30 April, 2007


Today I woke up at 7am, after falling asleep only at 3am, to bring my car in for its final oil change before the drive cross country that will take place in 13 days.

I then returned to my apt and fell asleep in my jeans and shirt and socks...in my bed.
Yes I was that tired.
I didn't even hear my roommate packing up her stuff and making a raucus with the tape, the dolly, the door slamming, the boxes, etc.

We both spent the rest of the day (once I woke up feeling HORRIBLE around noon) packing. For me- deciding how much stuff can fit in my car, and what I'll have to send Media Mail or Parcel Post back to the East Coast.

Packing this time isn't just typical packing, though, because I'm pretty much packing my stuff up and at the same time packing for a month in home-country and a month in Germany--all in ONE checked bag.
Yes. One. You read it.
I have to only take one checked bag, because I'll also be bringing a carry on for short term trips within europe..and I couldn't imagine myself alone at the airport with two huge rolling bags PLUS a carry on plus my purse plus my laptop and all of the wires that belong to it---trying to get into town.
Or anywhere for that matter.

So I have the carry on suitcase packed with what I'll wear for the next 13 days and then the drive and the next week, and the huge suitcase packed with what I think I'll wear this summer.
Mind you. Both are pretty full and I haven't even included SHOES! (or scores for competitions for that matter...or anything else besides clothes). This will certainly be an interesting packing experience.

The rest of my stuff: Boxes of books and scores, 2 boxes of kitchen stuff, a huge body bag of winter clothes (not kidding- biggest duffel bag ever), a trunk of winter jackets and coats, and another huge suitcase of clothes that didn't fit in the body bag.
My closets are empty except for the dresses and shoes.

What I hate packing is the small/random stuff like small clocks, some jewelry I haven't worn in over a year, the shoe rack, the dvd player...all of the wires to everything i-own :)

But in awesome news I did manage to sell my almost brand new furniture to a chick moving in upstairs... and she's giving me my asking price!!! AND we figured out how NOT to dis-assemble the bed frame so no screwdrivers necessary! Just a strong man/boy and her...and it's outta here!

I've learned this past year how NOT to be a packrat--which I usually am, as proven by the boxes that are currently in my parents' basement from high school and college with every binder, every paper, every textbook, my notes, programs from concerts I went to...etc.
This year I managed to keep the "paper" goods down to 2 drawers of filing cabinet! And that includes all my Tax papers!!

I still keep programs--but my daily schedule printout? NOT so necessary. Unless it was of course autographed by Ewa Podles or something..which it's not.

Ok, off to the sitz tonight...I'll bring my computer along since I don't come in for so long and I'm trying to be productive!

29 April, 2007

Ah, sweet irony

**smiles** I won first place in the competition I did today.
Wheeee ;) Yay for fame, money, power---NO, it's not the behind the scenes E true Hollywood Story. It's just lil' old me singing' Lakme and a pretty Strauss Song--and now I may be able to pay for the 2 pairs of OH so cute flats and the 3 outfits that I had to buy to "go with them" this past weekend.

So relevant after posting about competitions in general. Although I suppose it was on my mind anyway.

In other "agented" non-news, that previous person-who-works-with-the-opera-company has forwarded my materials to person's colleague abroad, who wants to hear me when I'm there. Yay!

Person also dropped off my CD while person was visiting biggest-red-state-opera-with-prestigious-young-artist-program--kinda.
Which was very nice of this person--and that means that hopefully some time in the future I should make contact with, or I'll be hearing from head of said opera company regarding any feedback whatsoever.

Third company that person mentioned would be introduced to my music is Mid-Atlantic-Yap-Run-by-way-famous-singer-conductor. I'd go for that one any day--and I also MAY be singing for famous-singer-conductor, umm, earlier than expected, IF I find out that I made the quarter finals of his big ole international competition.

I haven't heard yet, and people HAVE heard No's. So I'm hoping I'm a YES! (knockity-knock on wood).

27 April, 2007

the competition post

The first thing I do when I've been notified that I'm accepted to a competition: Open that .Word document that I typed up three to six months ago with the list of repertoire that I handed in..way back when...and see if I should update it, and more importantly, if I'm ALLOWED to update it.

< I really don't see what the big deal is about changing your repertoire if you give notice that you are changing it for a competition. I understand that the judges are not an audition panel that is used to this type of thing. I understand that they may be nice little guild ladies who don't know how to use email, and downloading a file with new rep. is foreign to them, and I'll even send it in the mail! Just let me change my rep. if I want to!!!

So. If it's 6 pieces I probably said:
Lakme, Queen, Glitter, Doll, O luce, and then either Durch Z or Zerbie--depending on how much I can google about the panel, or previous winners--and the "type" of competition- ie, opera guild, or big important people that want to give you a scholarship to sing in Germany...etc.

I always give myself an "easy" aria that I know no matter how I'm feeling will be great---for me that's the Doll or Queen (even though they're not my regular starting pieces).

This season I've been particularly anti-O luce. It's a show-piece for sure---but if I'm beginning with Lakme (my starter for competitions this year) it becomes a bit of a coloratura repetitive marathon after the first piece. So this month (actually, yesterday), I decided to change my replist for 2 upcoming competitions- deleting O luce, and adding Oscar. I know- who would think it's a competition piece? I don't necessarily even think so--HOWEVER- it shows Line, Italian, acting, it's different than every other piece I have, plus I'm singing the role next year--so what's wrong with a little practice now and then?

Now to the point. What to do when you KNOW that someone will sing the exact rep. as you, and PROBABLY their last name is earlier in the alphabet than yours, so they'll sing first..and they'll start with what you sing.

Well. This kind of happened to me last year, but it was when I was only TOYING with the idea of using Lakme as a starter. There is a sop. who has used this piece for starting in at least 4 competitions that I've been in with her for the past 2 years. And each time I did the Doll. And the thing is, no matter how many high G's or how well I can kick butt in the Doll, Lakme (no matter how well or not so perfectly sung--even with pitch issues in the first cadenza)---is hands down more vocally impressive.

So what to do this year, when I'm changing my mind and deciding to begin with Lakme- knowing the most probably there will be 2 Lakme's that day, and we'll both offer: Queen, Zerbinetta, and the difference will be our Italian pieces?

Well---nothing. Last year, before I had sung the role, I may have been a bit more hesitant to sing the aria...again- no one ever asks for it, so I don't get so much practice except in coachings...sometimes..when I'm not working on new stuff...to go through older rep. that's always "prepared".
But this year it's in my bones and more importantly my soul.
So- we'll sing the same thing, and we'll see what happens.

Even though it's a competition, it's not a competition against this specific singer. It's a competition to get as close as possible to the top X number of people that get awards or recognition--and if I DO get anything, it goes straight to the bank to makeup for the exhorbitantly expensive plane tickets, summer plans and travel, and this Spring's audition flights and trips so far.

I think last year I may have felt more intimidated about this, and changed my repertoire just so we didn't sing the same thing. So we'd be judged on our own merits and not measured up against each other.

It's a valid point. I mean, we may even BOTH be eliminated because it wasn't a "clear" decision of just one to advance. Sometimes, (I've been told), winners are selected because they were the ones that were least "fought" about by the judging panel.

The bottom line is that competitions are just weird. It's not like an audition where you know if you did well and THEN you didn't get hired, you at least know that you have a contact at a certain opera house who MAY remember, you, or that you could keep in touch with--because even though you weren't the best or perfect for what they wanted...you're still a great singer and you impressed.

I know of a singer who researches EXTENSIVELY about competitions. She actually makes a small salary off of it every year or two that's how good she is (of course she has a great voice too!) But some of the things she looks at:

Knowing who won last year (if it was her "type" of soprano, she's less likely to go).
Knowing how much you could win (if it's less than the cost of the travel there and the app. fee, she won't apply)
Knowing who the judges are (when there is ANYONE that she could possibly be affiliated with or know her, she'll do it, no matter where it is)
What the prizes are (if it's an opera role and that company is doing something the next year that she can sing, she'll go for it).

Where have I found out about most of my competitions? Well, reading many singer bios helps me get a feel for the "level" of competitions that I am going for. Two years ago was my first time around, and I did pretty well (entered 2, was a finalist and won)
Last year I could only do one, and I got 2nd.
And this year I'm hoping to do MANY (but I still haven't heard final notifications from a few).
Still, in the matter of 7 days, there is a possibility to sing in 4 competitions, in three different states.

Also- yaptracker. There are SO many local (to small cities, states, libraries, schools) competitions!!! And if you're anywhere within driving area I say- go for it!
For example, I'm doing a local competition (finals are this Saturday)---it's small, but it's a good name competition, and the top prize is 2thousand bucks...I'm one of FOUR finalists. ONE of us will win that much. Those are pretty good odds I say! Why NOT apply if I'm here and have the hour free?

And finally. It's all a big gamble, but if you're prepared, you have a cute dress, your arias are totally ready, and you've got charisma and stage presence--I always say that you can have as good a chance as anyone else if you can get in and do well.

Here's hopin'!

25 April, 2007

Mattila does the splits

Tonight I had the great joy of attending a performance "from the front of the house"---meaning, listening to one- instead of coming in backstage and singing in one!
I saw Karita Mattila in concert with Martin Katz.
She sang beautifully, looked gorgeous, had three encores, but the part that I'm still jaw-droppingly crazy about is at the very end (after a cool jazzy/operatic rendition of The Man I love) she turned to us and said, "I usually only do this for my Swedish and Finnish audiences..but you've been such a wonderful group". She then proceeded to get down on one knee. I thought- cute, she's like acknowledging us as the audience- deep diva bow on the floor.
And THEN--- she was in the SPLITS!

SPLITS! And yes, her dress was fine. She was wearing one of those hot Spanish themed things that is all stringy, so you can stick your legs out, but when you stand still it looks like one piece.

I can't get over it!

I turned to my friend and she said "grandma just did the splits". I think I said something like "holy jesus"...sorry.
Even though she does NOT look like a grandma--she is a lady of a certain age and most certainly looked no older than..well- does it even matter? She looked hot and younger than she is...so go her.
She's pretty much either a MILF or a GILF.

Oh, and her rep was the Hermit Songs, a set of songs from her homeland, Wolf spanishlieder, GRANADOS- LA MAJA y EL RUISENOR! (My current favoooorrrrite spanish piece), and then another set of spanish.
Encores were another homeland piece, That pretty Gypsey Song from Dvorjak (she dedicated it to the mothers since it's almost mother's day), and then the Man I love.

Loved it.
She had such poise. Such presence. Spun high, super chesty and awesome low, can travel through melismatic music seamlessly and effortlessly. If anything, it seemed like she was "warming up" in the first set, and could have gone on singing for hours by the end.

It was really an experience not to be forgotten quickly- especially those last 5 minutes!

24 April, 2007

new motivation

Yes, since just posting yesterday that I'm in a "down period of productivity" I suddenly have new projects. FUN!

A. Have to make a recording of an aria I've only sung for fun about 4 yrs. ago--by tomorrow or the next day. Why? To be considered for the role for next year. Why? Because I can't be released from our final dress rehearsal to go to NY and audition for it. Why? Because I don't have a dark night- even though there are two casts, I'm single cast (duh- my role is tiny).

B. Will be receiving scores of NEW Italian aria that I'm going to learn for my auditions next year (possibly) and other general recordings. And also will be receiving score of role for September. Oh yea, THAT'LL (not) distract me from learning that new page of Italian recit. Anything new in the future is always so much more exciting that what you have to learn for rehearsal later on that day.

C. Still have my hopes up about large-summer-famous-competition-abroad, because I know people who have received rejection emails already. I don't know anyone who has been accepted, and the forum posts are all very mysterious about whether people got in or not. It just says "yes, I heard. Good luck"...or something to that effect--for more than one person. So I don't know if that means they got a NO, or if they got a YES, OR if they know the director of the competition (from the current YAP he runs) and already know they're in.

D. I downloaded a kind of fun language program called BeforeYouKnowIt, byki.com (for FREE), that is basically a beginning or refresher course in appropriate vocab. in almost every language that you can think of. So now instead of watching law and order at midnight and one am, I'm quizzing myself on things like Die Kaffee, Die Kreditkarten, and other fun der die das vocabulary for restaurants, colors, hotels, and more.

E. Competitions. The promised post is still upcoming--after I learn this German aria and record it.

F. What can I say- I suppose I just love to be busy and challenged, and sometimes when I don't have anything going on and COULD be doing all of these things, I forget how great it feels to be motivated to do them.

catching up

As quickly as that money entered my account I decided to find it a better home. So my Stocks and long-term-don't-touch-it savings account are now 1,000 bucks richer each.

I'll have to wait until the rent rebate to go on a shopping spree or something..or...just pay for whatever apt. I end up subletting in NYC for 2.5 months.

I don't really feel like I'm "falling behind", but the title of the post suggests that I'm trying to catch up. Even with all of this free time, actually, probably BECAUSE of all of this free time, I have found myself in one of the most unproductive spells of the year.

Back in January with huge-role upcoming, next-year thoughts a-brewing, huge scenes looming, application deadlines for competitions and more--I was the most productive.

Now, even with a few deadlines looming and a few self-motivated letters and materials to be sent out, I have actually spent a large amount of time catching up on reading--mostly online, but still.
The daily ritual of reading the NYtimes is always there, but I've managed to distract myself and get to the bbc, sydney morning herald, ha'aretz.
So that's the news for the day.
Then there are the blogs---yummm! I do tend to wander far deeper than the links posted on the right would have you believe. I just don't have the energy to add them in alphabetical order to the sidebar...but rest assured that I travel through other blogs to even MORE blogs.
General google-ninja-ing. Lately it's been to research agents and opera houses in Germany in preparation for my summer of fun.

What I haven't done: Take a second glance at the recit that was cut and re-opened today. It's just two pages. Hopefully I'll know it tomorrow by 2:30.

What I also haven't done: worried any more about my furniture, where I'm moving, how I'm packing, what I'm taking, and whether it will all fit in my car.

At this point I'm assuming it'll work out. Don't know how--but I'll stay either positive, or oblivious or in denial.

Competitions--yes, I need to be rehearsing my arias again, and figuring out what I'm going to sing "for real"--rep. changes due any day now.

And also a post upcoming about: What to do/think/not to do when you know that someone in the competition is offering the SAME exact rep. (including starting piece--usually) as you are.

23 April, 2007

yay tax return!

I just checked my savings account and I have received both my state and federal tax return!
My account actually looks like it did at the beginning of September when I moved here with actual money to spend, stocks to invest in, and savings to make!

But what will I do with it?
Stocks, RothIRA and hsbc savings account.
Sometimes I forget that I have 'thousands' of dollars in places that I can't really access right now, but in an emergency or big life "thing" I could get at it with no penalty.

So it just looks like I'm poor when I miss my capital one credit card payment by ONE day, am charged 35 bucks penalty fee, AND end up having to pay 3thousand bucks in a day because of all of my flights to Europe this summer.

OK, better get started on researching the next hot stock.

21 April, 2007

like lemmings off the cliff

Today was the finals of a competition that I and two other resident artists recently competed in.

Or WAS it?

The preliminaries were last week, we all made it, and all assumed that the finals would be this following weekend. We had filled out request forms to be released from rehearsal WEEKS...no, months ago--when the competition deadline was--around December.

So we all left rehearsal today, took our quick showers, did our hair (well not the counter-tenor!), got our dresses, put the makeup on, made sure the music was in the right order, and got in the car to the competition.

We get to the venue, and the snacks, water, and sign-in ladies weren't there.
So we wonder--hmm, is it in this building? Yes.
And then I say---is it even this weekend?

Or are we all assuming that the finals were one week after the preliminaries?!!

YEP. That's what it turns out.
The finals are NEXT Saturday (ha), and it won't be a scheduling problem because we'll be in run-throughs by that time and rehearsal is only until 2:30. (My time to sing is 4:12).

I am usually SO on top of dates, times, being early, knowing everything. But this time, when there were three of us, I let the planning slide and left it up to the two singers who had times before me to figure out departure time, who was driving, etc---
too bad not one of us realized that the finals weren't even this weekend!

NEXT weekend I'll be dressing up, already warm from the run-through, and going to this thing to get it over with and maybe win a few bucks at the same time.

I've written about competitions before, but now that I'm doing a few BIG ones (still waiting to hear about finals, quarter finals, semi-finals, and other things from a few others too)...I remain convinced that there are some singers who are "competition winners", there is some rep. that's "competition winning rep", and there are also different types of competitions--
the ones run by little ole' guild ladies, and the ones run by famous opera singer teachers, and the ones run by an assembly of judges who are directors and teachers..
and each one has its own qualities- good and bad, with odds stacked for or against you, and pure luck AND talent having not much or everything to do with who wins.

So I just show up, sing pretty, and basta.
If they want to award me some dollars at the end, great. Euros- even better!

the goods

About a week and a half ago I sent an email to someone "in the know" who works with my current resident artist program, regarding agents in Italy and Germany. Asking this person if they could recommend anyone that I could sing for while I spend a month and a half there this summer.

I say "in the know" because in addition to their capacity in working with us as a coach in the program, this person is also connected to a pretty highly named European agency, and COULD pull strings if they were on your side and had seen your talent.

The response I got was something like:
"You can definitely send me a cd of your best recording and I
will give it to my colleague in Europe. I do like your voice and I loved
your doll in Hoffmann so I will say that, but because your voice is so
unique, you have to expect that people might have different reactions. if my colleague thinks that he can't sell a voice like yours, there is not too much I will be able to do from here. "

OK. I understand about being cautious. I understand that this person only heard me in the doll. I understand that my voice is "unique"(umm,,,thought that was a good thing!). So while the reply email (which was longer and offered much valuable information) was not NEGATIVE, and saying, No I won't send your stuff...it was not---YES, of course give me your materials I'm sure something can be worked out.
It was cautionary at best. The kind of- don't-get-your-hopes-up, but I guess I'll try and put your name out there just to see type of help.

Well, today I dropped off my CD and materials at said person's house.
2 hours later I receive an email of a VERY different nature.

Have you sung for so and so? I'm going out of town next week and would be happy to bring your CD along (So-and-so being 2 of the biggest opera companies in the US with very high level resident artist programs). My colleague in Italy wants to meet you and wants you to sing for them...can you arrange a trip to Italy while you're in Germany? bla bla bla...


So my recording is either "that good" or showed off that I can do stuff WELL besides the doll... (meanwhile, it took me a WHILE to decide what to put on it..because I thought it would just be sent to that one person...)
I sent:
Doll, Queen (both with orchestra from my live recordings), and then I sent piano of DurchZ, A Zarzuela, and Zerbie.

Didn't realize I had 3 Germans on there until I dropped it off, but those really are my best recordings in terms of piano and I wanted to show that I could do "normal" Mozart/Soubrette stuff with the DurchZ, crazy coloratura stuff with Zerbie, and awesome Queen stuff with the orchestra recording.
And that I rocked at doll.
And then the zarzuela is the only LOW and LEGATO thing I have right now.

What is the moral of this experience?

Well, I'm not SO sure yet, but here is my idea about it. People can have very strong perceptions of what your voice can or can't do, who you are, what you sound like, and everything about you---before they hear you in anything, or after just hearing you in one role. How many people who have only heard me in the doll think that I can ONLY sing the doll?

I'm GLAD that my recordings (even though I've spent no money on them, and have used a minidisk or what I could grab from live performances with friends and family in the audience holding my minidisk) can prove othewise, but I also wonder how many people may have that general perception (even though they MAY receive regular updates about my roles sung, etc), that I am just the "doll" with freakish high notes.

Here's to proving them wrong and having the goods on the CD to show for it.

19 April, 2007

a week later...

I have my first day of rehearsal today. The show has already been in rehearsals for a week, but since I only come in during Act III and IV I have had PLENTY of time off, including my PLENTY of time off after Lakme. But do I know my part by heart yet? No, but before 4pm today I will!

I mean, I know it in that magical-I-didn't-ever-have-to-study-it,-but-somehow-it's-in-my-head -way.
And so I need to make sure that if the magic disappears that I can still call upon it and "know" it.

Just spend 450 MORE dollars on plane tickets for my upcoming competitions in May. Yes, these are the ones AFTER the NY ones which I'm driving across the country for.

I don't even want to know how much my credit card bills will be with the Europe trips, plus the recent Midwest audition plus the Southern/Midwest upcoming competition tickets.


At least I "have" it available in my savings account. If I didn't that would be another story.

And I'm being "peer pressured" into going to Australia again---this July, before special someone moves halfway across the world to finish his phd research.

17 April, 2007

feeeeedback, new arias, and craigslist

In backwards order:
I just put up all of my furniture for sale on Craigslist.
I HOPE someone wants it inthe next 20-odd days, or else, uhh, I don't know how I'm driving cross country with just my clothes and books!!

Had a coaching today and ended up talking about new Italian arias, and how most of my auditions it's easy to tell what the panel will choose 2nd, but many time I feel like they find it a problem with my "showy" coloratura arias.
They always ask for something legato.
HOWEVER in their haste to write off the "showy" arias, they forget that OVER half of Lakme is legato, OTHEr sections of Zerbie are legato, DURCH ZARTLICHKEIT is legato, and so are many many parts of other arias that I sing.
But I still get the feeling that they ask for Oscar to hear the low and legato, and O luce to SUFFEr through the rest of the aria after they hear the Italian recit.

So what can I do? Well, find a piece that will add some Italian legato--NOT like I avoid it!!! I just don't have a piece for a Lyric like Piangero or Pamina's aria that is ALL line and no coloratura.

My best pieces have legato AND some fireworks.
Frustrating, yes, but the truth.

So I think I found one from a not-so-often done, and very-recently-published opera/vocal score.

If I like it. Don't know yet.

And finally, feeeedback. I say that like somehow it quenches my hunger to know what someone thought of me.
Which it really doesn't. If it's relevant, it's relevant. If not, it was that day and their perception.
So today it was relevant. It was a "pleasure" for them to hear me, my top notes are "freakishly easy", bla bla bla..all things I already know so it's not really worth writing them here--but still nice to hear them coming from a person in the business that matters to my future possible hiring.

I DID think a lot about being asked to sing parts of 4 arias yesterday, and how I SHOULD have taken a water break.
Because even though I had a great audition, I should have felt comfortable enough to take a little break..but instead I felt like I'd break the flow of something if I stopped, so I just trucked along. And it was absolutely fine. But it would have maybe been MORE fine had I stopped for a breather between Glitter and Oscar!

And so I learn more and new things. When you're going to an opera house to sing for them, it's nothing like the NYC "factory" that is outside in the hallways filled with singers and managers. It's relaxed. They are on their home turf, and it seemed much more cordial and pleasant.

Of course, that also could have been because it was an 'agented audition'...hmm...
More to come with thoughts on that.

16 April, 2007

home early

I managed to catch an earlier flight from MidWest audition (no, it wasn't chicago,gp, you KNOW I'd call you up if it was!!!!).

I sang 2nd V. of doll, Queen(#2), Glitter (2nd half --the talking to the end), and Oscar.

I will say that I wasn't vocally TIRED by the end, but I was feeling it a BIT. So I kicked the drama into higher gear because I was feeling a bit like- "hmm...singing low and legato after 3 show-pieces..this kinda sucks!!! Wow! At least the legato still sounds good and I'm making an attempt for dynamics!"

Anyway- didn't get feedback, and won't since that was an "agented audition"..I'm going to have to come up with a more interesting name than managed audition (since I'm not), and "agented" may be it for now.

But what I did get was- lovely to hear you, you sound great, I'm glad I heard you, I'll definitely think about you for upcoming la di dah...

So that was nice.
Who knows. Perhaps not what I was put up for, but something in the future.

And now I'm back in my same old extremely disorganized mess of a room.
OH YEA--and I got into the finals of a semi-local competition- along with 2 other Resident Artists!
And there are only 4 finalists in the vocal category!

Way to sweep the competition RAPpers.

15 April, 2007


While the Nor'East may be bracing for one huge storm, I'll be flying to the MidWest today for a mainstage audition for '09.

I'll leave in two hours for the airport, but right now I'm not leaving my bed yet.

Because I didn't schedule a heavy audition season this year (4 total), and we have sung for only a few agents throughout the year at current-yap, I feel actually a bit rusty about auditioning. Not with my repertoire or presentation, but rusty on getting to the point where I walk into an audition, and it's just another audition and I don't care that much.

I mean, of course I care. But my body, my body language, any nerves that decide to mess with me--just the routine of it all is rusty to me, and it's routine that keeps me from feeling anxious about what is coming up.

When I walk into an audition I like to be on top of my game. And I pretty much always feel that vocally-- except if I'm sick. I know who I'm singing for, I know what they're casting, I know which coloratura they had in their program last year, I know which one will want to return this year, and in essence, the one I'm singing against right now to hopefully win a spot in a certain young artist program. (well, those are for YAP auditions).

This is for mainstage, AND I'm being sent by an agent, so I have a new banner over my head.
How do I feel about that?
Wow- who knew that having MY NAME, COMMA, AGENT NAME, could open so many door and feel so different.
The first time (audition1, NYC a few weeks ago) was a breeze- sing durchZ, kick butt, sing Oscar, kick more butt. Wait and see.

No, I am not managed.
This whole firstname lastname that's besides MYname is the work of a wonderful person in this business who I had the opportunity of meeting online and in real life, and this person happens to want to help me after hearing about my situation with next year. Which I'm assuming means that this person believes in my talent enough to put their brand name next to MYname on my materials, and send them out on my behalf.

I do agree that I'm a bit on the "young" side to be managed in GENERAL, but my voice and my experience so far is NOT GENERAL.
I've sung a MAJORITY of the roles that I will continue to sing in my career already--on pretty important main-stages. And if I haven't sung it fully yet, I'm close to memorized and ready to go (Zerbie)

I have not done any official auditions for management, I don't know whether I will do that this fall or not or whether it's even necessary. It's not even something I'm thinking about right now, when my goal really is to fill Jan-May of '08 with mainstage and THEN think about YAPs for next summer.

Am I making the transition from a young artist to a mainstage artist?
Well, I HOPE so, but in the meantime, it's not stopping me from thinking about sending out applications to the biggest summer and season YAPs which I have not necessarily ever auditioned for before, and if I have, it was over 2 years ago.
There are still four companies out there (summer and year) which I've NEVER sung for, and they're pretty big and important, and it's never worked out in my schedule to do either their prelims or finals or both.

So it's a thought in the back of my head, but it's ALSO a thought to talk to current-boss and see if they're actually scheduling their Abduction for '09 and if they'll consider me for it!

Wow, I just went on a large tangent.
Back to the audition.
I'm not nervous. I just don't have that feeling of waking up in NYC for the 18th time and thinking, when is this audition season OVER? Can I go back to sleep now? Ok, let's get this over with...
Which is a great feeling to have when you're singing great, you have confidence, and you couldn't care less about what happens because you KNOW you'll get something because you're putting it all out there and it's the BEST you have.

OK, so that inspired me to TRY and feel that way anyway--maybe going off of my last mainstage performance.
It will be the best I have.
And I'll love it.
AND I get a day off and free dinner and a night in a Kingsized bed in a cool downtown hotel!

14 April, 2007

more plans

This must be just about the most boring blog to read about during this time period when I'm pretty much manic about my life next year and whether it will be filled with wonderous musical performances, or not-so-wonderous temp jobs.

Ok, a new plan has been added. Concerts.
Things like the Poulenc's and the Orff's and other concert standards I've performed before.
Google who is doing them.
See if they're "cast"- most likely with smaller regional orchestras or ballet companies- NO, and then send them my stuff.

So far I've found 6 places that are possibly not cast yet (at least the websites don't have any information about who could be singing them). OK. One afternoon of research down, many more to go.

12 April, 2007


Just googled plan..whatever letter it is below...regarding mother-country opera and they are doing NO shows next season that have coloratura sopranos in them!!!
Ok, to be fair they're doing Dido and Aeneas so if I wanted to pull out Belinda (NOT in the audition of course) I could...it's not even listed on my resume anymore b/c it's so small.

But everything else is Butterfly, Gioconda, Forza, a world premiere that I'm sure has been cast for a number of years, and generally nothing else..oh yea, and Onegin.

Ok, cross that plan off.

Best send those cover letter after all.

11 April, 2007

more decisions

Today I printed out four cover letters that I COULD send to four opera companies to request a late May audition, while I drive back cross country through their city.
Well, what keeps going through my head is what my plans are beginning January 08.
It's nice to be a blank slate, but as my type A personality wills me to always have a plan, I'm trying to make some plans based on things that could happen.

Plan A:
Mother-country opera gives me a gig in Jan-May of 2008. I end audition season in NYC, and then get to do whatever I want until going back for that gig, and I don't worry about filling up my Spring 08 with shows or not.

Plan B:
One of the places where my materials were sent over the past 3 months calls person-who-sent-them up, and wants to hire me for one of their 2008 shows. Again, I feel no pressure after NYC audition season, and I just do that gig.

Plan C:
I have such a great time studying language and being in Europe this summer that I do an official tour for a few months and see what happens.

Plan D:
One of these four companies still hasn't cast their entire Sprin 08 season yet and wants to hear me in May.
I know it's completely past the season of auditions, but I'm driving through their city...if they're there, why NOT ask?

Plan E:
I pick a city (probably the one that I did my undergrad in), call upon my previous connections, keep working, and hope I have an awesome audition season for summer programs and mainstage Fall 08.

Plan F:
Anything else that happens to me between now and Jan.of 08- like maybe getting into one of the residency programs that begins in January or April or anything else.

Those are the possible plans so far. There are MANY more ideas. But these are the frontrunners and ones that I hope will materialize. Of course, unfortunately I have very little to do with whether they actually do happen- besides auditions that have not passed yet. But isn't that always the case?
You do your best, and wait. And while you wait, hopefully you made enough money at your last gig to support this singing habit.

That's why I have 3 US competitions and 3 International Competitions upcoming, and grant requests in the mail.

So I think I'm covering my bases as much as possible.

I think in the near future I'm going to have a sit-down with current-boss about where the co. sees my voice going, what their possible future rep. is, and whether they would consider me for something upcoming, or do they want to continue the trend of giving their YAPpers a bit of space to develop for a year or two before hiring them back for mainstage.

I'm watching the end of Top Design right now.
I want to live in Carissa's loft.

10 April, 2007

show me the money

And for 1400 MORE dollars I get to fly to said places that I'm going to this summer.
I don't even want to think about what my airline tickets have cost me since January, but I'd easily say it was upwards of 1200 dollars. Thank GOODNESS they were all for auditions and shall be written off next year's taxes.

Now, do I get to deduct 1,000 of the 1400 because I'll have an "audition" in mother-country where I'm going to take a large vaycay as well?


First day of rehearsal went smoothly today. Not like I sing much, but I sat quietly and politely with a borrowed Castel, filling in the parts of Susanna I haven't translated over the years from my scenes assignments and failed forays into memorizing the entire role, because I hope I'll eventually be singing the role at some point in my life (I hope, or otherwise my hand is tired from writing for nothing!)

09 April, 2007

last opera o' the season

Tomorrow we begin rehearsals for the last opera of the season.
Do I know my part? Well, I do in English! But that won't help me too much when I'm singing recits in Italian tomorrow at the run-through.

I spent this morning emptying out my bank account to pay for what will be probably the most productive summer I've had all of my life in terms of language immersion. I hope it's worth it as much as I hope my career travel abroad in the near future.

I'm a bit nervous about sending that large of a check in the mail, so I paid the extra 20bucks to send it priority with tracking and signatures and all that--and if they don't like it on the other end--well TOO BAD!

Plus, I learned new things at the bank today about getting a transfer of funds in Euros, versus wiring money.

First is 15 bucks, second is 45! First is immediate, 2nd can take up to a week!

No thanks! I'll stick with option number one and hope that the money gets there!

On the personal life front, things got really rocky last night until about 2am. And now it's ok again..for now. Maybe.
It's this long distance. Don't try it kids. Especially not for 4 years. Unless you have a really really great plan for life and a lot of patience.

On the holy-crap-what-am-i-doing-with-my-life-next-year front,
I my summer plans are pretty much 100% concrete.

I leave here the 14th. Arrive in NYC for competitions the 16th. Sing for another competition in the midwest the 21st. And yet another one in the midwest the 24th.
Leave for home-country-motherland on the 26th.
Leave for summer immersion and audition tour on June 22nd.
And return to the states for my best friend's wedding on Jul.28th.
That's all folks. That's my exciting summer.

And then the next season? The rest of the year?
Ok, return to current-yap as a PRINCIPAL artist, move to NYC for 2.5months (cooooool!) and do as many auditions for mainstage and yaps and raps as I can...while also I SUPPOSE getting SOME sort of temp job (cringe) or other project to work on.
I'm SO much more qualified than a temp job!!!! Can I just put that out there?!!! I wish I could be working on outsourced grantwriting projects, or policy research, or assisting professors....LORD what I wouldn't give for something like that.

OK, onward.
January 2008 through the rest of my life- a large and oh-so-fun-to-doodle-on blank slate.

If I get hired in home-land-mother-country, that would be great.
If I get hired for small-US-regional company, that would be great.
If I move back to city-of-undergrad and find work singing a bit and working a bit, that would be great too.
If I move to KYOTO to be with my boy, be a tourist and see some Buddhist temples for a few months, that's great too (as long as I have the money of course!)


So. I've been back and forth every other day about how I feel about this. One day scared, another excited, another unprepared and wishing I did more auditions this year, another completely over the young artist/resident artist scene and starting to make a career for myself as a mainstage singer...and excited about it!

Today- excited.

07 April, 2007


I have 43 pages of "material". Yes, that includes lists of things, and thoughts that are complete ramblings in blog-esque form. But it also includes 10 pretty clearly written pages as a start.

I'd like to keep this on the "lighter" end of writing motifs, but include the information that is needed in a clear and concise way.

In crappy weather news, Spring has decided to go into hiding, and it's about 20 degrees outside, and has been for the past 4 days.
What is going on!?!??!
I already packed up all of my sweaters and warm jackets (see SPRING CLEANING post below!!!!)

So I've been inside. Yes. Inside all day.
But being productive. Except not moving at all from two spots. The couch and my bed.
And I wonder why I can't fall asleep until 3am.

Actually, with the amount of writing, revising, etc. that I've done today I actually feel like I could fall asleep right now.

06 April, 2007

taking the plunge

I MAY be doing it finally. Writing the book or handbook or that thing to be published about the things which I know about which could help singers.

05 April, 2007

back at home

Zerbinetta as a starter- felt pretty good. Sang really well. Room was very nice as was the vibe. Didn't feel SO artistic about it, but knew that it was "on" and "acted".
So I dont' know.

Then when I listed my other arias I got "can I hear something legato"--so while there are sections of legato in each of those arias, I suppose the Oscar is the most legato (although now that I think about it the DurchZ is, but whatever)

Sang it. Went really well.
Got a "you'll make a wonderful Oscar next year" comment.

And that's it.
And that's when I started thinking---thinking that I've been on this performance high and these audition highs because I've been doing things to try and set up my life next year.

And now I just feel not high. I know it can be post-performance depression/letdown, but I DO have things upcoming and I AM excited about them.

What I waver between being excited and freaked out about is the same thing. What my life will be like in January. And where I'll be.
I know where I'll be in September, October, November, and December---mostly auditioning plus and upcoming opera.

But then what?

More thoughts on this later maybe.
For now, translating the next opera.

agent audition

Later today I have an audition for an agent who is coming to see the opera tonight.
I have never officially pursued agents, although I've certainly written about my experiences and auditions for the ones that have come here and heard the resident artists, but I do always think it's important to know who you are about to sing for.

So I went to this agent's website and noticed that on his roster (well, not his, but the company), were two young-ish sopranos who do all of the coloratura/soubrette rep. One has done two roles in the past two years that I'm going to be repeating in the next 6 months, in the exact same productions--different locations.

And one I've always followed her voice, from the US to overseas.

So what does that leave me with? Either the chance to sing my "opening" aria of this year- which is pretty much in direct "competition" with these girls--who are already managed and famous....

OR- the chance to sing my "opening" aria as something that neither of them could sing AND that is not represented on their roster:

A Zerbinetta.

Of COURSE I will not sing all 12 minutes of it.
But I'm strongly considering (and will most likely not change my mind about) beginning with the So war es mit Pagliazzo and going through to the end---
about 6 minutes or so.

And to offer queen, and other roles with the F's and "true coloratura" (Lakme) that these other girls don't have--EVEN though the rep that I would normally sing includes all of the coloratura roles that these two girls sing.

I'm never attached to my starter aria---the only reason I changed it to DurchZ this year was because I was getting sick of Chacun--even though I was getting great feedback with it.

So maybe from now on I'm moving into real coloratura-land for my openers---and they'll just have to assume that DUH since I can hit that E or F I can also sing the Mozart "maids" and other coloratura/soubrette cute borderline things.

That is, except when I audition for a program that I know will be doing Abduction in a certain city I want to be in, in a certain year and a half.

03 April, 2007

sneaky opera news

I don't usually make it a point to google-search myself THAT often (except when my website was being built and I wanted to see if it was the first thing that would pop up).
Today I received an email from an opera subscriber who attended the Lakme matinee. He said that he was a regular poster to some online forums that discussed productions and performances, etc--so I naturally assumed it was either Opera-L or Opera News Standing Room, and that there had been some nice discussions and reviews of me not only in this but in two previous roles I've done- one here and one 2 yrs ago.

I'll sometimes check in on these websites (once or twice a year for a specific production if I hear there is chatter about it), but they are not pages I go to very often.

He emailed out of the blue after finding my website and congratulated me on my performance. Which was of course so lovely and nice, and I wrote him back thank you email, since it's always nice to get these kinds of comments from strangers ;)

And then I made my way over to those forums, and google-searched my name inside their archives along the way.

All I have to say is WOAH! That's pretty cool. First of all, I found an online review of our Hoffmann that I had NO idea was even written!!! So I get to add that to my website "press" pages--and it's from Opera News!!!

And second, it was refreshing to read reviews, thoughts, impressions not only on the voice, but on production, costuming, and conducting.

So often I just get a review of myself vocally from my coach, conductor or boss.
And of course I KNOW how I THINK I did, but I'm not sure if it got across to the audience.

Well, on Sunday it did.

02 April, 2007

weekend update

Ok, so I couldn't wait until tomorrow because I can't sleep (even though there is a beautiful man in my bed right now)...he's asleep though, and I SHOULD be as I'm taking him to the airport at 4am.

Friday- Family and boy arrive. We have lunch, dinner, I sing with Mallika on Public Access tv (the flower duet), and then we relax for the evening. I AM able to sleep.

Saturday- meet the fam and boy for Brunch. Spend the rest of the day writing thank you cards, going through words to the opera in my head, thinking about not being nervous, and warming up around 5pm for about an hour--slowly, deliberately, and singing small pieces of all of the role.

Saturday night- no hope for any sleep.
I look over at the clock about every hour even though I'm in bed by midnight.
I start going through the words to the show in my head hoping that I'll nod off. No, instead I finish the show and still can't sleep.

TODAY- wake up around 9:30am. Shower and warm up at the same time. 10:45- off to the theater. I am always the first one there. It's how I like it, whether I have to warm up or not.

I have posted about being nervous before, your body betraying you while your mind is "at peace", your mind betraying you while your body does fine.
Today I got over it. Really. I felt EXCITED before the show. Not "mojo FU ala nfcs" excited, but really just happy. Happy with the family that was here. Happy that I'd be doing what I have wanted to be doing for SO SO long onstage in the next 3 hours.
The first offstage lines I feel my heart racing.
When the temple doors open I feel my knees knocking a bit.
But the voice never failed me. It was clear as a bell, no effort, no crazy nervousness in the throat, nothing.

After my first little "ditty" with "daddy", my Nilakantha exited and as he did so, whispered "you're doing great" in my ear. And it just made my heart melt. This cast and the resident artists have been so absolutely supportive of me. It's not often that one of us gets to do such a big role, and what he said just made everything disappear except for me and my character for the next 3 acts.

From there everything went smoothly.
Flower duet- Felt the good energy, felt the big 2.
Pourquoi- Had the dramatic tension and resolutions it needed. I'll listen to the recording but there may have been ONE sforzando that I ended early and caught myself on.
First duet- A lot of energy and reality.

Act II--the aria!
The cadenza--oh, the cadenza.
Of course who WON"T tell you that they're amazing in the practice room.. Well, I won't. I NEVER get off pitch for this with piano in a practice room. ONCE in rehearsals I ended up a quarter tone sharp.
Today was no exception--Ended BAM on that high and low E. YEA.
The aria: Such good energy. After the last E the crowd pretty much just kept clapping ...for a really long time (I'll see how much on my illegal MD recording of it when I get around to listen)...and I just held it and smiled. It felt amazing.

ActII duet and aria--this is where I felt it really came together. All of my low(er) duets after the aria were always the most challenging for me. From singing high E's to having to really shape the passagio-area ditties.
It was HOTTT if I do say so myself.
(after this act my conductor knocked on my dressing room door, and said brava--it was the best it's ever been).

Act III- yes, up there 8 feet in the air in our bungalow hideaway:
AGAIN, the slow and LOW Berceuse that I worried about was a piece of cake.
Floating the high C at the end was magical. I got a little hairpin crescendo decrescedo in there as well. Just really really pretty.

And then it just went on like that--two more mini-arias, the death scene..final duet...and that's it.

Just like that the night was over.

I was beaming.
So were my bosses and colleagues.

This is why I love my "job". It's not even a job. I just created art tonight that will never be captured again. I told someone a story. I moved someone for the first time. I put all of that hard learning, French studying, passagio work, coaching, diction, rehearsal...everything---into what I did tonight.
And I felt wonderful about it.

And now I can't sleep and still have to wake up in 4 hours.