31 January, 2007

Gross! (machtige Prinzessin) Part deux

For three weeks I've been told that certain-upcoming-performance will include ONLY certain-commedia-dell'arte-scene, and certain-really-long-aria. NOT the ending duet/sextet which is about 35 more pages of music (the first four following the aria being the most excruciating Strauss I've had to look at in a long time).
Not anymore! Yep, we're doing all of it. When? One month from today. Off book? YEP. Stagings/table readings begin in 2 weeks.
So in the middle of this still-horrid cold, my schedule tomorrow (which has been almost EMPTY for weeeeeeks) is: 1 hour scene coaching. 1 hour scene coaching (another coach). 1 hour Lakme coaching.

Oh. My.

Umm, and will I know the scene by my scene coaching tomorrow?
Well, that is what the next 6 hours are good for!

Me today at the piano for thirty minutes on 6 bars of music:

One ee and uh, twooooo...and uh (tri- pe- let) (rest) AND.

Plus German.
Plus what KEY are you in Strauss? Come ON now! Stop writing accidentals in the piano part and not the vocal part!!!

Of course what else is there to do but procrastinate by writing this entry?
Ok, off to work. Really. Unless I take a nap, have some tea, or have some dinner first.

29 January, 2007

conclusion of the day:

It's SO much better to blow your nose into tissues than into toilet paper.

Other conclusions of the day:
I think that I'm going to approach current-yap and ask them to make calls or send an introductory email on my behalf to two or three "area"- meaning- nearby STATE- opera houses that otherwise MAY ignore an unsolicited email from me.
Approaching this subject and figuring out whom to ask to do this is proving a bit more difficult (a. because I'm still in bed and will be all of tomorrow I think too, and b. because it's a delicate situation).

Other conclusions of blogger:
When they say that the beta version is gone and they are going to make your website cool and "navigatable" (my word), they really MEAN that it's going to be cool, but a different color than you originally had it.

28 January, 2007

settled and sick

The sick part:
I'm home today with a throat that feels like it's burning a hole in my neck.
Last night I felt a bit scratchy. I went to sleep late (but no later than the normal 1am-2am hour), had tons of water and an Emergen-C. Woke up at 4 w/pain on one side and when swallowing. Woke up at 7 with pain on both sides and when swallowing.
I looked at the back of my throat w/a bright light and can't see anything but a bit more red than usual- at least no craziness being coughed up. But it's so dry and ouchie!
I'm not quite sure what to do since usually sore throats for me start either from a cough or from congestion that travels down, and then I know I have a cold or allergies or something.
This random throat thing-not so fun.

And while I "could" vocalize if necessary (ie, push through it)...it's feeling scary and thin to do anything right now.

I have the day off tomorrow as well, so if this doesn't get any better after tons of water and tea I may have to do something real about it.

The settled part:
The insanity is over and no, it wasn't for an opera gig. So no congrats---yet--- although all of the commotion could at some point LEAD to a singing job. I hope.

Wireless is out on my side of the building again (I should get one of those network extenders- I wonder if they work on networks that aren't your own!!)
So I'm in the hallway in my first 5 minute foray outside of my bed for the day...yea, it's 3:40.

MAN! I'm so sick of this bed thing. Plus I have no food left. Gotta get out at some point.

25 January, 2007

super secret super stressed day

I can't divulge anything that went on today. I will just post for posterity that between the hours of 8am and 4pm Central Time I was the most stressed and unhinged about my future career that I've been in a long time.
And it actually had nothing to do with me really- it was about other people.
Stepping on people's toes, having more than one person work for you at the same time, trying to PREVENT that from occuring, making sure I don't hurt anyone's feelings or more importantly, blow some possible future connection and contact for myself by offending someone, sending emails back and forth at rapidfire speeds, telephone calls here and abroad.

It's settled now (hopefully--one more call abroad tomorrow), and all I have to do is show up and sing pretty.

I did not even get a chance to eat anything until 4:30today.

24 January, 2007

changes part deux

Have been on the internet nonstop for the past 24 hours pretty much.
Emailed 2 "contacts" (agents) who have been helping me in terms of guiding my career for the pst year...not signing me, just guiding me.
They both think that Europe may be best for me for next year.

The issue with Europe, as stated in the post below- is that I don't like "not having a plan".
I don't want to go be a starving artist for 6 months, teach English, and ooops, suddenly a year goes by, I have no resume credits to add, and I'm right where I began, with thousands less in the bank.

So- how do I get hired in to sing in 2008 in a place where I have NO contacts and also cannot physically go to audition until May 14th?
Well, that's the answer I'm searching for online, and hoping that these agent "friends" can help me with as well.

The NYIOPS. I now officially have ONE day to go do them in NYC if I want. In 2.5 weeks. UNfortunately, I do NOT have a day off to do the "preliminary" round that is required of all (all meaning, all who don't have agents calling on their behalf and paying less of a fee) singers to do.
Would one of my "friends" (agents) call on my behalf?
Well, that has yet to be discussed. But I would of course jump at the chance to do them and possibly have a ROLE to go there for..and not just a dream.


Okay, it's official now (well, it's still unofficial but at least I know).

Next year's season has officially changed. It has changed to include two shows which I would have no roles or covers in. It has changed FROM two shows which I would have leading roles in.
And therefore, the verdict from current-yap is, that although they love me, believe in me, want me to succeed, etc....there is ONE role for me to do there next season and nothing else.


The good/awesome news: I will be performing as a PRINCIPAL artist for one show next year (making about half of my YEARLY salary here)
The not so awesome news: I will not be returning as a resident artist for the rest of the next season.

What does this mean? Well, frankly it means that I get to start being an unmanaged singer without a plan a bit earlier than I thought...since I pretty much skipped out on mainstage audition season this year because I assumed (the season as it previously stood) that I'd have three awesome roles here next year.

What do I feel?
Really excited. Really anxious. A bit let down/sad. But mostly just absolutely in gear to find something great to do and DO it.

My choices:
1. SMALL opera companies (US) that have not announced/cast their season for next year. Try to get relased to do as many of these small auditions as possible and see if I can fill my 07-08 year with performances around current-yaps "principal" offer.

2. EuRoPe!!! My dream, my love, my longing... I've always always always wanted to do it. Somehow I know I'll succeed. They do my kind of music, my kind of roles...I have the right look, the right voice, half the right language skills and now- the TIME and OPPORTUNITY to go there and just try it out.
What I'm scared about for Europe: It wouldbe going without a "plan". And I like "plans". What do I mean? Every year I've had a fallback that is feasible WITH roles feasible- ie, if I wasn't getting into current-yap I could stay at last-year-yap. If I wasn't getting into last-year-yap I would have stayed at undergrad-town and had three small roles with local-opera-company...
Moving to Germany and just "trying it" with no contacts, no other plan-- is a little TOO loose for my generally strict plan-making self.

3. That school-that-shall-not-be-named still wants me. For a performance degree. Not even a DMA...for 2 years. For free:
a. I am released for the live auditions (UNLIKELY since current-yap's opera scenes are that weekend...NOT COOL)
b. IF they miraculously accept me whether I attend the live audition or not, AND let me come late because of principal-offer taking until Sept.30th of their first semester.

4. TWO programs with deadlines that have not passed yet:
AVA (just took a first-year coloratura last year...eh)
Washington national opera (same)

Amazing opportunities to be made for myself. With a LOT of work involved in making them.
And with no internet from my house (AGAIN!!!!), I'll be at the opera center printing out every application under the sun this week I'm sure.

And that is the very big news of the day.

22 January, 2007

checking out

I just came back from a coaching on the scene from Ariadne that we'll be presenting in a month. It's the quintet right before the aria, and then the aria (Zerbie's).

The coaching was great.
I love getting really really specific with things. I definitely got called out on some sub-par translations of phrases (yea, and I've been singing this aria for a few years now!! Crazy- I really thought I had it down). We looked more in depth and at tempo markings and basically all other markings on the page besides the notes (which is sometimes that LAST thing you think about when you're trying to get through Strauss and the German).

And then we got to the issue of commitment v. checking out while singing.
I've gotten this comment from this coach a few times in a few different arias. He feels that because it's so "easy" vocally for me, and text-wise, diction..ie- I've done my homework-- that I sometimes just "coast". And it's not bad, but it's just
not as good as it could be if I invested and committed more to what I was saying, singing, etc.

So while I could be more dramatic and deliver the lines, more often I just rely on the voice to do what it does best, and although it is impressive, it may still leave something to be desired.

I received that comment today, worked on some lines, re-sang them, and then all of a sudden when I was pretty much thinking about nothing except keeping ONE thought going- ie- "I'm cute and flirty and can't make Ariadne mad" he stopped me after a phrase and said, yes- that was it.

What is it about half zoning out, or not thinking about the words as they go by, but thinking of a larger concept- that sometimes gets people to believe I'm "acting" or "committed" to the pieces?
And then on the other hand, in some of my other pieces when I am absolutely thinking about "making" the word that comes next actually occur because of my acting, THAT is equally as committed- and I'm working hard with the words and music.

It's frustrating. Also, because it's a coaching (and I know I shouldn't say or think this) sometimes I DO leave the "drama" aside because I want to concentrate on the coaching of the music-diction-phrase- everything technical that is separated from the drama.
But that is soo soo soo wrong..I know. I don't mean to do it- I just know that I don't commit as much in a musical coaching as I would onstage.
Does everyone really- I mean really- with every vocalise, every minute in the practice room, coaching- really commit? Dramatically? and Vocally? ALL the time?

This is tough. It's not really being lazy. I think it's just coming into the coaching with a different energy about what needs to be done..and that is detrimental- because what I end up doing is compartmentalizing the voice and the acting and the musicality and the diction and the interpretation into different drawers and yes, although they can be all opened at the same time, it's very easy for me to just rummage through the T-shirts and forget about the sock drawer.

So what do I feel about that coaching?
I do good things. I sing well. I "impressed"- or showed that I could do it, I was working on it, I have ideas...there is a glimmer of what could come in the future with this..

Also, I don't know really how to approach my stage of development either. Am I a professional artist who is working side by side with a colleague? Or am I a 'student' who should still have that "teach me everything you know" mentality from the authority figure?

All things to think about.
I'm tired.

heeeeere's Johnny!

I'm back! The internet wireless network that I've been borrowing is miraculously and magically restored after two weeks down. And here I was, at 10:30am just rearing to get out of bed, begin my day, warm up, get ready for my coachings...and now I shall stay in my warm comfy bed for at least another hour reading all of my newspapers, blogs, checking email every 5 seconds, and doing what I do best.

So- the long of it all:
I just received an email from the MONCA dir. after emailing her my rep saying the following:
From past experiences at this competition I highly recommend that you don't include glitter and be gay on your list and do include O luce.

uhhh, what?
Who are you? And how do you know? And what could be BAD about having that on there except for the fact that if the panel hates it they WON"T pick it?!!!

Or do they hate it and WILL pick it because they know the audience hates it and they want to make them suffer as well?

Weird. I don't know what to think now. About why she would say that.

As I read more and more about the NYIOPS (and more and more about their increasing fee) I am really just tempted to do them..not because of the increasing fee.
The thing is..
if these companies really ARE looking for full casts of Ariadne and Abduction- then I actually have a chance.
Now, I don't think I can be released from here to attend the upcoming ones which do advertise for those two operas, ---although do NOT have a fest soprano position open---I still keep my eye on them from time to time.
I just think Europe=fun. It's beautiful, it's the multiculturalism that I love, it's the challenge of language, it's the challenge of being somewhere new, fitting in, making it work, and succeeding.

In the back of my mind I've always wanted to just go try out Germany. And these NYIOPS seems like a good excuse to put a feeler out there (at least with 6 or 7 companies) to see what happens or if they are impressed.

In the day of emails when people are so easy to get in touch with after googling their place of work and finding their address, I find it surprising that people do not write back to emails.
I mean, yes, you're "above me". You just judged me. Or I just sent you some materials after making a personal connection with you.
But- really.
a. You have a school email. I found it in the school's online directory for faculty. I'm sure your students email you all the time and you actually check it. Why not write back thanks?

b. You're a very important and very busy person who runs an entire opera company. A week later your assistant writes me that they'll get you the message? Ok, that's a BIT more acceptable- at least it's a response.

c. I just spoke with you on the phone about my materials..and at THIS school people even have their own name for the email system and it's been written up in the NYtimes as one of the most technologically email-communication connected campuses. And you don't have time to say I got your email?

d. Surprisingly, the person who I thought would be MOST busy and LEAST likely to write me back- did so in the next 10 minutes after I sent the email. And that was just an email notifying them of my continued candidacy for their summer program plus the competition news...that they did not have to respond to at all!!!!

I know, I know. People are busy.
But "netiquette" still stands. If you received the same message in a phone call I think you would call back.

I'm so excited about the internet right now.

21 January, 2007

wireless in the hallway

Yes, I'm back in the hallway of my apt. building.
Still no wireless. I'm calling them tomorrow to install it asap. This has gone too long.

The short post version of news:

Nothing much going on, have coachings tomorrow on Lakme and Ariadne, still haven't heard about next year, got some weird letter from the MONCA regional people about how if I am a winner and can't make the semifinals or the finals I have to give back all of the money (district and regional). NOT cool cuz ---not saying this will happen at ALL this year--- but even if I did, the final is on the same day as my perf. of Lakme.

Eh, not to worry at all. So much time until then, so little do I really care about it since I'm booked for the finals anyway.
Oh yea, they ask for replist changes.
I've decided to take out a whole language.

O luce will NEVER be picked after I begin with Lakme, so why bother even having it on there?
Instead I'm offering my 2 Germans- Durch and Zerbie- one short, Mozart, line, the other (if they choose it from any section)- could be short, show line or coloratura, and be fun.
And Glitter. Because that's just fun for competitions.
and Doll because maybe they'll want to hear the 2nd verse of it,(although I don't know why after French Lakme).
And it's fun, and there's a G, and I lurv it.

17 January, 2007

from the place where the magic happens

Bonjour from the opera center.
My wireless internet is still down (although if I walk halfway down the hallway I can pick up new signals for free...but when I did that in my fuzzy slippers and PJs the other day I didn't get such appreciative looks from neighbors coming home after a hard day's work), so I'm writing from "work".

It hasn't really been "work" lately because the current project involves me singing mostly ensemble and some small small parts...which means basically that I"m only called to rehearsals every other evening. And I'll have maaaybe a coaching every day or other day.

So that leaves time. And what do I do with time? What I do best- waste it (mostly)- with some productivity on the side.
But without the internet, what ever could I do to occupy myself- you may ask?

Well, there's doing laundry, going shopping for healthy food, developing 150 pictures from my cruise, putting them in a photo album, not cleaning my room, not putting that newly clean laundry away in my room, keeping the tv on even though there are NO good shows in the afternoon, filling out competition applications..

wait, a short tangent- WHY do you make me SEEK OUT 8.5x14.5 paper to print out your application? REALLY? I mean, REALLY? YOu couldn't read my handwriting if this were a 2 page application and printed out on NORMAL paper?
/end tangent.

Deciding what to sing for competitions is a bit easier now that I've had success with the lakme once.
I also had the BEST coaching ever on it yesterday.

One of those one's where all of my BS was called out (well, it wasn't bs it was just doing what comes easily and not really getting the most musicality possible out of things like runs and effect, etc)...and I am all the better for it.

The first cadenza? Now totally shaped. I don't rush through the tripelets just because it's "easier and more natural" for me to sing them on the fast side, The run at the end means something, the four descending lines right before the end have shape...it's just great when you get that kind of feedback...
not- no, this is horrible...but -
why are you choosing to do this? why just show off the voice because you can? why don't you choose to make it musical and also show off the voice- taking more time with things?
YES. Thank you. Because...yes...it's "harder" to do it this way, but it makes so much more sense with the character, the flow of the piece, the "mood" as it were.

So. Lakme is not the same anymore.
She is more grown up. Taking more risks. And sounding all the prettier for it.
All thanks to an hour with a great great coach.

I don't know how long this no wireless thing is going to last. I may just call up comcast and sign up for it (again), after cancelling it after 2 months when I had it back in September.
Until then, ciao from the "OC".

14 January, 2007

the real update

I'm in Panera (again, not still).
Listening to my recording from yesterday afternoon (the competition). They were nice enough to make us real backstage line-in recordings-- instead of having us ask friends to hold our minidisc recorders on their lap in the back row to try and get a decent recording.

My thoughts:


First cadenza- no, no, no.
You can hear that I'm nervous. I am a bit under pitch each time I come back up to the E or D and that leads the whole thing to sag just a bit. Accompanist rushed the end of it for me. Seems like a mistake on my part, but really his.
AND I don't USUALLY fall flat on that. This time. I did.

Ugh. Not the best it's been. High note descend- awesome though.

First verse. Good. Pacing much better. French- duh- good.
Nothing is under. It's right on. Good phrasing.

First coloratura- on.

A1 slow part- good phrasing kinda. I could have been a tad more musically nice with the like

A2 slow part- equally good. These are the 2 sections I always feel like I either energize, or don't. And this time I did.

Second coloratura- (dang the pianist was rushing me!) good though. awesome end cadenza between this and Verse 2.

Verse 2- good French. it's better at this faster pace. The d's and e's are a TAD bit under. Because of my lack of breath control/support? Nerves? Or just the "norm"- passagio issues?

Oooh- that held D. GOOD! It's usually a bit under (in my ears).

Third Coloratura- ooh, first note- rocky. Under.
Piano Speed! This is too fast.
Coloratura is accurate but could have sounded less CRAZY if the accompanist had actually taken the tempo I had asked him before walking out onstage.

Last few notes:
On- ooh, those F's and D's are nice and not under.

Last NOTE- yup. I had it.

I'm having more fun with this because I LIKE it better and am more comfortable with it since I've sung it at more auditions and with more coaches.
I'm pushing umm, a bit? Because I'm excited about this and want to "act" it more I think.
It's not too much but it's having an effect on my sound. Not as clear as I was in Piece1.
Coloratura- YEA baby.

Coloratura- Damn that was good.

high note after coloratura- SWEEEEET.

Ooh, that breath was totally in the wrong place...but since no one knows when coloraturas are supposed to breathe in that passage anyway it doesn't matter! hahaha!!

Final "ah" cadenza- kinda exciting :) !

Ok, that was my first-listen breakdown.

Can you guess which pieces they were? mwahahaha.

Here are the judges comments which I remember.
1. You were the only person who didn't push or oversing. You sang with your own voice.
2. You have a crystalline voice, clear, silvery, it cuts well, keep doing what you're doing and never push.
3. Work on A through F. When you get lazy we notice it in the passagio in the form of notes just a bit under (how true). Work more not on the notes but on the support and overall line and that should take care of it.
4. Very good. You won so those are my only comments. Keep doing what you're doing.
5. For me, piece 2 sounded a bit more nasal in some lower passagio areas.
6. Excellent job, lovely voice, keep doing just what you did. Nothing more nothing less.
7. Sing for us sometime! (uhh, hellooooo?!!! You just rejected me, but thanks anyway!!!!)

Overall comment by all judges:
Your stage deportment, acting, commitment to character, balance onstage and body language and movement was excellent. It seems like you've done this before and you're a pro at it. Perfectly balanced. Lovely head position. Strong intentions...etc.

So- even though I have no set "moves" for these pieces, what I did seemed to work and it came off like I knew what I was doing and was commited to it.
Maybe commited to it is the key word. Even though I was just working with whatever came to mind, I was fully ALL over it and into it. That is when art works the best for me.
Not thinking about what I have "prepared" in terms of "moves", voice, etc.- but just doing what comes because of the art, music, language, etc. etc...(insert deep thoughts by me).

OK then!
Really, truthfully, I am going to write here that I did NOT listen to other singers (except the first three) live in the theater, so I can't really make a decision based on what I've heard if I "deserve" this. For me, this was NOT the best of performances.
I felt that although Piece1 improved as soon as the opening cadenza was over, it was not the strongest it's ever been. Exciting yes, fast yes, but I've sung it better. Mostly always.

And piece 2, while extremely vocally impressive, and while I'm sure I acted it extremely well and that came across, again- piano-vocal pacing issues, and some pitch issues (not SO noticeable, but enough for me to think that this isn't going SO well) really made me feel after I finished that- ok, I did well, but it's not good enough to move on to the Regionals.

And then my name was called.
And that was really exciting :)

So. I'm thankful for the opportunity to move on to the next level. I'm thankful for the feedback. I'm thankful for the opportunity to perform one of the arias that I'll be singing as a role in the next few months.
I'm just thankful that this is FUN.
Nerve-wracking, crazy, annoying, competitive, hard, yes....but also FUN! When you believe in yourself and someone else does too.
And no, this is not career-making or career-breaking.

It's what it is.
A competition. Not a role, not an audition, not a concert.

So now (I think) I know and believe (whether fair or not) that there are certain competition "winners" (pieces, people, attitudes, up-tempos) that just get it.

So this time it was me. I got it. And I'm thankful for that and for what it was.


Ok, I guess those three posts on the 10th will have to make up for my INEXCUSABLE online absence.
A. The wireless network I freeload off of has not worked since last thursday. NOT COOL.
B. I drove to NEBRASKA for the MONCAs this weekend, almost didn't make it back here last night (finally got in at 3am), and thus had a few important things on my mind for the weekend.

The update later to come, but outcome = great. I'll be singing at the Regionals in February.

I hope that Jay of "Jay's Network" (which I borrow!) will soon restart his computer or something-- because otherwise it doesn't look like I'll be having internet in my apt. anytime soon.

The weird thing is (after doing a network diagnostic and attempting to decode other people's passwords with "Internet", "Comcast", their name backwards, and other various normal passwords for lazy people), is that the network is up, and everything works up until "Internet" and "Web Page".

So- this has never happened before.
If you know how to fix it without being in charge of your own internet (I'm assuming you have to restart the internet conection or something like that..even though it's "working") please- do tell.

More to come. I promise.
Well, if I have wireless and I'm NOT sitting in a PANERA using their free system and eating my breakfast (bagel) at 3:48pm.

10 January, 2007

third post in 24 hours..

I know, I know.
But it's worth it just because I'm laughing out loud right now...
Turn your tv on.
The Grease Academy search???

Yes. That is all I have to say.
In addition to actually seeing clips for the musical, you get to see people crash and burn as Rizzo, Sandy and Danny!!!

Oh the horror! But I'm glued to it!

09 January, 2007

stupid minisic player

Note to self: This is my fault, not the minidisc as stated above in the title.

The last time I used my MDplayer was probably to record (not legally) my Doll Song from one of the mainstage shows.
Ok, so that was Novmber.

WHAT made me think that I wouldn't have to recharge the battery before my Met coaching today and that it would still work?


Well, it recorded the first 55 seconds of each of 5 arias.
And I think that only happened because I didn't leave it on continuously--- I kept pressing stop and start record after each piece.

But I did sound ok for the first 55 seconds times five pieces.


There is a small chance that I'll somehow regret posting this at some point, but here it goes.

CS, or Certain Someone in my life, who is far away from me currently and is studying to be, among other things, a medical doctor, tomorrow has his first patient experience with---well---being that doctor that girls go to.

I think it's kind of funny, and really weird at the same time.
I mean, to be a student still, and not really an obgyn or doctor (yet!), and have to go to a clinic with other med students and "practice"...
ok, I warned you about the TMI factor here!

We joked about it tonight on the phone. And I told him to be NICE! (He will be). It is NOT a fun place to be when you're a chick.


We still don't know our fate. It's not on the schedule for tomorrow either.
But what I DO have tomorrow is a coaching for the upcoming Met audtions.
What to sing?
I am still not sure, and thankfully I can change my mind and my replists (as long as I have 5 copies) until the day I get there.

I've never started with Lakme, but of ALL of my arias, I think that it is the most "coloratura acceptable but not too long".
I aways think about this because it always comes up with competitions and auditions.

Zerbinetta is the best thing I do right now. Too long for everything. I shall offer it, cut up into little pieces, as always, if they want to pick it 2nd.

O luce- O annoying.
Doll- not a competition winner, but the way I sing it, it "could" be, but still, not as technically and fireworks exciting as Lakme.
Norina- No.
Glitter- Hell no.
(Mind you, I LOVE all of these pieces, but panels most certainly do not).
Chacun- again, with the added notes- awesome, but this is really a soubrette/llc piece for most other sopranos. Short and sweet, but ...NO.
Queen- only if there are no other queens that day, and NO for a starter.

But here is what I think my list will be:
Lakme, O luce, Glitter, Zerbie, Durch Z

I will start with Lakme and they will hear DurchZ.

Or if they are AWESOME they will ask for part of Zerbinetta.

But most likely DurchZ because
a. it's Mozart line
b. it's short
c. it's another language
d. have I mentioned it's short?
e. O luce is pretty much Lakme plus a page of recit, Glitter is lakme plus two verses of lyric singing, zerbie is 12 minutes of insanity, and that leaves DurchZ.

The one thing that may change in this is actually Lakme.
If I'm not feeling it that day, I may not start with it.
In which case- I really don't KNOW what I'll start with actually!!!

Would I throw the doll in there and offer it from the 2nd verse like I did last year? Perhaps.
Would I throw chacun? start with Durch Z so they pick a coloratura piece next?
Ah, decisions decisions.

Must go to bed to wake up for yoga class in less than 8 hours.

08 January, 2007


Today in near-freezing weather while the snow was lightly falling in flurries around me, I took my first step to training for...a really really small marathon.
Yes, I'm following a website called coolrunning.com to first work up to 5k (even though I could "run" it now- very slowly and with power walking involved for when I get horrible cramps which happen every time I run) and then eventually a half marathon...maybe.

We'll see how long this lasts. Probably as long as the weather doesn't ice the streets over.

Now, I hate running. Hate.
I was never a fast "mile" runner in my gym classes in high school. MAYBE 8-9 minutes. And while I could do sprints, that never interested me either. It was just kind of boring. Outside, inside on treadmills or tracks- boring.
I liked sports. Hated training for them though!

But I'm doing something as a change.
And I think I'll actually pull this one off.

The first day (although an easy 20minute walk/jog) is supposed to be the hardest. And truthfully, while I was winded and freezing after 30 minutes, it really wasn't that bad.
And even though you're only supposed to do this every other day, I may try to build it up earlier and faster and do 30 minutes a day.
Hey, being in the freezing cold and wheezing isn't half bad when you're trying to make sure that you still have Lakme lyrics memorized and when you have new music running through your head, in addition to numbers.
Numbers help me run.
I could to 5 twice on one hand, while keeping track of tens with the other hand.
60 seconds running, 30 seconds jogging. And so on.
The time actually passed without me wanting to turn around and just quit the whole thing.

And that's all for today.
No musical musings. No angst about next year.
Just satisfaction at doing something good for not just my voice or career.

06 January, 2007

tra la la ...la, la, la, la

Donor concert went really well tonight.
I had to sing 4 pieces and schmooze and I think I made a good impression...so hopefully if my fate is still in the hands of the few, I have continued to make good strides toward being asked back and being contracted for that specific role for next year.

It's pathetic that it's 9:30 and I'm so tired.

Well, not really...since I've been in rehearsal since 10am, with one hour of a break the whole day for lunch. No dinner. Straight through to the donor event, finger foods and half a glass of white wine.

Sleepy time for me!


No news for today except that supposedly decisions have been made about next year..and...we should find out about them next week.

What I SHOULD be concentrating on:
Tomorrow we have a donor concert to sing for where I've been asked to sing one of the arias from next season's show. It's one that I know but have never offered or really coached or worked on to perfection. I just learned it a long time ago, can pull it off, etc. The role is one that I would want or think that I'd be considered here for next year and today it kind of dawned on me that ..umm..yea, I should try to kick some ass with it tomorrow night.

So instead of looking up summer programs, doing the Dollar to Euro math in my mind, seeing how much a month in Germany may cost, I should be...
figuring out how to sing and perform the best I can!

Finally something positive to think about today- and it was realized at 11:30pm.

04 January, 2007

breathe in, breathe out

So many things.
First, this is my 201st post. Well, it's really more than 201 since my first 20 or so posts were imported all in one day in a large cut and paste operation, but still. Woo hoo.

Went back to yoga class today. It was awesome after 2 months off. I REALLY REALLY need to figure out how I'm going to do more exercise in these freezing months of winter in current-state of current-yap. I can't go outside anymore. It's too cold to even warm the car up to go to a gym. There is a treadmill in the building next door that I can use and a few free weights, and the bike machine. MAYBE I'll come up with some sort of plan... maybe. Ha.

Had first staging rehearsal for world premiere opera with famous american contemporary composer of famous "great american" novel. It's going to be really awesome.
LONG, but awesome.

Don't remember what rep. I sent to MONCA for the competition, so I have to bring like 3 lists to the thing and it's in a week and a day. Yikes. Don't know what I want to start with, OR what I want to have on my list.

I think I've decided against pulling the string of idea mentioned below.
I think that no matter what happens here next year, I will gain things this summer if I pursue competitions, language immersion, travel, and actually have the summer. To do learning of my own, and not 4 semi-costumed, staged scenes with piano- plus a cover...maybe.
Have until tomorrow to make the final decision.

Sixth and related but wish it was unrelated- I wish I knew what was going on here next year.
I feel good about why they took me, and what I've done so far to show them that I continue to do good work here.
I feel like there is a definite role for me in one of the operas next year and it's a good role to have under my belt.
I feel like- why would they replace me with another coloratura? If anything, would they just not want a coloratura for next year? Is THAT what I'm up against, or is it another person? or is it budget?
I just don't have any idea of what may happen, and I am not confident that the verbal discussion when I was accepted last year will translate into a contract for me or any other singer here this year.


03 January, 2007

and that, my friend, is Closure!

Finally received word about last-summer-yap today. I'm "officially" on the waitlist, but head of last-summer-yap handwrote a note to me saying that it was a pleasure to hear me, keep up the good work, and sing for them again next year.
All of which I"M taking to mean--- this was the most polite way of letting me down easy-- although I DO know singers from last year who just plain got rejection letters! I'm just glad that I can stop waiting around for a letter now.

So. One more program left to hear from.

But there is a new development that I've been thinking about.

I did really good work for them. I continue to have a good relationship with the artistic administrator. I know that someone last year "pulled a string" and was accepted because something fell through and they had nothing to do at the last minute, so they joined the young artists there for the summer.

Now, it's not that what I had fell through. I did not apply to Yap-from-2-yrs-ago because it takes place at a certain time in the summer when I am usually not in this country, and visiting my family elsewhere.
I rescinded my application to them last year for this purpose, and did not apply to them this year for this purpose.

HOWEVER. They ARE doing something where ONE role cover would be really relevant for me.

The question is- do I lightly pull the string and see what happens?

The larger question is, yet again, WHY do I feel the NEED to pull the string?
To return to a place I've already been (wouldn't really be making any new contacts), add ONE cover to my resume from a medium-high level program?
If indeed there are PLENTY of singers out there who are not doing summer programs, why do I feel this need to get into one and somehow prove something?

Ok, here is the deal I'm making with myself right now.
Current-yap is supposed to tell me SOON if I'm going to be here next year.
IF I'm here, WHY do I care about summer Yaps?
I should NOT do something for the summer, precisely because I'll have lines on my resume through 2008 if I'm here next year already, and no one will care to see if I did a Yap in the summer or not.

IF I'm here next year, why don't I spend this summer trying to commit to my personal relationships, my best friend's wedding (seriously!), a language immersion course that I've been meaning to take for years, and traveling to see my family across the world?
Oh yea, and doing all of those singing competitions that take place in May and June and trying to win some MULAH!?


I hope I find out if I'm here next year soon.

01 January, 2007

the year in review---ish

I feel web-pressured to write some kind of summation about the year that has just ended, and my thoughts on the upcoming year. On the plane to current-yap someone left the entire NYTimes, and it was kind of fun to not have to read the newspaper online every day- and also have enough time to sit and read all of the editorials about the new year, Saddam, etc.

Well- last year at this time I was still "on break" from previous-Yap/School program. But I was memorizing the German for Flute (Queen and Spirit), trying to pick out the song cycles for my Master's Recital (and in the process getting so bored and preoccupied with just about everything else that I moved LJ to blogger and began posting almost daily), waiting to hear whether I had gotten into any YAP for the next year (I already heard from Summer-Yap), and pretty much in a place in my career where I was feeling good vocally, feeling challenged musically and artistically, having time to investigate new music as well as music that I needed to learn for performance, and felt pretty sure that I was taken care of for next year, one way or another (whether that was staying at previous-Yap or moving onto another degree program or current-yap).

The summer for me was blissful. Every summer program has been- despite the ups and downs of every program I've participated in. I am at a place for 8 to 10 weeks where everything is art. No school, no rent check, no TA duties, no real life. We're in this little bubble in the middle of nowhere and all you can do is sink or swim in proving to the company that they made a good choice in hiring you and investing in you for the summer.
I saw how others approach their craft vocally and dramatically. I saw the type of singer that I wanted and did not want to become. I saw the type of friend and person that I wanted and did not want to become.

It was freeing to only live with the music of that day or week.
To know that my schedule would be decided upon at 10pm the night before, and look forward to rehearsals for chorus, coachings, classes, and little free time for anything else.

And then the big move to current-yap and current-state. Across the country, far from everything and everyone I know, but still worth it for the art and opportunity.

This past week on vacation was the first time a few members of my family detected some sadness/resentment in my tone when discussing my career and what is coming up next.
Always the realist, I know that even though I have a great opportunity right now, this year, this season...it may not mean anything in terms of the future. And that is something that I realize more and more as an unmanaged and young singer who has made it past the stage of post-grad-trying-for-a-residency-program. Or post-grad-choosing-a-big-city-and-trying-to-"make-it".

That there is no security in this business.

That singing here this year may mean that in 4 or 5 years I'll be asked back to do one show a season---which would be great IF it happened. But still not enough for a full-time career, and certainly difficult if I'm not living in this city and have started a family, etc.

That singing here this year is another line, two lines, on my resume, but only proves to agents, audition panels, or even this company, that I'm good on paper. And they'll still hear X number of singers exactly like me who may sing better, act better, look the part, or interest them more at a live audition.

That said, however, I do have a strong belief in my talent and know that I have the drive to continue making this a career for myself.

What I don't have is the exact vision of what that career could be.
I've always written about "paths" that one could take in this career. Actually, last december in my favorite posts on the B.o.S, business of singing, I wrote about all of the great opportunities you can make for yourself in high school, undergrad, grad, what to do about young artist programs...a veritable how-to of the path to get to where I am.
And now I'm in this murky unmanaged-but-in-a-program area. Where I MAY have security next year (I'll find out this month), but even if I do, I'll have to seriously take audition season by storm next year...because year 3 here is not necessarily a given.

And what about my personal life?
It's been a hard year or two out of 4 these past two years. We're working. We want it to work. But the realization of life, career, future, does not always coincide with the opportunities that you either can or can't make for yourself in terms of location, job, security.

When I think about the future, the top two things that come to mind are my relationship and my career--and how separate but equal they are.
And what challenges that means I face in terms of career location possibilities, and even auditioning for those opportunities.

I think about happiness. The kind that I have when I feel like another person completes me. The kind that I get when I feel artistically satisfied when preparing, performing, and reflecting on a completed performance.
They are not similar. Both can be completely calm and also completely overwhelming. In their own ways of course, and usually not at the same time.

I think that I can write little resolutions like instead of watching law and order until 2am every night, don't turn the tv on and learn new music instead.
Or, throw out all of that candy and chocolate that you've gotten from the last 2 operas you've been in so you don't EAT it.
Or, eat healthier foods and drink more water.
Or--- anything that I've written about sarcastically for the past year and a half in this blog...
But really, those things aren't resolutions. They are a part of life that is a reflection of my state of being.
Am I happy? Well, if not- here's some chocolate and vegging out with tv to numb a void.

So the resolution is to try to be happy. I was really happy in my relationship for 9 hours yesterday in New York City ringing in the New Year.

I came back to a snow-covered car with no gloves or scraper, but I was happy trying to get the snow off with my bare hands to go buy healthy food at the store.
I am happy now that I'm back in my room, surrounded by music (that I have to learn by 3pm tomorrow), and that I'm going to have my routine back for the next 5 months, with excitement and normalcy and more excitement.

I am happy that I may spend this summer (still waiting for outcomes of last-summer-yap and 2 others, but barring any Yes's) doing what I WANT. Which is traveling halfway around the world (twice, in different directions each time), becoming fluent in another language, and spending time with people that I love.

almost home

Hello from JFK's wireless network!

It's really really really early- for a post-new year's eve celebration post.
New Year's Eve with favorite boy in the world was very fun. We walked all around NYC since the weather was not very cold at all, we even visited the mega apple store (which was packed at 11pm), we saw all of the tourists lining up to watch the ball drop all over the city, and we rang in the new year without much pomp or circumstance- on the street as it started to drizzle lightly at midnight.

I'm on the first flight back to current-yap even though we don't have rehearsal today. I pretty much have to learn, umm, a LOT of new music before tomorrow at 7pm.

My vacation/cruise/family reunion was....interesting.... cruises are (as of this one) not really my thing. EXCEPT for the karaoke nights and the "Princess Pop Idol" contests!!! (Let's just say I won a bottle of VERY nice champagne for my vocal-cord busting versions of Hero, All by Myself, At Last, and You're So Vain). The Island stops were fun, the beaches were great, but it was all a little too touristy and "planned" out for me. I'd rather just be able to explore one place over the course of a few days- instead of leave the boat at 8am and be back by 4.

At any rate, I'm a bit less pale, a bit more relaxed, and I'm ready to face the next 5 months with no break.

Back to the music as of this afternoon.