31 March, 2010

the downturn finally also hits home

Yesterday I found out that upcoming-show2, which was supposed to be sung in 2009 but postponed due to budgetary reasons, which was then changed to a 'concert' performance, is now, officially, cancelled.

First off, yes that is a major bummer.
The role is SUPER fun, I was excited to sing it again, and it was something that I was really looking forward to in terms of location, weather, family, and friends that would get to see the show- and singing with a new company.

But second off, and to look at the bigger picture, the economy is still suffering and the arts are especially in trouble.
If the MET has to rely on anonymous donations of 30 million dollars to help boost their budget and future plans, how can a small regional company with loyal audiences but not nearly the budget of this other big company even compete?

My first reaction was of course disappointment.
My second reaction was- what's next.
What can I substitute in the three to four weeks that will take the place of this previous schedule...and can it be musical?

There are one or two festivals that I had been in touch with previously..small European things in the woods, you know, on some mountain top resort...that were doing Die Zauberfloete for the summer. Maybe add a few performances of Koenigin from current-production- which has already been notified that I will be away until the end of June.

I actually remember my audition for this show quite well.
The place: NOLA
The scene: a crowded mess of singers - but at least the weather was ok that day.
The circumstances- everyone that walked in the door was singing the same french aria, FROM the show. So- how to make mine different?
Why- add a high G into the first cadenza, of course! Which I did...which made the director look up and smile...which made the rest of my day.
I remember walking out of there knowing that I did something different and good. With no expectations other than that. I just was happy with the performance, and had fun--since it was my 'starter' aria anyway that year, and I was really enjoying myself at the audition.

Now, this entry is not to complain at all. After all, one of my colleagues had about FOUR to FIVE shows cancelled on her in the past 2 years that I know of-- and she just made her Met debut. So.
Patience, good thoughts, and hopefully something positive will come from all of this eventually.

29 March, 2010

the whole she-bang

On Thursday I 'sang sang' (yes, this is a word in my vocabulary) through it all. All of Lucia. Opened cuts. Finales with chorus, everything that I will have to sing in approximately 2 months. It felt- GOOD. Actually, really good. What I DID notice was that after that whole thing, you know, trying to be dramatic and all with my singing, even though I was practicing in front of a mirror in my living room and checking my pitch every once in a while with my electric piano, I was vocally- in my speaking voice, not able to speak in the low range without some kind of vocal fry-esque kind of sounds coming out. Singing, I could have kept going and sung all of the rest of my audition repertoire if I wanted to.
Weird, right?
What I THINK that means is that singing Lucia for three hours and then attempting to have dinner conversation might not be the best of ideas.
When I have to do this in 2 months, I have a Saturday/Sunday combination for the performances.
It's not scary or horrible..it's just something I have to really really think about.
Saving up my actual speaking voice on Saturday (sorry family who is flying in to visit me)..., singing the crap out of it Saturday night, shutting UP immediately, and waking up the next day for the Sunday matinee.

Eventually, before I leave in a few weeks, I want to be practicing this every day. To make sure my voice is used to singing the whole thing one day after the other. Something like- sing it all Monday, sing it all Wednesday, and then Thursday.
Then relax until Sunday or something with some slight warm-ups in between.

Hopefully that will happen.
I also now have 20 days to eat a bit healthier and see if I can shed a kilo or two before the dreaded second to last wedding dress fitting. Wow, has chocolate gotten the better of me here this time around. Oh yea, and croissants and pain au chocolats in France. D'OH!

Ok, ok, well it's passover anyway, so that at least means I can't eat bread for a week! Maybe that will do the trick alone!

Back to waiting for my Matzoh balls to cook.

24 March, 2010

so much to post, so little time

That means- full internet access and my mac.
Time to start the postage.

So- my audition in London/One and a half day on-the-town excursion:
Arrived in London Wed. night, took forever to take the Tube(s) to my lovely host's home.
Now THIS is cool- one of the couples that is a sponsor of the opera, also sponsor singers in town when there are auditions...so, voila- no hotel to pay for, PLUS they had a grand piano to warm up with PLUS they had tea with milk waiting for me when I arrived at 10:30pm.
Thursday- Walk around London and see EVERYTHING. I mean, we even went to Parliament and saw the House of Lords AND Commons in full swing from the spectator ie, nosebleed seats.
Audition- early in the morning (10:30) for Koenigin, but I was feeling good in the a.m., and brought everything I had.
So the panel got it all- the F's, the low, the middle, the high, the dramatic, and..whatever else.

BACK to Germany, where I had Koenigin number..9 I think... Saturday night- which ALSO went great, since I had just 'warmed up' with it the day before.

Sunday- fly to Nice in the afternoon, check in to my hotel, wander around town in the evening (also get accosted by a not-so-fun guy that kept following me and trying to speak Italian, French, and English to me when CLEARLY I was not interested, ignoring him, and trying to find a place to have dinner)...Sooo--that actually wasn't so fun.
PS- if you want to buy real estate by the sea- NICE! Every other building has at least a studio, 2 or 3 bedroom for sale. Is the economy REALLY that bad that people are selling their vacation homes because they can't RENT them out either?

Monday- audition in Monte Carlo. Sang Queen and Fire. Immediate feedback was that I have great french (to which I replied, IN french that I studied the language for 6 years--BONUS!).

Spent the day in Monte Carlo (where a small bowl of pasta costs 18 Euros. Ouch).
Back to Nice and to my hotel in the evening.
Tuesday morning- my flight back was at 2, but it was a BEAUTIFUL sunny day, so I spent the morning having tea and a croissant by the water, and then dipped my toes in the mediterranean and sat on the rock-beach for about an hour for the FIRST time in the SUN since...well last summer/fall--beautiful, warm, and I didn't want to leave.

Then, due to a FRENCH TRANSIT STRIKE, I couldn't take the 4 Euro bus to the airport. So I had to take a 30 Euro taxi there.

Had plenty of time at the airport to browse the duty free, and in the end, the plane was half-empty on the way back so I got to sprawl in my own three seater row for the hour long flight.

It's unbelievable how many destinations one can reach in SUCH a short time across Europe.
Ok, even with fast trains- I can get to berlin in 4-5 hours...but I was in another COUNTRY...and that only took an hour.

It was really fun.

The feedback? So far- I've heard about the Queen- they're going in a different direction--which always makes me laugh-- umm, someone that DOESN"T hit all the high F's?
No, in reality I know that I do NOT sound like a dramatic soprano when I sing this piece. I sound steel-y and evil, but not like some Russian full lyric WITH magical high F's..
So if they're going in another direction, I'm guessing it's a more dramatic voice.

So I'll wait on the second audition and see.

Either way, London was definitely worth the mini-vacation (especially since my flight and stay was paid for by the company), and we shall see about my visit to Southern France and how that turns out (sadly, for this one the expenses did add up, but--it's SOUTHERN FRANCE!!).

20 March, 2010

planes, trains, and not so many automobiles

I'm back for ONE night between London audition and Southern France audition.
Sang a Koenigin tonight that went really well. It COULD be my last one of the season- unless they add more shows- like they did for these past few months.
So, if it's the last one, I went out with a bang. If not, I still have the opportunity to rock it once again..maybe in a few months.

I am a bit physically tired from the planes and trains and connections and passport control (the UK almost didn't let me in), but not at all vocally. I know that when I come back home on Tuesday I'll feel exhausted, but right now I am full of energy, and excited for the next audition.
And the next and next one--in April.
And of course upcoming-opera--which I still have to review and memorize some standard cuts that we are opening.

Otherwise, feeling generally busy, generally good, and generally happy.

17 March, 2010

I see London, I see France..

Tonight I'm flying to London.
Friday morning audition.
Saturday I have a Queen performance in Heidelberg.
Sunday I leave for Southern France for an audition on Monday.
Return home Tuesday at 4pm.

Seems crazy, but besides the travel taking up between 2-3 days, it's actually not SO busy.
I mean, it's just 2 auditions and a show.
That happen to be in three different countries.

Let the fun begin.

15 March, 2010

Koenigin number...7 maybe?

Sunday not-really-matinee performance of Flute yesterday. It started just one hour earlier than the evening shows, so it didn't FEEL like a matinee although...it sure was Sunday and I sure did want to sleep in!
I stayed under the blankets for as long as possible and then made the mad dash to the tram, the train station, the train, and the theater. Which I'm called to Extremely early because I am the first hair and makeup call- 1:40 before the show.
So I have SO SO much time to warm up, sit around, eat a sandwich for dinner...
and really, after I warm up for about 30 minutes...there's not much to do but sit around and wait for the show.

I realized last night just HOW unproductive I am during a show. And this happens to me in almost every show I"m in. NOT during rehearsals or during the day of course. But once I'm at the theater, I cannot concentrate on ANYTHING else but the show.
Not even a magazine. Not sudoku. Not other music in my ipod. Not another score.
MAYBE one or two text messages.
But everyone around me seemed to have things to do--whether it was write in their schedules for next week, look at some other music they needed to learn, read a magazine, or do a book of sudoku.
Me- nothing. Sit there. Listen to the music. Think about my upcoming music.

Even if I had another score there I don't think I'd be able to do much.
What I CAN do is translate and highlight. But actually learning other things during an opera? I guess not.

And Koenigin is the WORST in terms of roles like this!!
Get dressed, show opens, sing 15 minutes into the show. Wait, Wait, ActI done, WAIT, intermission, OK second aria...WAIT WAIT WAIT -quintet/die.

I mean, just THINK of the possibilities if I COULD do things! Study the language? Memorize other piece? Get my audition binder back in shape?
But no, that is- so far- not for me.
Maybe when I have 6 new roles to learn, 2 bit parts, and 4 roles to keep in repertory like the 2nd lady who is a Fest Mezzo and just found out her assignments for next year and this summer--maybe then I'll be doing a bit more than highlighting in the Garderobe.

But for now- Nix.

11 March, 2010

things to think about

I'm happy, healthy (although could stand to get a bit more buff before next-opera and upcoming-wedding!), and in love.

Yes, there are little things every day that I could think about. Little details of things that could make me 'want it' more--meaning, the career. Make me more proactive. Make me PRACTICE more perhaps. Make me google more, email more, and just do more, more, more, to try and get somewhere.

But WHERE is that somewhere?
For the count, the number of operas I am singing in between January 2010 and December 2010 is 4. The number of operas I am singing in just in the first 4 months of 2011: 3. And that ain't half bad.
The number of companies that I am actively waiting to hear from regarding possible jobs in the future- at least 3.
There are no financial worries (except how to pay for above-mentioned wedding(s)- and no, I'm not getting married to more than one person, just getting married MORE than once ....somewhere between 3 and 4 times in the next months at the moment).

I get to travel. I get to see my family. I get to spend time with friends.
And that ain't half bad.

Should I be wishing and wanting to sing at 'a certain place' at 'a certain time'?
Should I just take life as it comes?

I know I've written a LOT about this recently. Maybe it's because I have free time here. Maybe it's because all of this free time as a singer, that can't necessarily be dedicated to practicing all the time and always doing opera-opera-opera all the time--gives me a chance to go in two very different directions- the 'freak out opera career mode' and the 'totally thankful for what i have and let the good times roll mode'.
I know there is somewhere in the middle, and that's where I usually end up.

So- today I'm on the thankful side of the spectrum. At least--before 2pm.
After my bike ride and practice session I may be in full career-emailing-google-ninja mode.

10 March, 2010


Just a list:
Coaching this Friday, Koenigin this Sunday, LONDON next Wednesday through Friday (audition Friday), and generally feeling fine...although wishing that I would hear from some agents about auditions on this side of the pond for the 'next-next' season.

In the meantime, hanging out here in the freezing cold and wishing that it FELT a little more like spring than it LOOKS like (it's sunny and beautiful outside, but zero degrees).

06 March, 2010

QOTN#7 or so....

Last night I had a performance of Zauberfloete- after about 3 months off!
Oh, German repertory rotation system, how I love thee.
I was not nervous about the singing at all...BUT I had to make sure that I went over the text to the dialogue AND scenes in my head before each entrance!
I mean, three months off and something is bound to trip you up.
We also had a new conductor last night (an asst. conductor), but even with the heightened 'newness' of it all, the show was really great.
There was about one and a half seconds where the blinding lights mixed with new conducting pattern threw me off--during the first aria. But I quickly made up for being a milisecond behind for that 1.5 seconds by nailing the rest of it, and delivering what I think was one of my best Der Hoelle Rache's yet.
So I'm happy with the performance- added bonus- Intendant was there, and he remembered the nice note I wrote to him at the end of 2009 to thank him for the opportunity to sing there, and also, our director is up for some kind of award for this K.razy 'konzept' staging, so some reporters were there to take little video clips and see what it was all about.

Weekend of relaxation ahead.

03 March, 2010


Notes from coachings 2 and 3:
Get away from the rhythm that is marked. Especially in the recits.
Give the conductor the clear upbeat, but other than that- say the WORDS not the rhythm.
Use the coperto (covered) 'oh' to start the phrases that sit in the upper passagio, then bloom on them.
Make the regnava scary and not pretty- vocally.
Feel the tension of the chromatic slides in between verse A/B.

Yesterday working with a new coach, I got that 'yea, i can totally DO this' feeling--which, hadn't really gotten very much. Everyone is so quick to say- Oh, Lucia, yea- lyric voice but has to have the great high note extension. Oh yea, full lyric. Yes, warm sound, etc.
But yesterday there was NO mention of the 'other' voices that "should" be singing this role.
It was - yes, beautiful. Yes, nicely shaped. Yes, yes, yes.

It's not that I need to hear only positive things. But when you swim in a sea of 'lucias are lyrics' and feel like you have to 'justify' the fact that you CAN sing this stuff, it's refreshing to hear someone that has zero problem with me and my voice singing it.