31 July, 2011


For the super-contemporary-sounding-and-composed opera that I have upcoming, I broke down and bought a recording made in 2003. I think it's actually the only one that has been made. I usually NEVER buy recordings until I'm finished learning and memorizing a role-- then just to see how other people did it stylistically, etc. But this time, when I received the score about a month ago, I knew I would have to listen to it to 'see' how it sounded.
The way the score is composed, it's pretty much impossible for me to play anything in the orchestra, just my vocal line (since there are, oh, about 20 notes being played at the same time EVERY BEAT), and the WAY the score is composed is also modern (ie, sometimes there are not 5 lines to the staff...awesome).

The good news- the notes that I thought I would previously have to pull out of thin air- DO have a mild support beneath them, and most likely won't be that hard to figure out in the 'sound-wave' of that particular beat.
The not-so-good-news- the actual entrances (beat-wise) are totally random and I can't (yet) hear a pickup or a 'cue' per se).
All of a sudden- OH, that sounds like a super high soprano, oooops, aaaaand there was the entrance. (2 measures ago).

I don't think I'll be listening to it much before doing a full score breakdown, notes, beats, how many PAGES I have to learn(!), but at least I'm a bit reassured that (hopefully) my brain won't hurt toooo much from learning it all.

28 July, 2011

distractions abound...

Mostly in the form of my Kindle, which I bought back in April and have used on and off on long train, plane, and car rides, as well as sitting in sunny parks under a tree reading 'the classics'.

Umm, even though I had no internet for the past 3 days I managed to get about zero memorizing work done- due to my Kindle.
What?! Lord Jim is really good! And I'm 73% of the way through!

It's 5pm now. I WILL practice tomorrow afternoon.
And tonight, I WILL memorize one more piece from upcoming German thingie.

Good news is, everything that is already memorized-- is there! Forever! (Well, at least until the show closes). I can walk around saying it without taking a look at the paper, and it is RIGHT and I have no blips or skipped words or 'little' words that I am prone to messing up or exchanging with another 'little' word.

24 July, 2011

the week ahead...

Things to repeat mentally: Just because the weather feels like it's November, I can't go outside and do any physical activity except yoga videos indoors, and I have been wearing the same sweatshirt from my University days for the past week, is NOT an excuse not to practice.

I am doing PRETTY well, but definitely not putting in as much effort as I could these past few dreary days.
This week I'm spending some time in Munich, and maybe the change of scene (ie, not inside my apartment in my pj's or workout clothes all day) will help me learn things. Like for example, German dialogue. And other important things that I need to have learned by September 5th. And other things I need to have learned by October.


19 July, 2011

No Peeking

Today's practice session started with a nap. It was 3:30pm and I suddenly got super tired (probably from ExOrSize-ing for an hour and then not drinking enough water/fruit juice combo after it), so I decided to take a 30 minute nap until 4 - the end of 'quiet hours'.
That turned into getting up groggy at 5pm.
BUT I warmed up for about 10 minutes, and then sang through ALL of Zerb.
And tried to test myself to see how much is memorized 'for real' and not 'for fake'.

I had to peek three times in the first act for some short little recit lines, plus a good chunk of that first aria/duet still needs to feel more comfortable before I can do it without the score.
Three times in the 2nd act for short recit-y things.

That's not bad at all. I can work on the sections I peeked at most likely by typing them out and carrying them around with me for the next few months.

I'm doing the same for upcoming-German-Opera and am making SOME progress, (ie, first 3 numbers learned/memorized....5 more to go).

Have I mentioned I don't like the memorizing part of all of this?
Off to walk around the block with my typed out recit in hand.

14 July, 2011

grey day

Yesterday's practice session was very productive.
Nice warm up, easing into going through all the music for upcoming-German-opera1, followed by singing through the entire role of Zerb from beginning to end.
And I felt great during and after.

Today I tried again- same time, some different music (again, upcoming-opera1 and then Najade). It is cold and grey outside. Yes, it's the middle of July. And it's COLD. I'm currently wearing a sweatshirt, and have been all day. When I walked outside for all of 10 minutes today, I wore that sweatshirt plus a layered rain jacket and I was STILL chilly.

Does the weather affect how well I can breathe? How motivated I am to keep practicing?
As I look out my kitchen window (where I was singing this afternoon), I just kinda don't FEEL like it. My energy lags and I just feel like sitting down, or taking a nap.
I know I'm not tired. It's just that I haven't seen the sun all day long.

Can it please feel a little bit less like October in foggy Londontown and a little bit more like a nice warm summer in the French Riviera?

Maybe then I can be a bit more productive vocally.
I did spend more time today going over dialogue and watching the dvd of the piece that I have to learn in a 'hurry'...so at least I did something.

13 July, 2011

chipping away

Forgive me, interwebs, for I have sinned- it's been 7 days since my last blog post.

Things have been PREEEETTTY busy around here...in a totally good way that YOU don't get to know about (yet!). Muahahahhaha.

I decided to do that upcoming role after all, so I will be mostly spending the next month and a half cramming the German from three upcoming operas into my head.

So far today I've typed out the words to the musical numbers that I have to learn from upcoming-opera-with-a-lot-of-dialogue.

It's 3 pages single spaced. That's just for music. And does not include repeats, since I write x2 in the .Word document whenever that happens.


Also, yesterday I typed out Zerb Act I words. Up until the aria/duet. That takes up one page single spaced, and I'm happy to say that with a LITTLE prompting/cheating sometimes, I can pretty much get through it all.

In about 7 minutes when it's no longer 'quiet hours' here (4pm), I will start singing and see if any of that typing has gotten magically into my head.

07 July, 2011

SIS summer

Ok, I think I've been on a 'break' since the competition and many auditions this past month for long enough.
Time to get back to SIS- self-imposed-study.
Well, this time it's not so self-imposed as much as necessary for learning my upcoming roles.

So far I've gone out walking a few times with an opera playing in the background of my headphones (really not as much fun as my 80s and early 90s playlist), I've spent a few afternoons either just going through words and looking at the score, or, tonight, actually trying to write the words down from memory.

So far I think I'm doing pretty well and am in that horrid 'memorization' phase where it's not really useful for me to sing with the score open anymore, because I SHOULD be testing my memory, but it's just so TEMPTING to sing with the score open, because it feels good.

Zerb Act I - memorized all of the little recitative lines. Need to memorize the aria/duet still.
Zerb Act II - Memorized all of the 'singing' parts- quinetet/aria/quintet, but NOT the little recitative lines while Ariadne is complaining (much fewer, so this is ok).

Najade section one- memorized probably/kinda
Najade section two- worked on tonight and mostly memorized but could use some more practice since when I sing interjections in a trio it's tougher to test my memory.
Najade pretty section x3- There is a ONE sentence word change in the 2nd time around, and once I remember to do that, all will be well.

NOW, to OTHER upcoming things--
I received the score to crazy-modern-opera 2012, and as expected, it's crazy in a not-cool way.
Like, not as fun as the Tempest, and definitely not as FUN as modern-opera-from-April which I THOUGHT was going to be SO HARD to learn and in the end, I did spend a LOT of time on, but by the time it got to performances it felt like a piece of cake.

Will this happen every time I have a modern piece to learn? I will hate it, and the grueling painstaking hours that it takes me to dissect and understand the POINT of the freaking composition (yea, it's COOL to only use three lines of the staff instead of 5...and just write some squiggly lines and symbols with no words and no rests marked...and have to learn how to sing that over ACCOMPANIED, MEASURED orchestra). Thanks.

And in addition, I received one more score in the mail for a maybe-project that would actually be happening BEFORE both of these next things.
It's not HARD musically, but it's a pastiche of a composer's work strung together into a short opera, and it has A LOT of German dialogue. Let me repeat... a LOT. Like, probably more 'words' in my dialogue than 'words' that I have to sing.

And what's more, because it's coming up so soon they sent me a dvd of the production and guess what? Ze Germans, as always, have totally AD LIBBED the dialogue in the majority of the show. Which means I can't follow the score, and which means I don't really know what to learn, because if I say a line that is correct and they jump around or skip something, I'm done. My German is good, but not THAT good that I can improvise WITHIN an opera with specific dialogue.

So I still have to decide about this one. I WANT to say yes, because that is who I am.
I say yes to all the jobs that fit in my schedule. They are new opportunities with houses that I have not sung before, or they are opportunities to come back to an opera house, do them a last minute favor, and hope that they remember my name when the BETTER roles come along.

I'm pretty sure you'll find me tomorrow...trying to learn that dialogue.

02 July, 2011

winning versus #winning

Remember that time I didn't get past the 2nd level of that major international competition?
The news I got yesterday regarding two maybe THREE possible jobs (one totally confirmed--AWESOME role in 2012 that I've always said I wanted to do "eurotrash style while doing gymnastics and singing on my head", which actually may come true!) is just SO, SO, SO much better. One confirmed, one waiting for confirmation within two weeks, one other offer and an email OUT of the blue from an Austrian agent who heard me FOUR years ago about another job that I'm being submitted for.

Uh- yea, I call that #WINNING.

Not that I was going to have SO much free time in '11-'12, but this is filling out rather nicely.