from a music conservatory, grad from a music conservatory, mid level Yap1, mid/high level Yap2, doctorate from a music school, "yap"abroad for a year (in all of these yaps she covered the main roles and sang the smaller roles...with a few chances to do the big stuff, like in student matinees). Back in NYC, with an management since age 29, not being accepted to many mainstage auditions, nothing in future work. Over 30 now.

Soprano B- undergrad from a big university, grad from a big university while at the same time in a resident artist program (singing and covering leading roles), small summer Yap1, small summer yap2 (and by small I mean, they do one or two shows, and they may not have the 'connections' coming to see the young artists as a bigger yap would). Big residency program (for a year, but then nothing from them). Gap year. No summer program, no residency. Not managed yet, not 30 yet either, applying to yaps THIS year (after years of doing it..since we were all about 22 or 23ish), and got into a top-level Yap- which means- connections, agent auditions, mainstage auditions from WHOEVER comes through there for the summer. My friends that have sung here have mostly ALL come out either with an agent, concert work, or a mainstage job. Here's hoping!

Soprano C- undergrad from a big university and from a conservatory, grad from a big university while in a resident artist program (leading roles), yap1, yap2 (mid-level), invited back to yap2 for mainstage, Big residency program (for a year, singing great mainstage roles), return to residency house after program for one show, management at age 25- then no more summer programs, or 'programs' at all were recommended. Mainstage- starting from regional, working way into 'important regional', Europe debut, and mainstage work into 2012.

SopranoD- JOC (that's juilliard opera center), bigYap, was heard by intl.YAP at bigYAP, now in the ensemble of major European opera house (with top management, obviously).

SopranoE- IU (music school) Master's, little yaps, big yaps, big residency asked back for 3 years (roles, covers of big roles), then nothing for THREE years, now a little yap, and tbd for the summer. No management, over 30.

What's the key? IS there a key? Is there a 'right way'?
Is it just your GUT telling you to press on for ONE more year of the insanity in New York between October and December? Is it just dumb luck about the one year that the panel decides YOU will be the 'chosen one who will join the ranks of a summer program, mostly to sing in the chorus, but also to cover a mainstage role? How old is too old and when is enough, enough? I have colleagues well into their mid to late thirties who are still singing in Yaps. NOT as mainstage artists. (And not always telling the TRUTH about their age....since many programs have age limits).

The harder truth is, that YAPs, while providing a supportive 'incubator' period, and yes, also providing the opportunity to REALLY show your stuff (if given the chance, when agents come through for mainstage performances), are not an indicator of a future career. They're like a 'hidden level' in Mario Brothers that you can collect a LOT of golden coins in, and maybe skip to level 4 from level 1...BUT it doesn't mean that you can't lose all your lives and have a "Game Over" sign flashing on your not-yet-color Gameboy Screen (I'm dating myself to about 1995 here). And by the time you start that new game from level one with no secret codes, you may be 30, with no agent, and no real 'experience' besides covering and coaching for a summer.

26 November, 2010


How is it already the end of the month and I've only written 6 blog posts in November?
Kind of unacceptable.
Although I know it will only get WORSE! Because next month I'm on VAYCAY and COMPUTER-LESS for 15 days. You got it!
Well, I'm sure not computer-less, as I will have my handy iphone (thank you for working in the US I hope)...so I can check my email, but I ASSUME that all that bright SUNSHINE of the LEFT coast will not inspire too many blog posts...certainly none that have to do with singing.

19 more days until the airplane!

The video recording went well for the past 2 coachings.
I still have a LOT to make sure that I learn before 2011 gig-2 and gig-3, but I am NOT freaked, because I have SO many hours on planes to go over dialogue and opera translated into English. Plus, I still have 2 more months before that madness even begins. PLENTY 'o' time.

Right now I'm focused on my weekend-getaway out of Deutschland, which I hope will not be hampered by the light snow dusting we got this morning, or the forecast of more light snow tomorrow morning when my flight leaves.

23 November, 2010

legal eagle

I have a coaching tomorrow in which I PLAN to make a recording. Not just audio. Really, international competition? You're going to require us to submit dvds of our performances but ALSO require that we sign an AFFIDAVIT saying they are legal recordings?
Are ANY video recordings (other than professionally recorded dvds) legal?!
I mean, I'm CERTAINLY not making any money off of my youtube/website offerings, but sure, I guess 'legally', they are illegal.

I don't understand WHY though. I'm not making any money off of them. Or selling them. Or selling a certain 'production', 'costume', 'orchestra', or whatever else you could pinpoint as having a 'union' and being 'for sale' in a recording project.

Nope, I'm just selling my voice. But as a BONUS you get to see me ACT too! and sometimes that can make a huge difference!
Who wants a queen of the night that stands there and looks completely terrified when the high F's roll around? Or when that long Alle Bande phrase comes up and you're dying for a breath?

And what about that high F I added into the end of Una voce poco fa that I'm singing WHILE waving around the 'love letter' (again, not looking like a deer in headlights, but looking like I'm actually completely enjoying what I'm doing?..which, DUH, I am!). Added to the general 'acting chops' displayed throughout....

And how about the clips that I have of Oscar that show I can be 'masculine", and ok, yes, I added a G into the Olympia aria too- but-- you should KNOW that I look like a KNOCKOUT as a spray-painted golden robot-doll.

No, really. There IS merit in requesting these videos for a competition that I'm sure will get TONS of applicants. But you HAVE to acknowledge that ALL the video clips are illegal! Unless you happened to be in a dvd project with a super famous production or singer-- in which case, you're PROBABLY not applying to an UNDER THIRTY vocal competition to make some mulah on the side!

That is all for today.
And so, tomorrow I'll be recording my 'legal' video of arias (with piano- BOO, with no costumes- BOO, in a small rehearsal room and not a big hall/onstage- BOO BOO BOO), so that I can apply to this competition 'legally'.

21 November, 2010

2 days a.o.k.

Friday and Saturday were pretty good in terms of musical productivity.
And then today came.
Today when it's already 1pm and I just got out of bed.
Well, just re-wind to ONE month ago, and you'll get the point.
I hate days like these. Days when I know that if I have to sing, it will take extra long to warm my voice up. And days that if I don't HAVE to sing (for a performance), I absolutely won't.
Maybe I can at least memorize some dialogue. Later.
First, I need some chocolate.

17 November, 2010

hurrray for singing!

Wait, first let me say- HURRAY for waking up!
Yes, it's true-- for the past two weeks I have not gotten out of bed before noon. SOMETIMES I was awake before that time, and checkin' out the interwebs. MOST times I would wake up from about 7:30-8, then fall back asleep around 9:30 and sleep straight through until about noon, THEN check the internets until 2pm (all in bed, of course).
Which means, I wasn't eating, drinking, OR doing anything, really (besides, obviously, let me state ONCE again..being on the INTERWEBS) until well past the mid-day.

In my defense, however, I was HUGELY productive in the wee hours..between about 11pm and one a.m.
Printing out music, reading about music news, competitions, singers, what's going on, and then my normal blogginess/nytimes/facebook/email combo.

Yes, I practiced (out loud) twice. And both times I wrote about how I should do it more often.
Funny how once you get around to doing something that you so naturally always DO, it's a lot of fun.

So- today- practice!
An hour and twenty minutes of singing fun arias and lieder and oratorio!
I did about 15 minutes of warming up before switching to my 'standard' "am I warmed up aria"- Durch Zaertlichkeit.
If I can sing this WITH EASE, everything is fine.
Well, I did.
And so,
It was.

Then I did some Doll song action, some Rosina, some Debussy and Strauss lieder, followed by Zerbie (just the aria) and finally looked at the new oratorio piece.

I WILL say I was vocally tired after that entire time- meaning, I felt a bit 'thick' in the super low (below middle c), but other than that, NOTHING changed, and I feel as if I could start singing again right now.
The low thickness is usually a warning sign that I've been singing very high for a very long time.
Which, actually is true- since I forgot to mention I sang crazy-high-contemporary aria as well, twice.

I can stay up in the stratosphere long enough, but then coming down, I always feel the need to belt out a good ole Gershwin tune in a 'jazzy' but supported style. Just to make sure that everything is still healthy, functioning as it should be, and EASY.
Most importantly- EASY.

And- today it was.
Good working session today even inspired me to MAYBE do a little brain work later- ie, still music stuff, but things that don't require singing.

15 November, 2010

attitude adjustment

Remember that time, say, oh, about FIVE days ago when I said that it felt so good to practice and sing through an entire role and that I'll be doing something like this every day I hope? Yea....then came the weekend..well, the almost-weekend (thursday), followed by the weekend (friday to sunday), followed by this morning (recovery from weekend).
No, I didn't go clubbing until 4am, I just had a friend and family involved kind of weekend that included much eating of french pastries (still baked in Germany so they were ho-hum), much shopping (not for me, but I got to judge others..always a fun thing), much walking about and seeing some sights while enjoying one of FF's possibly LAST mild-weathered weekends this season (since it's raining and freezing out now), and much talking (so much, that even if I wanted to practice last night or Saturday it probably would have felt a bit dry and crappy).
BUT I'm feeling awesome now- it's almost 4pm here which means I can practice (after the afternoon-no-noise-allowed time), and practice I SHALL.
Except first I have to finish my chocolate muesli.

11 November, 2010


I sang through next-next opera two days ago. The whole thing. And YAY did it feel good.
I mean, I love this role because it's so charming, light and fun.
The things to think about here are- I think I want some new cadenzas. The last time I sang this role I was a grad student, and doing everything by the letter in order to placate coaches and conductors that didn't like to ruffle any feathers with, oh, you know- artistry. In a sense that there were two casts and we needed to do as much alike so the orchestra would be ok, the staging would be 'equal', and the conductor wouldn't freak....
But now I'M the boss!

07 November, 2010

ready, set, go?

It has now officially been a week and a half since returning from previous-show, and doing last week's koenigin.
Should I ... get back on TRACK of 'doing things'? Instead of oh, sitting on my behind checking out the interwebs all day?

Last week I had an audition out of the country. Well, it took two trains to get there, so it wasn't THAT far out of the country. Still, it was the 'first' audition of the fall season, well let's just say of the November/December season for me.
And I did what I normally do.
Woke up, got dressed, lip trills in the shower, light warming up before I get to the theater, got to the theater, had a pianist that asked kindly/refused to play Zerbinetta (meanwhile- what's UP with that? I know it's hard, but it's a WELL offered aria these days, especially from the END, so come on guys, can you take a LOOK at it please??), so then I end up looking like the A-hole who has to go back down to the KBB office and scratch out my previously written repertoire list since this pianist didn't want to play the Strauss.

So anyway, audition went well- I think I spent more hours on a train in a 24 hour period of time than I ever had. Oh, scratch that. 29 hours on a train straight from Germany to Oslo in the winter of 2009 European audition tour.
Ok, so it wasn't 29 hours, but for the 10 minute audition turnaround, it seemed like a lot of hours on the train.

Also, someone (turns out it was someTHING) jumped in front of our ICE train. Which means- we stop for 2 hours while the police and ambulance are called, only to find out it was an animal, not someone who had written their last goodbyes and figured a train moving at 250km/hr was a good way to end it all.

Aaaanyway, yes, it's been a week.
I'm back now.
I cleaned the apartment today. Kitchen floors and EVERYTHING. Put my clothes away finally- no more suitcases in the hallway. And now, maybe JUST maybe I'm ready to focus on getting back to 'work'.
By work I mean SIS- self-imposed-study. Of course, I HAVE to do it seeing as how it needs to be memorized by February and then April and then October of 2011--(it, being- 3 operas).

I've said it before and will say it again- when you have NO time, is when you can do- and usually do- the MOST with your time.
And, sadly, I have.. a LOT of time.. right now.
And what do I do with my time?

So it's back to attempting to be my own taskmaster.

31 October, 2010

happy halloweeny

I'm not dressing up for Halloween or anything, but..since it IS Halloween here, I suppose I could comment on the fact that I do miss suburban life trick'er'treating for the BIG candy bars at the rich people's houses up the street from my high school, and I do miss 'urban' life's adult Halloween parties. What other day of the year do you have an excuse to dress up as 'sexy' batgirl, wearing pretty much nothing but pink boyshorts undies and a pink cape and parade around nyc freezing your butt off?

Last night I had another performance of Koenigin...except, this time, it was at PREVIOUS-theater...the one I've been Guest-ing at for the past year.
And I haven't done the show there since JUNE...
So, having just worked in another production, with a different maestro with COMPLETELY different tempi (if you can believe it, for the arias...yes, it's very very true)...and I found myself last night sitting in the dressing room and...thinking about whether I would LIKE to do Queens over and over and over again.
Yes, it's an 'easy' sing for me. But it's also kind of a mind-trip...going from one show to the next with no re-rehearsal. Of course, the blocking is never hard unless you're catapulted out of the depths of the earth at warp speed by a pulley-machine rigged to the OTHER Queen's weight which was not changed to YOUR (lighter) weight (yes, that happened to me right before Der Hoelle Rache), but there is of course the "pressure" of Koenigin.
The pressure that even though you know you can wake up and sing this aria right out of bed with the F's perfect EVERY.Single.Time...the pressure JUST to see if THIS time around in live performance they will all come out perfect. The pressure NOT to let your mind wander since it IS so 2nd nature already. The pressure to make it a perfect and memorable experience for the audience..who up until now is getting a bit sleepy after the long intermission and the slow beginning of Act II, and who KNOW this aria in and out...in whatever tv commercial, online version of an 11 year old boy singing it, etc. They KNOW it.
As "easy" as a sing as it can be...it's never easy once you get onstage.
And that's something that I have to keep reminding myself as I calmly sit backstage knitting or listening to some pop music on my ipod or playing wordwarp on my iphone backstage...feeling no nerves at all because I know I've 'done' it so much..but then getting out there and remembering how much of a 'performance' I do want to give.
It's like I have to remember to 'get pumped' before I'm onstage, even though that 'get pumped' feeling usually shows up by itself via nerves. Now I have no nervous feelings anymore, so I have to find something to replace that with, to get my body and mind ready to 'SANG' it.

28 October, 2010

home sweet home

The last show of the production went off without a hitch. I say that, because there COULD have been a quite uncomfortable hitch..that being..me not arriving in time for the show.
You see, we had 3 days off in between performances so I decided to take a trip home.
Another singer had an audition in ITALY so I figured my 2 hour train ride wasn't too far away.
Until the rail strike, that is.
I arrived at the correct track for my 7:29am train -- supposed to arrive at my final destination with no changes...in 2 hours.
Well, one stop later, we get a nice little announcement over the intercom in 5 languages saying- due to the train strike we have no idea when we will be moving again or why we are really stopped.
Now, I had well over 9 hours to arrive back at the show...but I'm sitting on this train, unable to sleep since I'm on pins and needles no knowing if we will move. We are first stuck at a pretty large city/station. So I'm thinking- do I get off? Do I try to rent a car? Do I go the the AIRPORT?
TWO and a half hours later, we're on the move. Again, not knowing whether at the NEXT station stop, we will also sit on the tracks for a while.
In the end, everything turned out ok (of course it did, I just said the last show went well!), and I made it back by 12:30pm, managed to sleep for 3 hours, woke up in the mid-afternoon from my nap feeling like SHIT, and said to myself-- ok ..one more. I can get it together for this.. but really, I had NO idea if the F's would want to come out and play. I couldn't even talk in a normal speaking voice without cracking, that's how tired my body was.
But, I took a shower. For like 35 minutes. Steam. Heat. Does wonders for the body and voice.
Started warming up lightly in the shower and before you know it...I'm just fine.
Feeling energized again, warmed up way past the F, and voila- no worries for the show.
The show was great, the colleagues were lovely, the weather was a bit dreary most of the time, and I had a really nice 'artistic' time..even though I COULD have done a lot more studying of future-scores on my days off. As I've said before, I think it's pretty tough to motivate other music-learning while on a gig. But at least now I have a month and a half until the next one.
Until then, auditions are already lined up, beginning with travels to the south next week.
And in all of my time 'off' in between I'll be looking at 3 scores/4 roles.
Good to be home.

22 October, 2010

...what it feels like, for a girl...

Warning: Do not continue reading if you don't want to read about that 'totm' (that's time of the month to you MALES of the sex).
Singing and being a girl.
What an amazing combination...exciting high notes, falling in love at break-neck speed, dramatic death scenes,..and sometimes, when the full moon feels like really messing with you, having to sing a show while feeling that there are two very small but super-powerful ninjas inside of you trying to high kick and karate chop their way through your lower abdomen.

Add a corset, a really tight 'Shira'-esque utility belt completely bedazzled with fake jewels that is also a handy dagger-holder, and the fact that you CANNOT take off you costume ALONE to 'pee'(yea...), (and the dresser likes to take cigarette breaks..OFTEN..and you can't find her for most of the show)...oh yea, and SOME HIGH F's.... and you've got me last night.

I will say that no matter how physically blah I'm feeling, it usually does not take any kind of toll on the singing. If anything, people say I sound stronger, more forceful, more dramatic. Thanks crazy hormones of lady-ness!
I think it's just me taking all that flying dragon crouching tiger stabbing inside and translating it into my 'character'. HA.

Two more shows and then I'm back home!
New music to learn, routines to return to, and hopefully some auditions thrown in the mix with one or two day travel.

What I have left in my kitchen right now:
Taboule, cherry tomatoes, butter, 2 plums

no bread, no milk, but I have 1/2 a box of smacks (known as BEE POPS here).

Wonder if I can make it until the end of the run.
Oh, and a LOT of opening night chocolate.
Yea, I can do it.

20 October, 2010

day off

Show number 4 is tomorrow.
Show number three was the 'relaaaaaaxed' show. Everyone got over the opening night jitters, the first matinee slump/fake energy, and now we are in a rhythm.
We know our calls and sometimes get to stage just as the SM turns around to call us.
We take our time to get that 2nd wig change because we already know that the makeup and hair staff is outside smoking a cigarette and having yet another coffee at that exact 5 minutes when we're called to the chair.

I'm still not quite sure what to do with my days off.
I actually bought knitting needles and some yarn, turned on youtube, watched a video about how to get the yarn on the needle, then watched a video about how to knit.
And now..I'm 1/4 done with a scarf.
Except my fingertips hurt from stabbing the tips of them with the needles all the time.

I tried a bit during the show as well, which was pretty calming actually. Instead of eating chocolate and trying to unsuccessfully concentrate on reading books (calls get in the way of truly reading an entire page)...
So, maybe that trend will continue.

I KNOW that as soon as this production is over I'll be in music-learning mode again.
Actually, the other night I DID bring super-future score to the dressing room and managed to do a bit of work on the 'interjection' lines of the first act.

So there, productivity after all!!

17 October, 2010

opening niiiiight and the following matinee

Woo hoo! Had a great opening night of Zauberfloete.
At this point I am most comfortable in saying that I have no weirdo pre-show routine for THIS show, and perhaps this show only in my life...so far.
I have sung it so many times. I know the notes will be there. I can eat bbq flavored potato chips in my dressing room, followed by half a twix bar BEFORE the first aria and the second half of the bar BEFORE the second aria. I can have cereal with milk for breakfast, or I can have pineapple for breakfast.
And IT DOESN"T MATTER which is -- awesome!
I am relaxed. I KNOW that everything rides on those high F's, and I know that I got'em...so...I'm pretty much good to go.

YES, there is that moment right before the set opens up to reveal me before the act I aria that my heart starts pumping harder than usual. Yes, I can feel my heartbeat going a bit higher and faster...but no, it doesn't affect me.

Before the second aria there is just so much dialogue that frankly, if I worried about ANYTHING at all it would be that dang dialogue, not the aria.
And once I get through the FIRST run with the F's, the rest is easy as pie.

Opening night went really well. Had a resting day off where I nearly went stir crazy inside because it was rainy and freezing outside and I didn't want to risk a late-in-the-production chill. I went out to dinner with some castmates last night (pasta with salmon), woke up around 10am today, left for the theater at 1, and the show began at 3pm.

Today the audience was much more enthusiastic, although I'm not quite sure the performers were. For me, it's a total of 10 minutes of singing, so I crank it up every time..frankly, with Queen, there is no way not to.
But most people hate matinees- whether it's immediately after opening night, or after a day off..it's still tough to get INTO it after waking up early, freaking out because you've been on a late night sleep schedule and now it's 10am and you have to make sure the voice is there at 3pm instead of 8pm. The second performance is usually dubbed the lower-energy performance by the singers. So a few singers were feeling sluggish in energy, but I don't know whether it made a difference on stage or not (since I never sing with anyone until the 'death scene' at the end!). Well, I sing TO Tamino and Pamina, but in this production I don't really have contact with them directly.

Aaaanyway, I'm feeling GOOD about today's performance AND opening night.
I have SO much yummmmy chocolate from the bonbons that we all gave each other, and yes, I have been eating them. And will continue to do so. DON"T JUDGE.
NO, I haven't been doing yoga every day either. please don't judge?

14 October, 2010

it's the day before the show, y'all!

My routine?
Do as much of NOTHING as possible.
I have the majority of my 'toi toi toi' notes written (except the director and maestro which always take a bit more time).
I will attempt to drink water today. More water than usual..and my usual is about .75 liters. Ooops. Yea, I know, I should try to improve that, seeing how it's a whopping 2 glasses out of 8 that we are 'supposed' to have per day.
But I ate a clementine! Does that count?

The rest of today's options:
Learn new music? NAAHHHHHH!

Clean the apartment and put all the clothes away that I have been throwing on the floor after arriving home for the past 2 nights at midnight after our tech and dress? MOST LIKELY NOT.

Watch movies and be online from 6pm until I try to go to bed around 2am? Most likely.

11 October, 2010


My horoscope for this week:
This week is very impressive with its 'long range success' potential and other forms of 'down the road' happenstance near the 11th to 13th. Foreign connections, invitations to speak, perform, attend and expand are likely and can come 'at the last moment'. Power people favor you boldly near the 11th and again the 14th. Cooperation appears slightly more challenging the 13th to AM of the 15th but you have to show your 'creative problem solving abilities' and what may appear to be controversy on the surface, may actually be the universe giving you the chance to 'showcase' your abilities.

Well allllrighythen!

05 October, 2010

remember that time...

when I talked about time management? And how I 'professionally' posted that this business is mostly about waiting around to go onstage?
And how I always have the next score I have to learn with me? and a book? and my iphone?

Well. I have those three things here too (minus the iphone since I"m not paying that ridiculous amount per month for world service, thank you very much!)...and I still think I win the prize for BEST at doing NOTHING when I have to WAIT to do SOMETHING.

I arrived to rehearsal at 1:30 today for our costume run. Except, my costume wasn't ready. So I had 30 minutes to kill until the top of the act. Except, I don't sing at the top of the act.
So I have 25 more minutes to kill.
And then I sang my aria.
And then it was about 2:35. And then...it was 5pm and I had done NOTHING but sit in my dressing room.
I tried to read 3 pages of a new book.
I opened next-next-score...once.
I actually LOOKED for a pencil in my bag (and didn't find one..because I was using another bag last week and it got lost in the transfer) so that I could maybe WRITE something...like, a haiku.

Called to Rehearsal
Why isn't wi-fi working?
Hours til my aria.

Koenigin der nacht
Epitome of evil
Ten minutes of song.

Ok, time to get my things together and go back for ActII this evening.

01 October, 2010

funny/crazy (business of singing, kinda)

You know what? I was just re-reading my B.(o).S - Business Of Singing posts from the year 2005-2006, and I would not change a word or an experience that I had.
I did the BA/BM. I did the free MM (as I postured, pay for a great undergrad, GET paid to sing for the grad, if you can). I did the language immersion (semester Italy, summer Germany). I did the residency (even though I had a backup plan in case that didn't happen). I did the summer YAP auditions/preparations for 2-3 summers both while I was ALREADY employed in a residency, AND while I was experiencing what I said NOT to do, which was- move to NY for auditions. Although, my move to NY was because I already had an offer from a manager to COME to ny, and so even though I worked a part time job, what I was really doing was dipping my toe in the 'professional' lifestyle pool of a managed singer, living in NY, working between auditions, and hoping that these auditions with the new management would take me AWAY from New York.
A few months later, gigs started rolling in. I was gone for more of the year, but still had no 'other' place to call home, so I actually started looking for real estate in nyc. OH HARLEM 2br SUNNY apartment that was under 300thou, how I WISH I had invested in you when the market was still in my favor. Bygones.
And professional gigs, however many or few per year, continued to roll in from about 2007 until today...as a 'free lance'/guest singer, not doing residencies, and not doing young artist programs anymore.
And New York, well that was an 8 month stint, followed by planning a European audition tour, which turned into another crazy chapter of life called- falling in love, getting married, moving abroad...which brought on CURRENT chapter of life- juggling a singing career in both the US and abroad.

So- let's talk about THAT!
Recently on nfcs a professor asked that some PROFESSIONALS (am I that now?!?!?!) fill in the blanks so that some of his students could do a project about what they THOUGHT a singer's life/pay/rehearsal day was like.

I answered for both the US and for Germany. In my experience. Of course, it's very different in both places, but what I find myself thinking about more and more, is the fact that I am here, and there is still a whole lotta 'crazy' going on in NYC.
And this is the life that I HAD. Just a few years ago. Living there, and making EVERY.Audition.REQUESTED of me. And nailing it, because there were just SO many auditions that how could you NOT nail it? Auditioning was my JOB. I owned it. Loved it, knew exactly how many minutes it would take to walk from my apartment to NOLA, IN my audition dress, but my fake UGG boots (with heels in my bag), what rep. I'd be singing, who else I would MOST likely see there that was my 'direct competition', what rep THEY would be singing, and how I would rock out my Zerbie/Blondchen/Marie/Cunegonde or whatever else they asked for.

I suppose there is an 'audition season' here in Europe, which is, mostly late fall, with some spring opportunities. But in general, theaters have house auditions. Every 2 weeks or so. IF you can get a SPOT in those auditions, it's kind of like a no pressure situation. They aren't looking for specific rep (like in the US, where you always know what you're singing for). They aren't looking for a specific singer, unless they immediately need to fill a fest position. It's just like - rolling up and saying 'watup, yo!, I can sing Koenigin, wanna hear my high F's?' and they're all like- 'sure, ok, that's cool.'.

And it's not some CRAZY thing where you see all 5 of the girls who sing the exact.same.rep as you do in the hall before the audition, and one after the other goes in to sing chacun le sait (only I add the high g's, thank you very MUCH!). And you don't feel the PRESSURE that those ADs in the room have to cast for next season and next season and hear 30 people per day for the 3 days they are in new york.

But on some level, I REALLY miss that pressure and insanity. Because it gets to be routine. And once it's routine, you're golden. Nothing can get you off of your game.
Bad weather? Early morning audition? Sinus? A little cold? NOPE- your throat is a MACHINE. You can do it no matter what!

And so, here is where I am now. With great connections and offers from houses in the US (about to get greater next year). STARTING to get the hang of what's going on here in Europe, although still needing to get myself out there to MORE German and French houses. Especially French, I HOPE, soon. Representing myself well everywhere, but still trying to find that 'in' for how you REALLY get noticed at a 'house audition' when you're not specifically auditioning for anything.
WANTING to continue to work on 2 continents (and more!), but knowing that IF I have gigs during "US audition season" ie, Oct.-Dec., that the likelihood of the US gigs continuing will be mostly based on previous work and previous houses inviting me back, not necessarily auditions. (Which is why I'm back this year at all three houses that I'll be singing with in 2011).
Also huffing and puffing at the doors of my 'local' houses in Dland- not sure how to get auditions there yet, but obviously having the "Koenigin card" which I'm happy to play IF they are also interested in Olympia, Zerbinetta, and any of my other repertoire.

And there you are. Yes, I'm busy. Yes, this is my career. And my ONLY career at that. Yes, I'm making enough money to support myself and contribute to my now '2 income household'. Yes, I want to be busier. A lot of the Europeans I meet here do a LOT of concerts. I have NEVER done a concert. I mean one with Lieder and a chamber orchestra. I've done Carminas and Messiahs and such...but maybe that would be something to look into for the future.
So now it's about balance, remaining competitive which is ALWAYS my nature (with myself, not others)..but of course, I have to get the audition date and THEN bring it. And perhaps looking into this whole concertizing thing. OOOH! A NEW PROJECT to explore!
Not like I don't already have WAY too many things to learn or google already.

Ok, that was long. It's past noon. I'm in bed. I have no more chocolate muesli. It may be a croissant breakfast kind of day. IF I get out of bed.
That jogging/running project? NIXED by crappy weather. I PROMISE I will try again in the spring or when I have a treadmill at my next hotel stay in the US.
For NOW- it's 40 minutes of yoga per day (from online videos for free) plus some situps and girly pushups.

30 September, 2010

'konzept'- or, whatever the French version of that is...

Ok, I can't keep it in any longer, and so I must blog.
I have sung this role before, people.
Yes, I have only sung it 4 TIMES before (4 productions, I mean...of course last year I sang this role for 9 performances, and still have a whole other production coming up in January), but I've still sung it. In a "konzept" version, in a stand and sing version, in a 'come up from a fiery mountain beneath the stage trap door' version, and in a 'normal, enter from wings, yell at pamina, exit from wings' version.

And my question is, simply... how many different ways can you freak a Koenigin out right before she has to sing DER HOELLE RACHE?!
The ONE aria in the show that EVERYONE knows? and the REASON that we get hired for the role? ie- the PERFECT F's!?
Really? You want me to enter on a revolving what? And go into what trap door halfway through the aria?
With dancers underneath me making noise with props that they have to use DURING the aria?
Oh- awesome, because I just thought that you wanted me to sing it without feeling like I have to throw up.
That would be nice.

OK, deeeeep cleaaaannnnssssing breaths.
Really, this will NOT be a problem for opening night (which is in 14 days). It will NOT.
But RIGHT NOW, I have to 'travel' onto the stage for the entire dialogue on a RAKED revolving prop that is NOT being pushed smoothly and mechanically, but by people- INSIDE, that have to get their mark right on stage, while INSIDE the prop. And when they DON"T get it onstage right, They futz with it. And push it. And each one of those little pushes, while I'm standing up on top of the dang thing, makes me wobble- in my FOUR INCH HEELS and knee-baring costume. I can't even take a 'man stance' to plant myself because I have to be all dainty-like with my legs on it.

Then, I have to say all of the dialogue while they prop 'finds it's mark' and adjusts, WHILE walking around on said rotating THING. THEN, since there are no BRAKES on said prop, every time I take a step forward, backward or sideways, it comes WITH me a bit.
YEP. And that's how I get to sing Der Hoelle Rache.

Oh, and then I have to go in a trap door in the middle of the aria. And then sing the rest of it from HALFWAY in the trap.

I'm not saying that the concept isn't good..actually, it's QUITE a good idea. But what has taken over this week is the need for a perfect 'picture' to emerge onstage with the props and dancers and acrobatics that the concept has in mind, and it is currently pitting itself against Mozart. And to that, I say- Mozart was a genius. Don't mess with him.

24 September, 2010

week one review

1 opera sing through on day 1 (3 hours)
1 rehearsal to stage act 1 aria (took 20 minutes, but I was called for 3 hours)
1 rehearsal to stage act 2 aria (took 25 minutes with dialogue- called for one hour)
1 rehearsal with maestro (1 hr)
1 costume fitting (was called at 11, didn't get fitted until 1:30, that took 20 minutes).

Jogging- about 40 minutes, but probably 15-20 of that was walking.
Yoga- 40 minutes
situps- did 50 each on three separate evenings
pushups 10

What do people DO in their free time?
Yes, I like reading. Too bad I have no English books with me here..but I WILL find an english bookstore and buy one. Even though I hate buying books. Because I read very quickly and then rarely re-read.

I MAY have actually been online from 10am today until 6pm.

With a break for breakfast and lunch.

LET me just tell you some of the things I did.

Read the ENTIRE new york times. Yes, every article. Actually, the FRONT PAGE changed three times while I was doing so.

Check email accounts, check fb account..but ok, that didn't take too long.

Found some kind of SWEEPSTAKES website where if you have a fake email that you don't check and don't mind getting tons of spam, tells you what you can win THIS week if you 'sign up' on outside websites. Did that for about 30 minutes. Hey, I'm not passing up a free ipad or 5000 dollar shopping spree. Likelihood that I'll actually win ANYTHING- odds are one in over 4 million for most of them. Awesome.

Read about a photo contest that I WOULD like to enter except that the photo I want to enter is on my external hard drive...at HOME.

Read camera reviews.
Read camera BAG reviews.

Read eco-BABY CRIB and eco-BABY STROLLER reviews (don't ask me how I got sucked into that one..it started out as a google search for all natural shampoo with no chemicals, dyes, etc., I promise).

WHAT is going on?
Yes, it's rainy and gray. I've seen from the OUTSIDE most of the facades that this old European city has to offer. It's not a touristy day for me, nor do I like being touristy by myself.

So. I need something to do.
IF I was at home, I'd have someone coming home right about now...someone who I would have spent at least an hour today figuring out what meal to cook for dinner, what we would do later on in the evening, etc.
So- there's another 2 hours of my day that would have been different. Oh yes, and shopping for said dinner.

Yes, I tidied up the studio. Yesterday I practiced entire future-modern-opera. There IS still a lot of work to be done on it, but I can only take it in little pieces until it's there.
I'm still waiting to hear about upcoming-french-opera's TRANSLATION edition, so it's kind of pointless to practice that in French, since when I sing it in English it will feel completely different in my mouth. Although I did listen to it in its entirety yesterday as well.

What else?

I am not about to start knitting!

21 September, 2010

back in the swing of things

Singing Koenigin again. New ideas, new production, new colleagues, new city...but what is NOT new, is that most of this opera, I have nada to do.
And do you think that I use my time wisely? work out? learn other music in the meantime?
Well, to give you a hint, today during my 2 hr. dinner break I was online.

But it was because I knew the call tonight was ambitious.
3 hours to stage everything INCLUDING queen's first aria? I THINK NOT! And I knew best since I just did this show!
Indeed, I did nothing but watch (and pay attention to my OTHER score for upcoming-modern-piece) until 9pm, staged my aria from 9-9:20 because they saw me there the whole time and I guess realized the timing error, and then went BACK to do the dialogue before the aria with the 3 ladies and papageno/tamino.

Fine for me, since I had other stuff to do.
TOmorrow- nothing but a costume fitting.
Thursday- no rehearsal until 4:30.
It's strange that this is my 'work', but I know the real measure of my time will be the reaction when we are onstage.
Until then, I AM trying to be active whether it's yoga or jogging or situps, and trying NOT to eat too much cheese, butter and baguettes (ooops).

19 September, 2010

first day of school

Tomorrow is the first day of rehearsal.
Kind of like the first day of school.
Have to think about the outfit, have to make sure I have all the music and text with me.
Need to know where I'm going.
Who will my new friends be.
Will the cast be nice
Will the director and conductor like me...

oh, back to school, back to school....

14 September, 2010


had a pretty important one today.
Sang Zerb and was asked for Oscar.
Both felt lovely as usual.
Have my backstage ipod recording of both that I briefly listened to upon arriving home, just to make sure that it sounded as good as it felt.
It did.
BUUUUUT...over the past year, after however many auditions I've done, however 'normal' feeling it seems to me ... not being nervous and all, offering mostly the same repertoire of about 5-10 pieces that I circulate and love, it STILL gets to me that the German panel is ice-cold.
Especially here in Dland. I mean..PERK UP or something! Why the poker face, dudes?
If you enjoy it, enjoy it...write down your little scribbly notes as fast as you can...ANYTHING? no acknowledgment that I'm up here workin' my tail off whatsoever.

And you know, this IS one thing I miss about US auditions. As much as it's a huge cattle call in New York, at least you're in a room where you are 20 feet away from the auditioner and can VISIBLY see whether they like you or not. IMMEDIATELY. If they're into it, I get more into it! If they are over it, I will try EVEN harder to do something that they like...to elicit SOME kind of response via body language or soooomething.

Of course, it doesn't always happen..but the fact that you are closer makes small talk easier, makes these body language moves easier to pick up on, and generally leaves me (after most of my US auditions) in a SUPER good mood, having KNOWN that I rocked it vocally and dramatically for that DAY- no matter what the casting results are.

But here--it's like stone-faced and far away. No movement. Nothing but thank you, and then moving on to the next singer.

And even though I have Proof! (ok, iphone recording backstage loud reverb and you can hear the other singer humming under his breath towards the end of my second piece)...it just all seems like a bummer when you have NO idea whether they liked you or not....even though you DO know that you did an awesome job singing.

So yea, I'm not worried about getting feedback saying- ooooh, she cracked, she was sharp, she was flat, she ..bla bla bla.. because I know that didn't happen.

But SOME feedback would be nice. And after the immovable faces and bodies of the panel today, no questions, just thank you...and the request to hear my shortest aria after beginning with the END of Zerb (ok, it DOES make sense because they're doing Ballo in a few years, but still...there were plenty of other choices, including Queen, that were short), makes me wonder-- were they total haters? and if so, then WHY?

And, will I find out? Or will this audition go down as yet another one of those black holes-- no further contact or comments?

Oh, questions, questions. To put it another way, I came offstage feeling that I sang really really well, and then that feeling deteriorated throughout the day as I analyzed THEIR non-reactions and THEIR choice of a second piece instead of any one of my other crazy high or crazy hard pieces.
Yes, I realize this is neurotic behavior. And that it shouldn't have 'ruined' the rest of my day (meaning, no musical work, I ate some ramen noodles to warm me up, sat in the dark on the couch, wrote some emails, and was basically a waste of space until 8pm tonight), and I AM going to get up right now, put my jogging clothes on and go OUT of the house, as I had intended to do around 2pm today.

But you know what? For not being a crazy singer, this little BIT of crazy today showed me how some other people spend each and every audition they do.
So, ok, I nitpicked one audition. In a year.
Now back to your regularly scheduled coloratura filled with confidence and the F-you mentality about auditions.

13 September, 2010

getting ready...

to kick some booty.

12 September, 2010

every year...

Every year, this time of year...I read wall posts and status updates from singer friends on facebook, I see the yaptracker announcements, and my stomach starts to turn.
Why? Because, as a professional artist since 2006 with my last RAP and YAP that year, yes, the same year I got my masters degree...I am supposed to be DONE with this game.
And then I see--
Friends who are WELL past my age (I'm talking 3-6 years here) auditioning as young artists!
And I start to think, wouldn't it be nice to crawl back into the cozy nest of being an apprentice somewhere for a year, being paid to have lessons and coachings and cover roles, ...and just...being PAID all year?
Of course, yes, what I'm making this year about adds up plus some more to what the salary would be from a BIG company that happens to have its finals this weekend which I HAPPENED to be invited to and turned down.

Turned down because I DID have work through 2011...when they begin the program.
But nonetheless, turned down...and now when I see what singers they ARE hearing...and see that we've done the same programs, that they are older, and I don't understand why they are singing for the program or why that program would invite a professional singer there...
I just don't get it...
and it puts me on edge.

On edge because of auditions coming up for MAINSTAGE stuff that I want to obviously rock, but with always the question lurking in the back of my mind--SHOULD I have flown back and done it? WOULD I have been able to move to this place for a year, be a young artist, and would it have somehow made my career BETTER, even though it would be taking a step BACKWARDS for a year? (Although, the association with this big house is worth a LOT)...

I just don't know. It's not for me to know, I suppose, because I am not there. I don't know if they have a girl 'my type' singing there today.. 2 others that I know approach my rep, but not as high, and a bit more lyric...

At any rate, I have to really try and stop thinking about it despite being SO SO curious if they take a 'me'- meaning, I would have had a chance, had I gone. Maybe. Bla.

I just practiced. It was awesome.
I won't start with the "if I can sing like THIS on THAT day" stuff, but really...
I felt really good about today, sang through all of the rep, had FUN and wasn't thinking about anything but just putting it all out there...
And that's when it works.
I have to get past all the 'crazy' around me...career wise and business wise, even though I KNOW all about it. Take it in, forget about it, and keep on doing what I know I do best.

10 September, 2010


Yes, I'm back on the wagon .... jogging.
I have written before how much I hate it. Dislike is not strong enough of a word for running when there is no bear chasing me, or when I'm not chasing down an ice cream cart (ok, ok, or the tram to the city).

But since I'm leaving town next week and I don't think there is any bikram yoga in the small city where I'll be, I decided to download the itunes app for couch to 5k...
Of course, I'm ALREADY cheating (well, not cheating, just getting ahead of myself), as you are only supposed to do it three times a week and I am trying to do it daily..
but maybe I'll just add more days of the same level instead of try to move up an intensity level every 3 days.
Sure, that seems like a good idea.

So the thing is- I actually think I jog BETTER when I'm not waiting every 60 to 90 seconds for the little bell to ring and a voice to tell me to switch from jogging to walking...
When I was jogging a BIT last month I could just go, and whenever I felt a cramp in my side (this is really the only thing that slows me down or stops me completely and it doesn't matter whether I eat, don't eat, drink, don't drink, stretch, dont stretch...it still happens every time. Right hand ribcage), I would slow down and walk for a bit.

And in this program I find myself more tired sometimes because I'm just wondering WHEN I get to WALK again!
But I am still giving it a chance.
Just hope the weather holds out for about another 5 weeks so that maybe just maybe at the very end of this all I can say that I've accomplished this task...and maybe just maybe join my husband on HIS jogs (right now he goes too fast and too far for me)...
and of course, bottom line is to remain fit.
After these THREE weddings and a week of cold temperatures, I'm up a kilo.
This is NOT bad at all, just 2.2 pounds..but it doesn't help that when it's cold I crave toast, butter...you know, warm things that probably increase the size of my caboose.

Practicing yesterday was short and sweet. Felt good at the end. Throat is all back to normal now after 2 days of being on the quiet side.
Will warm up tomorrow at 11am- around the time I'll be warming up when I have the REAL thing next week.

09 September, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

Home sweet home.
At least for the next 10 days.
After that, I'll be on the road again, but a bit closer to home than usual.
Next-gig is just ONE lil' EU country over! And being 3 hours away sounds GREAT to me, compared with an 8 hour international flight and 6 hour time zone away.

Haven't tried to practice yet because i've been TALKING and laughing and have such a ball for the past week that my voice still feels buuuustedly dry (oh yea, and the two airplanes in 5 days)...BUT today may just be the day.

It's rainy and gray and COLD and all I've been doing is writing thank you notes and tracking down every account I have ever opened to see how much red tape they will put me through to legally change my name on the account.

Time to sing.

I hope.

01 September, 2010

on the road again...

just can't WAIT to get on the road again!!

Beeecause...it's to my NEXT (and FINAL) wedding!
Leaving for the US tomorrow...will get a week back in 'civilization' (and, by definition, civilization includes listerine that does NOT cost 5 euros!)
I have a list of things that I will be bringing back, as well as that winter suitcase that I left packed in APRIL and now needs to return home to Deutschland with me.

Next gig starts in 19 days! WHAT?!
At least this time it's on the same continent and only 3 hrs away from my 'home'.

30 August, 2010

Answers for Alison...

A few questions asked, a few questions answered:
I never used to have them when I was younger (I'm talking high school here). It was only as I progressed and got to a certain 'level' that I started to realize, wow, THIS level may have something to do with my NEXT level. It was my first year as a resident artist (in a program connected with a grad school) that I realized, ONSTAGE, in the middle of the Act 1 duet, that woah-- I hope this goes well so that the next and next and next thing go well.
And My heart was beating so hard that what it sounded like to ME was that my voice was shaking too.
I felt like my larynx was going to shoot right out of my eyeballs, and everything became really thin and weird in my head.
What could I do? I was in the middle of singing, so I just kept going. What seemed like an eternity later, which was probably less than 2 minutes, my mind stopped wandering, I focused more on the character and less on the 'sound' that I was trying to hear...and then it went away.
But almost EVERY show since that show... I've been calm on the outside and nervous on the inside (inasmuch as I can't control how my heart beats before the show starts)...then as SOON as I get onstage, I am in character and there is nothing that can freak me out...and even if I start to have that 'freakout' feeling of raised larynx I push myself MORE deeply into the characterization (the "acting"), and then it's gone.
And sure enough, when I listen to that clip from grad school- you can't.even.tell that I was freaking out vocally.
So it's a mental thing. And yes, it feels like it's affecting you and that you can't sing one more note..and then, you just have to learn how to calm it down yourself.
It's something I still work on for every performance. Find the fun and the calm, and try to ignore that fast heartbeat and the 'oh man, this is really real' feeling.

On the days of shows I try to find a routine. Eat normal things and not some crazy spicy chicken sandwich (that's reserved for AFTER the show--1am from Wendy's...yummm). I go through my music (speed-through). I get to the theater early. I warm up a few hours before..all routine things to stay calm. I know my heart will start pumping faster right before the curtain and especially right before my entrance. But I try to think of 'good energy' and how I can use it for my character...and beyond that, just trust in the voice and the fact that I've done it before, I'll do it again, and as long as I love it...I'll keep at it.

Preparing for a piece.
Well, I'm doing this right now, and no, it doesn't mean I practice every day. I have gone LONG bouts without vocally practicing, but almost every day, I will do SOMETHING that is considered studying. Whether it's marking up a score with a highlighter, doing IPA, doing translations, going through the words to something I'm trying to memorize in my head or testing myself by writing them down on paper...it's a combination of vocal preparation as well as mental preparation.

Getting something into my body 'vocally' can happen at any time and for any reason...sometimes I study bits of the role every day (study, not sing..just play the melody and harmony)...sometimes I have to sing it over and over and over, and then it's there.
But by the time it's 'showtime', or, rather, first rehearsal time...it's always there. Sometimes "magically", meaning, I don't FEEL like I had to actually sit and memorize notes and words, and sometimes it was note-plunking and playing memorization games with myself on the airplane.

'Nothing to do' is very often misleading. The shows that I have to learn music for are not until March and April, but... if I do nothing now, I'll have a LOT to do later.
So I TRY to do a little each day. And when I can't take modern music anymore, I switch to going through my old audition arias. Or I listen to some things on youtube. Or I google what other roles I could be learning or singing or looking into...which always leads me on a 'rabbit hole' kind of online chase and ends up taking half of the day.

So yes, I have 'nothing' to do for a while since my next show is Magic Flute and I have already sung it (nothing 'new' to learn except some dialogue), BUT I do always try to think a bit ahead and somehow get some daily 'practice'-- vocal, mental, translating, listening..just being around the art.

Hope that helps!

29 August, 2010

more coachings

Had another really good coaching this morning. Got through act 1 of upcoming modern opera...which is easy note-wise, but not math-wise...so I had a 'conductor's' view of how the beats would be broken up- 4/4/3 (11/8) or in ONE, which is really written out as a FAST 6/8...ahhh...yes, it hurts my head but I'll eventually get it.

And then I sang through Doll and Queen. HIS opinion- start with queen. I'm not sold on it YET, even though it's easy as pie for me...it's still not everyone's cup of tea (vocal weight-wise)...the F's will be there each and every time, and so will the CLEAN runs, and so will the GRACE note before the cadenza that leads UP to the high F's (which, frankly, I have only heard dessay and damrau EVER sing,..but, ok..moving on)...I don't sound like a vengeance/death-eater Russian Lyric soprano with freakishly high extension that SOMETIMES hits F's and sometimes hits E's.. .

Will have to get a few other opinions in the meantime, but I will still try to continue my daily (except for weekends) warming up, practicing, AND music-learning on my schedule.

Next week: American wedding (#3)

25 August, 2010


As in, I have not been very successful at it this week...but I DID do my situps and pushups today.
I am going to yoga tomorrow night. Really.

23 August, 2010

two week countdown

Wedding #3 (to the same person, for the third time)- is in 2 weeks! That means I'm flying to the US in LESS than 2 weeks! That means LONG LONG LONG lists of THINGS that I want from EVERYWHERE need to be made, so that I can buy said things, instead of having them shipped here and THEN pay import taxes on them, or just buying the things here for twice as much as they really cost...I'm looking at YOU, listerine!

In other news, my fitness regime is on 'hold' for a week ... ahem....
And the only thing I really want to do is switch off between eating dark chocolate and salty pretzels for the entirety of the day...
Oh, and ice cream for dessert.


I am going to practice. Now. Ready for it? I'm pressing publish post. And then turning on the keyboard...and NOT checking my email accounts or fb or the nytimes.
for realz.

20 August, 2010


Coached the 'opera' act of Zerbie yesterday and it felt so so good.
When I practice this by myself with no piano accompaniment, or should I say my CRAPPY attempt at piano accompaniment WHILE singing really hard stuff, it's really hard to hear where the line is supposed to fit sometimes. But when you have all of the RIGHT notes around you, it turns into a piece of cake.
There is that ONE cadenza after the 'recitative duet section b/w Zerb and Harle that I still don't have in my ear perfectly. The B# is the LEADING tone (yea, sure I'll remember that in my head when I'm most likely STANDING on my head singing it).

Anyway, now I suppose it's onto the first act. Which is WAY more recit-y and talk-y, and oh, what? I say something on that page? thanks.

Also should PROBABLY look more at upcoming modern-thingamajig, and I will. Really.

I LIKE having work to do, and I LIKE doing work with other people- ie, coaches.
It makes making music so much more of a mutual growth process..rather than me sitting on my butt trying to figure out how to change from 3/4 to 11/9 every other measure.

Although, I do remember the summer before my yearlongRAP apprentice program when I learned all three of my upcoming roles (Oscar, Lakme, Olympia, oh yea, and Barbarina) entirely by myself all summer long (while sitting at the beach of course), with no coaching except AFTER I had already learned and memorized it completely.

So I know I can do it on my own, I just prefer to have the detailed input AS I'm still fresh in learning it, rather than after I have 'sung' something into my throat and head for an entire summer.

NOW that it's past noon again and I'm still in my pjs AND the sun seems to be shining, I will attempt an outdoor activity...possibly jogging. Haven't done that one in a LONG time.

Here...I...go... ?

19 August, 2010


Ok momentary craptastic practice session seems to be over as of yesterday.
Had a lovely hour of feeling good, free, and easy, just as life and song should be.
Today I have a coaching and I'm hoping that what I've learned so far will fill one hour of singing...
It's pretty much the large and in charge section of Zerbinetta 2nd act.

Also, I KIND of learned three out of the EIGHT sentences that I need to know for my next Koenigin dialogue.

ALSO, I DID NOT go to yoga at all this week, but I DID do situps and girly pushups for 3 days in a row, and ride my bike for about 40 min. LEISURELY...so, no REAL workout, but I'm still trying.

And shockingly, instead of bouncing around on the kg scale when I eat some bruschetta or other BREAD like substances, I'm staying the same and even going a bit down..which is encouraging.

Other music- I TRIED to look at the modern opera, really I did. Counting hurts.
And I know I have to do this one all on my own because no one here has coached it or been involved in a production of it to help me out before. It will be a really.really. long haul.

And audition arias- I sang through doll and chacun. It's possible. JUST possible.
But would I start doll from V.2 ? It's so LONG and repetitive. And drama-less.

Off I go to start my day (at noon).


17 August, 2010


well HELLO there, craptastic practice session. We have not met for SUCH a long time. Guess what? I really really dislike you.
All I wanted to do was have an easy warm up and maybe sing through the "opera" act of Ariadne.
But no, you decided for some reason that my voice wasn't going to ever feel warmed up, so even after I moved on to the Strauss I could feel that things weren't free. Yes, they were coming out of my mouth, and yes, they were on pitch. But I couldn't DO anything with them, and it did not feel lovely and easy and free.

I still attempted to sing through the big sections, but now...my throat is tired, I'm tired, and added to that it's been gray rainy and COLD out! Where did the summer and the sunshine go?

Please come back, summer, and maybe when you return you can bring back that NICE practice feeling again--hopefully tomorrow.


15 August, 2010

my maybe schedule

2.5 weeks until I leave the country for more celebrations in the US.

In the meantime, I need to do the following things as often as possible.

Tues/Thurs 10-11:30 Bikram (which really means 9:15 to 12:15 with the bike ride to and from included.

All days- new regime of situps and pushups...and by NEW I mean, what I was doing in April/May daily until coming back home and only doing bikram and biking.

Generally- biking my 45 minute route.

That was body work.

Now music work:

--Dialogue for new Zauberfloete. I know this shouldn't take too long, but I have to start memorizing and practicing again, since the version I'm currently doing is super-cut and changed from the next production I'll be singing.

--Warm up and audition aria review. Get super comfortable with rep that is always on my list but that hasn't been asked for in a WHILE. Still thinking about starting with French these days...we shall see.

--Relearn an opera in English. Sang it in French already. Must re-wire the brain, learn the words and dialogue in English. Ouch.

--NEW crazy opera. This is the one I really have to sit down and study. It's not going to just pop into my head. Count, write in the counts, memorize the counting...and the rhythm that changes every other measure.
Words seem to come easier..I just need to know when to come in and how long to hold each note! Ha.

--FUTURE- spend some QT with 'Zerb and the gang'...first, order the VOCAL score (which, I have SOMEWHERE in the US but my mother can't seem to find to mail it to me), then the normal- mark the part (actually in this case PARTS since it's a role and a cover), and let the games begin.

In truth, I have MORE than ample time to prepare everything..but since my next 2 jobs are Koenigins, I have let a taaaad bit of time go by without really prepping as seriously as I would if I was leaving for an engagements in less than a month.

Now all I have to do is actually stick to some of the above instead of look at wedding pictures!

14 August, 2010


Happily hitched, back in FF, taking the weekend to take a vacation from my vacation, and then I promise I'll really start working on all those things that I'm supposed to start working on.

04 August, 2010

don't judge

Ok, so I got a manicure today. I had NO idea how to tell them not to use those cuticle cutter thingies in German so I just pointed and said bitte nicht mit das ding hier.
and I MAY have paid 5 euros for eyebrow tweezing. Yes, me, the girl who is the anti-girly girl and does everything herself.
I shouldn't AND don't care about this stuff on a regular basis...but somehow this 'you only get married once' thing..well, in my case 3 times..HA..is starting to sink in!

So- I spent twenty Euros and now I'm hoping that I don't do anything silly to mess up my nails before Sunday. I give myself about ... 12 hours before I mess it up somehow.

E.nough about weddings and getting pretty and packing for one week of fun with family on the beach with a wedding ceremony thrown in for good measure.

What I SHOULD be focusing on in the next weeks is actually-
GERMAN AUDITIONS fall season take 2!

Last year I arrived at the very end of August, and had 2 auditions the first week of September, and got an offer from the 2nd audition.

This year I have work from mid-September to the end of October, and I know that will prevent me from doing some auditions...BUT I'm really hoping to get on the ball and sing for as many European houses as possible.

I think I'll stick with what works but I really want to find the right 'starter'.
Fille isn't done here that much, and I don't think a high G in a piece that Germans don't like or know that well is as impressive as something they are more familiar with.
HOWEVER, Zerbie is long (as usual), and Koenigin is up in the air what with fach preferences an all.
DurchZ shows a bit more 'maid-like' secondadonna tendencies, so I'm not sure about that anymore either..
Doll? Perhaps start with the 2nd verse and then let THEM decide.

Ciao for about a week and a half-- when I get back from the motherland, the wedding, and the beach.

01 August, 2010

one week

In ONE week and a few hours I'll be in makeup.
But not for a show...for my own wedding.
Yes, it's already legally been signed sealed and delivered, but there is going to be something ridiculously amazing about spending a week with our families, celebrating at sunset on the shores of the sea, and once again smiling and looking into the eyes of the person that I am so lucky to get to spend the rest of my life with.
Yes, there are last minute things, as there always are...
Programs, little favors, what to wear for the OTHER days I'll be there and be attending celebratory dinners and the like, music still has to be made into a playlist (oh yea, that's how I roll), SHOES, bathing suits, did we pack everything?
But as long as we both arrive safely and our families do as well, I'll be on cloud 9.
So, 8/8- the countdown begins.

29 July, 2010


We had guests for 4 days here this week! And they have a 5 month old baby! Wheeee! It was super-fun...
and of course I didn't practice, learn anything, study anything, go to yoga (well, I did ONCE), and what I DID do was play with a cutie patootie baby, who seriously did NOT cry--she complained a LITTLE when she was tired, hungry, or sick of being in the position that she was currently in (couldn't sit up alone yet)..
and then we made her laugh and she forgot all about those things. No tears, no screams, just laughing and smiling.
WOW. Here's hopin'- riiiiight?
And now it's back to reality.
Next week I'm getting married (Again! but to the same guy:) )
And then YET again in September...(to the same guy...again..promise).
And the planning- or should I say, non-planning is going smashingly.
Nothing more I could ask for but a super simple low key but classically beautiful affair, 3 times, with family, and then with family and friends...
in which the only thing I feel a tiny tiny bit worried about is whether it will rain on the outdoor affairs...and since I can't control that- I can't worry!


25 July, 2010

what was i THINKING?

This morning we woke up at 8:30...well, 8:55...because we had to get on our bikes at 9am to meet a neighbor to do a RFT- rahdfahrtour!
They happen every week with racing bike clubs around the country.
No, I do not have a racing bike. No, I do not have one of those gel-butt riding shorts that make sitting on the saddle comfortable after an hour, and NO I didn't even bring my helmet because I THOUGHT we would be riding through the backwoods of Deutschland.
We arrived, signed in, and were off-- on a 42km ride!
It WAS actually fun, but since the ride was geared toward racers, it took place MOSTLY on highways and main streets where riders could zoom by my leisurely pace.

After my one hour nap in the middle of the afternoon I decided to take it EVEN further by RIDING MY BIKE to bikram yoga, sweating it out for 90 minutes, then riding back home through town.

ahhh! I am quite certain there will be some pain SOMEWHERE new tomorrow.

21 July, 2010

and on the OTHER hand...

Yes, I can fall into the Alice in Wonderland messed up semi-reality of dreams, fears and hopes, and then I can actually get a piece of concrete work- a contract for next year- mailed to me.

How much do I LOVE signing things in quadruplicate...each time reading over and over about something FUN and FUTURE that I actually have...going into my ical and marking the dates that I'll be 'away'- but that AWAY with really be in the same city as two of my besties from abroad!

Suddenly all of those 'what ifs' about career-life here disappear...if just long enough for me to blog about it.

20 July, 2010

the vortex

or the rabbit hole, or the black hole, or whatever it is that sucks me into the internet google machine..has done it again.
A friend of mine who is a lawyer in nyc and works crazy ridiculous hours, is on call at all times, and barely gets to see her husband said to me today- wow, your job is hard!

Hard psychologically and emotionally, that is.
When we are onstage doing what we do best, it's the easiest thing in the world.
But every other second, we have something to prove.
And not to ourselves. We KNOW how good we can be-- IF given the chance.

And how do we get that chance?
Well first we have to be 'good enough' to go to that 'good school', get that 'good teacher' interested in us, get into our first summer program, impress THOSE directors and coaches and conductors. Get into the next summer program. Rinse and repeat. Get into a year long apprentice program. Rinse repeat.
Basically- meet as MANY people as possible and make as MUCH of a good impression on them (artistically AND personally) as possible-- so that one day, one day far far away from today, they will remember you when you say- oh, and I just relocated to so-and-so place, and am looking to base myself here-- do you happen to have any contacts that I should be in touch with?

Oh, and assuming you get an agent along the way, make sure that you are 'good' enough and 'get hired' enough to keep THEM interested in working for you as well.
One part of my 'rabbit hole' today was visiting some websites of other agents and actually seeing how many of their singers were working..and I mean, REALLY working- not one carmina burana and one christmas concert.

And it's CRAZY- I mean, one soprano that I thought- oh, I hope I'm like HER in two years (a few years back now)-- is barely singing at all, and hasn't been for a WHILE now...and she was singing regularly at nyco and the like!
And on the other hand, some fresh hand-picked young artists from very important programs are getting to travel the WORLD with world-famous conductor/directors who are literally handing them a career on a golden plate.
They seem to have proved themselves early to the RIGHT person (the casting for the young artist program) and luckily, it has taken them far.

So, psychologically- it CAN get a bit crazy.
Not in a 'why is SHE getting work here and here and I'm not"-- but actually FIGURING it out-- drives me crazy.
It's like- WHAT? How is THIS person singing THIS role HERE next year? And then some digging reveals--OH- she sang in THIS tiny production where the assistant director THEN is now the CONDUCTOR here...and so voila.
Of COURSE the singer is talented, etc...
But you still can't help but connect the dots.
And that is happening more and more.

Yes, this world is small...for this career even smaller. You can't afford to have a 'bad night', or be a bad colleague. You always have to be ON...but- these days it seems harder to even get the OPPORTUNITY to be ON-- because things are happening by mutual agreement and previous contacts...
Of course, yes..you have to audition-- at SOME point, for the job that you will have...(probably).
But- not always at the moment that the house invites you to an audition.

Knowing that I'm 30 minutes away from 4-5 major opera houses where I have yet to even have a general audition sometimes really gets to me. Of COURSE they have their own coloraturas already, of course they have their favorites, and their standbys...
But- they're all doing Flutes and Hoffmanns and Abductions and.. and...
if they just KNEW that I existed????
Maybe? One day?
Someone would be sick and their 'standby' would be in another show and WHO WOULD THEY CALL if they KNEW I was alive and sitting on my butt here in FF?
Maybe me!!!

This message has been brought to you by the letter I for impatient.

19 July, 2010

middle 'o summer audition

I suppose if I were still at a young artist program, summer auditions would be regularly scheduled- with all the passers-through including agents and GDs of other opera houses that come to see their artists and the operas for the summer season.
But here in Deutschland, most theaters have already begun their "ferien"...vaycays....
And so not much is going on in terms of auditions these days...except for today :)

After my very short and easy ICE train ride 1 hour away, I got to the opera house, warmed up, thought I'd be last and have to waste a lot of time, but turns out other people were late so I got to go earlier.

Sang Zerbie from so war through the end and it went really really well. Sadly, the panel didn't have time to hear a second piece because by the time I was finished there WERE people waiting to sing.

This was a weird audition because it was kind of for a fest position, but kind of for general consideration for future stuff, and ALSO weirder because the people at the opera house had already heard me (well, half of them) and hired me to sing Queen...

I still came in feeling like I didn't have anyone in my court...but it wasn't like I felt I had something to "prove" either. After all, they already know I can hit the F's and that Queen is the most requested piece for a coloratura here...so I just had fun with the Zerbinetta.
The pianist was PRETTY good- I mean not like NYC coach perfect (oh how I truly truly truly miss those talented few)...but he followed and we played a little, and my iphone recording from offstage turned out quite well! Well, at least to hear what I did...not to put it up on youtube or anything!! Too many background noises and calling the next singer to the stage, etc.

So- it went well. And the thing is..they all mostly go well. Unless I'm super sick.
I've said it before and I suppose I'll say it again...if I'm not sick, the voice is always there...it's not like I'm scared of cracking on any note (the F's, G's and yes Aflats when I so deem to add them in are there), not scared of the accompanist messing up EXCEPT on zerbinetta (only sing it now if i can practice with them), not generally scared of any word mess ups or other flubs...
and in general always just feeling fun, comfortable, free, and...me.
That's about it.
I can't be anybody else. Not their voice, not their persona...just lil' ole' me with my lil' ole' F's ... and then the waiting game begins.

12 July, 2010

it's gettin' hot in heeeerrrre


Really. We have had no previous need for fan or AC, but now it's just unbearable here.
Having to take 3 cold showers a day, falling asleep sweating and waking up sweating is SO NOT COOL.

This weather is gross even in the shade, and the really bad thing about it is not the actual number, but the HUMIDITY!

Yesterday I had a crazy thing happen- Die Zauberfloete #whatever-it-is-by-now got cancelled halfway through the show!!! Due to extreme temperatures onstage and in the pit (and sadly for the audience too)...I suppose that's what you get when performing opera in a gigantor tent that is supposed to be the standby until the opera house is renovated...

Anyway, it was almost 100degrees onstage...everyone was instructed to wear 'as little' of their costumes as possible...so no giant fur overcoat for my first aria...
6 orchestra members had to leave at the first break because they were so hot, tamino almost passed out onstage..and the whole time I'm thinking- dudes, it's JUST as hot in Chautauqua and we had to sing SUOR ANGELICA in NUN costumes with ice packs down our backs!!

And of course, the announcement was not made to us...we just 'found out' right as my offstage through-the-audience entrance for Der Hoelle Rache was ABOUT to happen! Seriously--I had the knife and was about to go all "Zurueck" on everyone.

Then a nice lady drenched in sweat came up on stag and said some stuff in German, and suddenly we were bowing, they were clapping, we were getting our wigs and makeup off, putting on our still-drenched clothes that we showed up to the performance with, and getting BACK on a train in time to catch the 2nd half of the final World Cup game.

Crazy Times.

07 July, 2010

aaaand I'm back

This past 5 days I traveled to the MotherCountry to make sure everything is in order for wedding#2 out of 3: The religious ceremony.
Not that it will be so religious, but we do want something traditional. And after we FINALLY picked the space sight unseen (although, it's on the beach...how unseen can that really be?)...we figured it would PROBABLY be best if they actually knew who we were, what we wanted, picked out napkin colors, etc... (light blue, btw.)

So now that we have confirmed everything and it feels great. It ALSO felt great to be back in the MotherLand...wow- the way I feel there ..just no comparison to anything else.
And I wish SO much that I could start living there immediately. But I don't think that's in the cards just yet. Maybe one day I'll get to wake up to the sounds of the waves of the Mediterranean crashing outside my window. For now, it's just the German fussball fans and their vuvuzelas in anticipation of tonight's game.

28 June, 2010


no, not like the do-re-mi ones..
I mean the ones with kilograms on them....
I have never been a person that owned one, but we happen to have one now...
and so I'm just curious...
what's the difference after a whole day of food
what's the difference in the morning
what's the difference IF I EAT BREAD OR NOT!!
And this seems to make the BIGGEST difference.
OK, going to bikram, yes, I'll be 1/2 a kilo lighter the next day, at LEAST.
But- eating bread-- and I'm definitely 1 kilo more the next day.

In the middle of this weekend when I had bikram thursday, bike ride friday, jogging saturday... I was down to the lowest of low weights for me in a while.
And then I had to go and ruin it all by making guacamole and since we didn't have chips we just had it with a white bread baguette....the horrrrorrrrr!
So- 5 pieces of that later, plus a piece of quarkaese tortchen (that's amazingly good cheesecake cheesiness), and I'm up a kilo.

ALL I'm trying to do is stay under a CERTAIN number so that the wedding dress looks good.
I'm still UNDER that number, but it would be nice to be SAFELY under it :)

24 June, 2010


My head hurts from counting.
Love the new opera, it SOUNDS so--well, not easy, but CLEAR.
And then I look at the score..and it's like 2/2,3/4,3/2, 17million sixteenth notes over 2.
Time to get out the pencil and start with the "one ee and uh's".

21 June, 2010

out of the blue

I got a call this morning from the ZAV- that's the 'employment'..well, I guess UNemployment state agency for artists in Deutschland. You see, once you register with them when you are here, they have your resume and supposedly call you if there are any openings anywhere that THEY hear about before actual agents start calling.
Some tiny town theater in the north of Germany was looking for an Adele, a Gretel and an Eliza Doolittle (auf Deutsch).
Fest for this season.
In my AWESOME German (**read: I was freaking out in my head hoping to remember to use SIE instead of DU) I replied that Gretel was not truly repertoire/fach and although the other roles would fit, Gretel would not, so thank you very much.

I mean, in a tiny house of COURSE I could sing Gretel, but in addition to that, I already have plenty of work for this coming season, so a fest would be impossible.

It was COOL that I finally (after HOW long? Oh yea, a YEAR) got a call from one of the state agencies about something. Wait, that's not true. They sent me on one other audition in the fall...

Well, it was a nice and surprising call to say the least since I had assumed this season for auditions was pretty much over...I suppose there is always someone that doesn't know their budget at the last minute or what singer has to leave or wants to leave at the last minute.

We had a lovely weekend away at a Strawberry and Champagne (Sekt) festival and a gallery opening yesterday followed by a new restaurant that a friend owns...and now, it's back to the routine.

16 June, 2010


I have a coaching today with someone new at the opera whom I'm looking forward to working with.
He just conducted Ariadne auf Naxos in the US a few months ago, so I am hoping to get really specific with that...since it is... in my future at a company I'm not allowed to name at a time yet to be revealed, but I'm at least allowed to say TBA and it will be one of the biggest, if not the most 'high level' US house I will have sung at by that time.

What am I doing until then?
Well, it's 11:30 and I slept like a ROCK last night due to an extreme amount of sportive activities yesterday.
First- 25 minute bike ride TO bikram.
Then 1.5 hours of bikram.
Then 25 minute bike ride BACK home.
And in the evening:
25 minute ride TO swimming pool
20 minutes of laps (yes, I know this seems so little, but I've never been a swimmer before and I'm trying to start...so in the meantime, not hyperventilating after 20 minutes is a GOOD thing)
and then 25 minute bike ride home.

I woke up this morning feeling, good, but kind of headach-y which I think is because I didn't drink enough water after all of the activities. That shall pass, I shall have some BEE POPS cereal (otherwise knows as puffed wheat with honey in the US), and warm up a little before the coaching later this afternoon.

Maybe I'll even go on a bikeride.

I was GOING to be adventurous and try bikram 3 days in a row instead of my normal day off routine..buuuut, I think it's not going to happen today.

Back to the music, though---
I've been listening to the new opera that I am learning for next Spring, and I really like it. The story is always the same. Upon first introduction to 'new'/contemporary/modern music...I can appreciate it for what it is, but I can't quite get to the point of realizing the genius until I break it down, look at the relationships inside, listen to a section over and over until- OH YEA- THAT is what he was going for....well in the middle of that entire wall of sound, rhythm, and other general 'craziness to the ear'- I GET it now.

And I really like that. It's kind of like score study, only I'm not even studying my part OR writing the chord structure under some Beethoven sonata in theory class---I'm just... trying to 'get' it. Get what he did and why he did it.
The relationships of Western music to the ear are already ingrained in me. Some eastern (well, Middle Eastern) music as well. I understand it, it's familiar to me... but with new compositions, it always takes a little more time to figure out- theoretically and aurally- what he wanted, what I'm supposed to be hearing, and how it will all come together in the opera and in my role.

14 June, 2010


It's been three to four days straight of soccer, ...ooops, I mean Fussball.
Yes, we bought a tv specifically for the occasion.
No, we didn't have one before, yes, I will probably watch the news in German now and see if I can actually understand everything.

That would be sweet.

Ok, today I have massive workout goals... since yesterday we had an American style BBQ to watch the Germany footie game.

And here is the clash of cultures once again.

If I do say so myself, I make a mean guacamole.
It's not THAT tough, I know..but still- people at parties and bbq's usually go through a quite LARGE bowl of it before the food is even ready to be put on the grill.

So we bought 6 avocados, 3 bags of chips- expecting 10 people to easily tear through the stuff.

They don't snack here!
I mean, if you have some GERMAN snacks they'll eat it (LIKE- TZATIKI sauce and BAGUETTE!!! WHAT?!?!?!), but they barely touched the guac AND the tortilla chips and THEN some of them put it on the burgers!
Umm, it's not KETCHUP! It's guacamole!

Ok, the burger thing was acceptable, but still, I was shocked at the amount that we had leftover, and the 2.5 bags of uneaten chips.

ALSO- there is this sauce here called "hamburger sauce". Don't ask me what it is. It looks a little orange. I did not try it. But I am guessing it is a combination of mayo and something..which would render it... GROSS...for my tastes.

Well, we had it last night, along with AMERICAN YELLOW MUSTARD and ketchup..
and again... what was opened and used?
"Hamburger Soese"....
what is THAT about people?

So our American style bbq really turned into a cultural awakening and me sitting here with a bowl of guac hoping not to gain a kilo by "having" to finish it.

I'll be seeing you after the run, the bikeride, the bikram class, AND the swim later this evening.


10 June, 2010


Bikram was easier today than day one-- that's a good thing. Body was sore and not as flexible today BECAUSE of day one..not so good.
I love the weather here and the fact that since I've been back I haven't taken public transportation at all. I can just ride my bike wherever I'm going.

My allergies feel a BIT better...I just stopped taking everything and hoped that my body would get used to it, and it feels like it has just a bit.

Practicing? Oh..haven't done that yet. But hey I've only been back..oh shoot, a week now.

Ok, tomorrow I'll practice. For Serious.

I just got asked to sing yet ANOTHER Koenigin (now they're extending the run into the fall?)
Whatever they're deciding to do, I have no idea, but as long as it still fits into my schedule (which it does- just three days after my LAST Koenigin performance at upcoming-new-place-I-haven't-sung-before---) which is all good.

From one to the next. It's pretty much going to be a summer fall and early winter of Queen. And that's just peachy keen.

08 June, 2010


One bikram class down, a bunch more to go for the next three months.
Rode my bike there and back, which makes my total exercise for the day somewhere around 1.5 hours for bikram and 1 hour for biking...NICE.
And at least so far (it's only 10pm here there is still time) I haven't eaten the entire fridge to make up for all of that working out.

I memorized (kinda?) One version of one of the arias that I need to learn.
Here's the kicker- one of them is Mein Herr Marquis. You would think that every soprano would know this from the age of 20 on! But no- I've never been asked to sing it (well, in GERMAN that is...English, yes)...
So- I have to memorize it now.

If I keep up the 1/2 a verse or so per day, I will have the pieces memorized hopefully by the end of the week, which gives me 2 more weeks after that to give them all more character, etc... and that should be fine. Musically they aren't too difficult to sing or to remember, so as I'm memorizing I'm working that out as well.

What's crappy here is that allergies have descended upon me once again.
First day back, felt fine. Second day back- that tickle in my throat and then the coughing for no reason.
Now- stuffed up.
Of course the first thing the Apotheke tried to sell me was COUGH DROPS made from PLANTS.
People, I know you don't believe in 'real' medicine made out of CHEMICALS here, but it sure would have helped to have BENADRYL for those two days.
Anyway, I have 200 pills of mucinex, but because I wasn't stuffy and congested and had only a dry cough, that wasn't the way to go this time.
Finally I convinced some guy that it wasn't just a sore throat and that I was a singer and needed something to DEAL with it, so he gave me the OTC version of Zyrtec- methinks.
At least that's what he said it was.

So far, it's not doing much of anything. I may start the mucinex if my cough gets nasty...otherwise, I'm not stopping my outdoor activities just because of a little tree pollen or hay fever or grass allergy or whatever it is..
And anyway I don't have to sing "for real" until the end of the month...by which time hopefully my body will be fully adjusted to whatever allergens come my way here in Deutschland.

06 June, 2010

the swing of things

Well I haven't quite finished unpacking yet, but it's Sunday evening which means a 'normal' work week commences tomorrow.
And what do I have to do?
A whole bunch of NOT THAT MUCH!

What ever to do with my upcoming time off? Which is.. a LONG time off?
I have a show in the middle of the summer (another Queen performance), I have three arias that I NEED to learn by the end of this month for a competition.
I have a new opera to learn- but oh yea, that's for April of 2011!

And so, what will I do with my time?
First of all, get right back into Bikram.
Buy a three month pass which means I HAVE to do it.
Second- maybe just maybe try and see if there is a German class that I can take.

It'so so close now! I really DO understand much of what is being said to me, under any circumstances...any subject matter...I still just don't really feel comfortable enough to speak back...assuming that most of my chatter will be with incorrect articles or tenses or something of the sort.

When we go out to meet friends or go to parties and other gatherings, I can handle myself just fine. Yes, it's a lot of nodding and smiling (although- I UNDERSTAND! I'm just not quick enough to speak up in the moment yet)..but it's not like I feel like I have to tune out completely because I don't understand anything. Not the case anymore at all.

So- that may be something that I could work on for the next three months.

Career things are looking good. I feel good about the amount of singing I'm going to be doing from the fall until next Spring. What I'm still a bit frustrated about is the inability to get auditions for houses that are HERE, close-by, that for all intents and purposes should know that I at least 'exist'... I mean, hey, I may not be an international superstar (YET), but at this point I've sung many of the major roles in my repertoire, have a bit of momentum in terms of the debuts I'm making in the next half a year, am 'local', and would really just like to know what is going on...

Language barrier? Email vs. Mail vs. Phone preference? German? American? WHY is this not happening? SOPRANO?
And of course, this is an issue that I absolutely cannot work for on my own behalf. It HAS to be through agents...

So far no responses.
If I knew that there was something I could do to be more marketable, I'd be ON it.
Different repertoire? Vocal things? Appearance? I'm there.
But just to NOT be answered when requesting an audition, especially with rep like Koenigin which EVERY.Theater.Does.Every.Season-- is a little surprising and disheartening.
Again, not saying I'm the cat's meow for everyone out there... but if you want F's, you got'em. If you want someone local that can jump in, HOLLA. If you could JUST give it a chance...yea, that would be nice.

04 June, 2010

3 suitcases and nothing to wear

yes, I just brought home 3 suitcases filled with clothes...still scrounging through them this morning looking for something, anything to wear.

What does this mean and why?
It means...that I have too many summer summer clothes (ie, clothes for the Motherland- when it's always 90 degrees or hotter), and I have no 'it's mild in Europe' summer clothes.

03 June, 2010


I'm baaaack!
That is all for now :)