29 April, 2006

more concert musings

First I will say that everything was fine. Not the best, not the worst, just fine for what it was.
I have been having issues with the suspended D's in the Stetit. The Dulcissime is the easiest part. It's either because it's the first note of whatever passagio I may have developed along with the "new technique", or because of amazing allergies for the past three days, or because the stage was so dry that as soon as I walked out I felt like I was choking on dust.
Or it was because I didn't spend enough time day in and day out putting this into my voice. Rather, I relied on the fact that there were all notes in my repertoire, that are not very difficult, a learnable melody that is familiar, and that I wouldn't have to worry at all about doing something wrong. And I didn't do anything wrong, I just don't feel like it was my "best". I was prepared, but if I had been anything like Natalie Dessay who apparently will sing the same run for an hour until it's absolutely in her body, voice, soul, memory, I would have tried to prepare this more so that there was NO chance for those D's to fall a bit under at the ends of the phrases.

So the conclusion was, I am pleased...with it. Other people are more than pleased (but that's primarily because they are impressed with the Dulcissime).


27 April, 2006


Yes, the eve approaches when out of my allergetic and dried out vocal chords that lovely tune will (hopefully) bloom.
I haven't performed in many concerts as a soloist- it's been more operatic over the years, and I must say it's very different for me.
There was recently a thread on the forum about concert singing and how it's different than opera.

I think it may just be different for different people. I personally find it challenging to get into a "soloist" character unless it's a very character like piece..for example...umm...something in an oratorio where you are an angel or a child. Even in Carmina it's a young girl, giving herself, her body, her spirit, her heart away...but for 3 measures? That's SO little time! I guess in opera it's more drawn out. Yes, you need to be able to act and react on a dime, but you also usually have B sections, thematic material, repeated words in caballeta's, cadenzas and other musical innovations of opera to support you in your character's journey.

In this it seems like it's all about the voice, and the pretty face and dress.
I don't want to attract attention, I just want to be part of this wall of sound, the orchestra, the chorus, the boys choir, that is contributing to the work. Hmmm...more thought is needed. Maybe I'll have something more to say after the dress rehearsal.


25 April, 2006

personal life

Any advice for members of the long distance club?
This is not about frustration in any physical way, but frustration in a sense that I know I want to spend my life with a person who at this point lives over 5 hours away from me by car, next year (because of my career move) will live over 5 hour flight away from me, next next year may live in a different country then me (because of his career move), and on and on. His location is not viable for my career. My locations are not viable for his career. When can meet in a decently large city that is 2 hours away from where he currently works, but there is still no sight of an end to the long long long distance. Marriage? Yes, we say we want it. Will it happen when it's "convenient"? And when will that be? And even AFTER that, what city could we POSSIBLY live in if neither of us is able to work in the other person's city?
It's not about giving something up. I would absolutely move there and see if I could "commute" the 6 hours to NY, or the 2 hours to Boston, but how feasible is that? I'd be away JUST as much for gigs, lessons, auditions! I may as well move to NYC and see him on weekends or whenever else possible.
Frustration at it's peak.

We love each other, but we are just beginning the careers that we want to have for the rest of our lives. There is no fighting about it, because it's not an issue. We do not ask nor will ask the other to ever give up anything having to do with career. We are both too strong and smart and supportive and happy about the life/career that the other person has chosen to ask them to give it up.

This is the crappiest "rock and hard place"/ Scyllia and Charbdis (Greek mythology anyone?!).
Because it's a non-discussion. We can say I miss you every night. And I wish I were there. And When will we be together. And I love you. And I can't wait until we are married. And we will be so happy together.
And I don't see a year that that can happen. Well, at least I see the next two as years that it can't happen in because of actual location.
I usually don't complain about these things because it's just a given, but tonight it was particularly hard.



comment spam?

Really now. I look SO much forward to checking whether anyone in the existence of this e-world wants to comment on my insignificant postings. And then I see the comment on my previous entry. A robot computer program has managed to find me and let me know that my post, which was not at all about new clothes (actually, it would have made sense in the one about clothes), should inspire me to go to some website and buy things.
I'm glad the trolls of the internet found this and will be commenting based on key words and html.

I should REALLY get out of bed a learn my song for vocal lit. class (which starts in exactly 59 minutes). Strauss, you know you're my guy, but in Standchen I really could have used a break with your irregular rhythms and that last verse in quasi-minor.


19 April, 2006

new music and learning it

My new favorite piece to sing and play with my favorite person in my life: La Maja y el ruisenor from Goyescas by Granados. GORGEOUS. Now, I like Spanish and Mid-Eastern flavored music in general, but in this piece the text, scene and music really all work so beautifully together that it's moving to hear and sing.

It was so beautiful out today that I walked six miles along a trail near my apartment. It felt pretty good! Maybe if the weather keeps up I'll start making it more of a habit, and even bring my ipod along next time to listen to all the music which I still have not learned.

Oh, speaking of that...
The music learning process
Things I've experienced before- studying a score front to back, back to front, inside out, language coached separately, notes learned on Ah... and only THEN do I really know every turn it takes. I can see the page in my head, the translation I wrote underneath it, any musical notes in pencil, etc. Everything is there right under the surface of my eyes.

OR I've looked at the score three or four times, and without even trying, it clicks and it's memorized.
Now, this version scares me, but in a way, I've learned it in my subconscious.
Does that mean it will stay there and I'll be able to bring it into my consciousness when I have to actually sing it?
Do I still have to go through the memorizing, writing each line out over and over on pieces of scrap paper? Humming in my head? Having the scores next to my bed so that at 1am when I'm trying to go through the part in my head and can't remember whether there is a rest or not in a certain spot I can check it?

All of my summer music so far is being learned through option number two. That's not to say that I'm not spending time on it. I just don't find myself consciously memorizing or trying to memorize. The music is all "learned". I just need to be off-book, and right now, I can sing a whole bunch in my head all correctly! But I haven't been "tested", or tested myself in a coaching to see if I can actually do it.

And in terms of big role for next year- well that I spent time on because the score was so hard to read, rests all over the place with two languages worth of notes. So I didn't really pay attention to the words as much as singing the right notes and rhythms--and now suddenly the words are in my head too!

I hope this easy way keeps working for me, but I'll back it up just to make sure.


17 April, 2006


It's that time again-- I'm about to break out all my spring/summer clothes, and then I realize I've had the same favorite pair of whatever it is for over 2 years. And every end of summer I say, next year I'll give this away. And here we are again and I want to keep them.
Well, I went outlet shopping this past week and found a few things so I know that I can replace.
But speaking of clothes in general...what has happened with sizing in the past 5 years?
I swear, even my SHOE size has gotten smaller.
I fit into a J Crew dress size 2 with NO problem--and I know that just ain't true.
Ok, dresses maybe a 4 with some zipper issues. Pants- sure- between a 4 and a 6 if I'm at Gap or Express.... usually I just get a Junior size 7 from some trashy Penny's or Kaufmann's.

So this isn't any real news, since people have been talking about the sizing at Old Navy and the like for a long time, but for the first time, I bought an 84 dollar dress that I loved (NOT only due to the fact that I wear it in a size 2--I also love it and want to hold it and put it next to me on my pillow when I sleep).

So much for outlet shopping and then wanting the ONLY thing that's not on sale there.


12 April, 2006

ha. ha.

In a timely addendum to the story below, today I received a letter from the PRESIDENT of the university notifying me of my selection for a huge award from the music department.


10 April, 2006


I know that no one knows that I write this or knows who I am or gives a hoot about what happens in my daily life, but still I'm not going to reveal ALL details. I'll just describe some absolutely inexcusable behavior that I was the unfortunate recipient of this afternoon.

In order to graduate with a certain degree from a certain school this May, I have to take a certain comp test. The director of the program has been NOT here for the whole year. He is never in the building, teaches privately and at another big university an hour away, and spends every weekend in a certain city, living a certain lifestyle, which, if the school found out about as easily as I and my friends found out about through a very quick online search to a very 'interesting' dating website- pics included- someone would be disciplined. I am not judging him or anything he chooses to do in his free time, but when it impedes his position of authority, that crosses the line.

Today the graduates-to-be received an email from said director explaining that our comp test would be in exactly one month and two days (last year, they were notified by the professor 3 months in advance of this date). Fine. I'm not going to kill myself studying anyway. EXCEPT that just last night after hours on the phone, orbitz.com, and other ticket travel websites, I decided that the certain day that this exam would be given would be the day that I travel to a Certain State where I will be a Certain Resident Artist next year. This specific weekend is the only weekend that I can go scout out apartments, AND see the last opera production of the season in Certain State, before I begin a Certain Summer Program.

So I VERY politely wrote director an email asking if
a. I could take the test when I returned
b. I could take the test early
c. I could find ANOTHER proctor/professor to give me the exam at a different time.
d. I was VERY sorry to have caused this, but on the short notice combined with these plans, bla bla bla, I'm sorry. Thanks, me.

Ten minutes later I get this:

No, absolutely not. I have no intention of giving the exam at a different time to accommodate a conflict in your, or anyone elses, schedule.

It is not reasonable for me to have to make this sort of accommodation. Sorry, but that's my final word.

(Notice that he does not even address me by name).
Now, this from a person who I've spoken RARELY do, never made any trouble for, who even WROTE me a recommendation stating that I was the best artist in my current program, and hoping that I fully get the funding I am requesting for this and that...

AND THE KICKER- he CC'ed MY original email and this response to my OPERA DIRECTORS! Who have NOTHING to do with this program (except that they are on faculty), and who I would not have involved anyway, nor would I have gone to them to complain because they of all people have the LEAST say in whether I get to take this exam on another day?

Bordering on the ridiculous? Yes, I'd say so.
So I feel--well, hurt, surprised, betrayed, mad, and any other list of variable adjectives that could be put toward describing how I reacted when I received his curt reply and saw the CC's.

Now even if I DO change my plans and stay here on the day of the exam, I'm not taking it based on my own reaction to this situation. If they don't want to give a degree to someone who they have invested THOUSANDS of dollars in over the past two years, because of one administrator who is clearly in the wrong in this situation, so be it. I have somewhere to be next year anyway.

Now, I would have accepted an email that said, Unfortunately I can't reschedule. Sorry.
Or- G, I cannot reschedule the exam just because of one conflict.
Or- G, if you find another proctor you can take the exam on a different date.

I don't know- am I overreacting? Should I not pursue this?
My director who got the email saw me tonight and was like "WHAT was that about?" Why did he send me that? etc. etc. Totally not understanding what he was trying to do or why he needed that information.
He thinks I should take the emails, print them out, and go above the director's head to try and be able to take the test on another day.
I'm not looking for an apology. I'm already too disgusted with this behavior. I just don't want to take the exam on that day no matter what.



Ok, I don't even KNOW what most of these superhero(ines) do, because I was not in this country during my childhood to see them on tv, but for what it's worth:

Your results:
You are Supergirl

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
Lean, muscular and feminine.
Honest and a defender of the innocent.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

09 April, 2006

things I did instead of what I listed below

Ok, I did try to decipher the HANDWRITTEN notations and counts of one of my recits for the summer which seems to not exist in Barenreiter or Schirmer but is magically in the show. Some measures have 5 beats, some measures have three, some measures don't have bar lines, and most of all, the English doesn't make sense a lot of the time and is not written under any specific beat. Still, I get what they're trying to do- so I'm making the best of it right now.

Next, I listened to the chorus of the last show that I have to memorize. It will be wordy, but it's easy.

Next, I had coffee with a friend, next I came back here and saw this funny video posting on le forum:


(It gets funnier when the people start singing the themesong along the way about halfway through)

Then I checked all of my email accounts, le forum and nytimes, and now I'm back here, contemplating whether to renew my recit. studies, go over the Wolf song (oh yea, I went over that for about 20 minutes too!), or start something else for the summer, or buy all of the plan tickets to all of the fun and exciting places that I'm going in the next two months.

Oh yea, my cousin had a baby girl this morning! CUUUUTE :)
They aren't sure of the name yet- it's between two and I have my favorite..but I won't say it, in case they pick the other one!


things I should do instead of writing this entry

1. Go to a chiropractor- but it's sunday so I'll have to wait. Even after a night spent on the rug in my living room this does NOT feel good.
2. Look at rep. for class on Tuesday and learn "Elfenlied".
3. Start learning my things for the summer for "serious" now that I finally have the most updated version of all scores and languages that will be used for Nozze.
4. Learn the carmina solo for the concert.
5. Stop being a lazy fool and learn and memorize all of the music that I need to memorize for the summer.

It's not like I have anything ELSE to do today....the only thing I can do is sit in this chair in mild pain or lie on my back in somewhat less mild pain and LISTEN and LEARN the music that I'm supposed to know by mid-June.
Two months.
About two hundred pages.

I can doooo eeeeet!

07 April, 2006

le forum

Oooh, so many people in the position of authority are commenting on the forum today. I like hearing what people that are actually in charge have to say, rather than reading the conjecture of some who are making it, some who hope to make it someday, and some who think they are making it but are really just full of rumors and hot air.

06 April, 2006

evil elf

There is currently a small evil elf sitting on my left hand shoulder saying: YO- there is a bunch of awesome food in your fridge. It's borderline healthy, but who cares? You should pig out on it anyway. You feel hungry, dontcha?
I swear, if night didn't exist, I would be like the thinnest person ever. After I eat dinner it's like I'm a somalian refugee and the US has just dropped a crate of food from the heavens. I ransack everything even though I'm not hungry at all- it just tastes goood! And looks pretty! Yummmm.


04 April, 2006

we were on a break!

I understand. Things come up, rehearsals, life changes, Spring and warm weather beckon you to go outside...but the bloggy world is just not the same without constant updates and trials and tribulations of people's lives that I like to peek into.
So come back!

I am not on a break right now, so I'll share about literature:
Haroun and the Sea or Stories by Rushdie. I will read this to my children as if it is a fairy tale, and one day when they grow up they'll understand the overriding allegory to the freedom of speech, the power of language, and the beauty of words.

A History of God by Karen Armstrong. I only picked this up at B&N because it was on the cheapie special rack, but it's actually quite interesting. She does pretty good research and presents in a historical way the foundations of religious beliefs, the stories of how it was that people of a certain area started worshiping a certain god, and what that god meant in their religion- tangible, attainable, or not.

And one more note about all of the posts about competitions and the age you have to be, and the age that people are winning, and all of the past A house experience that they have supposedly had.
People have runs of good luck with competitions. There are names that pop up every year for a number of years, they win the cold hard cash, and they have either already worked really hard to do it just like everyone out there, have gotten the chance to be in a famous young artist program, have been hand-picked by the Met or Chicago or wherever to sing some lead role, and yea, could be already famous with gigs lined up until 2010. Is that going to dissuade me from sending in my application and a fee of thirty five dollars?
Because I have my 5 lined up too, and I have hopefully just as much of a chance of winning as any of these other people.
If it's not this year, then at least the people heard me and may remember my name for next year.

So stop complaining about :
a. only the young kids getting it
b. only the old kids getting it
c. only people that have already sung with Lindemann, Chicago Lyric and Houston Grand getting it
d. only the people that have performances scheduled at A houses for the next 5 years getting it
e. only Wagnerian 25 year olds and 19 year old basso profundos getting it
f. the companies taking everyone's money and then just picking finalists that are already famous
g. anything else that has to do with you being bitter that YOU didn't get it.

Because in the end--who cares? It's money. There are OTHER ways of getting it too.
It's nice to have, and easy if you win a big competition to know you're a bit better off now, but if you don't get it, it's just like any other audition, and there aren't page long threads about how so and so got into whatever YAP and they have too much experience...
Or is that to come once everyone starts yapping about that?


02 April, 2006


Well there was another rags to riches story played out at the Met this weekend in "Fidelio", when Mattila was sick and a new singer (who was scheduled to debut with the Met 12 days later) stepped in to sing the role of Leonore.
I was there and the energy in the air was really tangible. Everyone wanted her to do well. Everyone wanted everything to go smoothly. She got a huge ovation and brava's after the first quartet, her arias and of course at the end of the show.
It was really nice to see that everyone really was rooting for her, and wasn't upset about the "star" of the show cancelling due to illness.
It's getting huge NYtimes coverage and it's the general arts buzz right now.
I say- great.
It's not like she's a 25 year old wunderkind, but if she's paid her dues, has the voice, has the look and obviously has the talent, then she deserves it all.