21 June, 2007

ok, bye for realz...

no, no, don't be alarmed... I'm not leaving 4evah, just leaving vaycay-locale number 1 tonight at 2am, and thought I'd say a parting adieu

-to my uncle's computer from which I've been blogging and checking my email for the past 3 weeks (well, that is when he's not checking his stocks for hours until 11pm our time here every night),
-to the stray kittens (3) that were born in the backyard and now finally believe that we are not out to trample over them, but instead give them milk and cheese and leftover chicken,
-to the days at the beach trying to just get a tan on my legs and ending up with many more freckles on my face and shoulders than planned,
-to the afternoon naps when I tried to not fall asleep while learning the next opera I am supposed to memorize (and then fell asleep until 4:30),
-to visiting family that I only get to see once a year if I'm lucky
-to wandering around cities that were built hundreds of years ago and that have more than a thousand years of history and conquest within their walls,
-to the modern and technologically advanced cellphones that never stop ringing in public no matter where you are,
-to the foods that I'll love to miss all next year until the next time,
-to a well-deserved vacation after a hard year of work, but also the beginning of a month that's more my style:

Crazy. Busy. Fast. Packed. School. Auditions. Museums. Opera. Day trips. Paris. Art. Cafes. Jet-setting. The life.

20 June, 2007

2nd favorite map website

This one!

I typed in the street I'll be studying on, the street I'll live on, and the street where my hotel is for the first 2 nights.
And the scrolling is superb-along with the helpful attractions listed on each corner. Yeaaaah!

Also just printed out my train tickets from Munich to Verona and Venice, ON A4 paper I might add, (as instructed!)

And I may have a 2nd packing wind to try and fit all of those clothes back into the suitcases today.

Now all that's left is figuring out Munich to Vienna- I'll save that possible headache/expense for July.

it's the most wonderful time...of the..

No, It's not Christmas, the holiday that I've already celebrated three weeks before and gotten eight cheesy presents including probably socks and an opera DVD that is fach-inappropriate my from my parents.

It's googlemap time!

I received the address of where I"ll be staying in Germany and I immediately checked out the neighborhood. I'm really excited because it looks like a WALK (not an S or U bahn ride) away from where my classes will be, and it's next door to the Musikhochschule (sweeeeet- hope I can practice for free there, or even find a coach to sing with a bit), a 10 min. walk from the main train station (for all of my get-out-of-town-and-go-exploring needs), and also about a 10 minute walk from the Opera House at which I hope to attend as many performances as I can of the summer opera festival.

So while I'm having a grand old time on my post-hometown-vaycay-vaycay in Verona and Venice next week, there shall be little blogging due to the fact that I shall not bring my computer with me. (probably). Yes, it's time. I can do it. One week with no lappylaptop, and here's hoping that our B&B's and hotels have internet access so I can at least check my email every few days!!

18 June, 2007

SIS for serious and travel plans

Sweeeet--- In that magical-it's-memorized kind of way, I have the first 49 pages and the Act III quintet of opera-number-one memorized!!!
Did I "try"?
Well, not really. Not like writing down what my lines are and going through them in my head every few hours of every day.
But it's there! Hey, I HAVE reviewed it passively (ie, as I'm falling asleep for my afternoon nap) every day for about 1.5 hrs.
I'm attributing the quintet memorization to the fact that I've already sung it (9 years ago). Woah, that is weird.

But the first scene? That's just plain there-- so woo hoo!

In upcoming-month-of-insanity-and-learning news,

I heard back from the VIPs that I needed to hear back from.
I can now buy train or plane tickets for everywhere I need to be, sing and study through June 30th.
It is also "decided" from the responses in the emails that I will have to end up taking trains to the competition that's 5 hrs away, instead of a flight.

The flight (round trip if I make it for the ENTIRE competition from Monday-Sunday) is 114 dollars.
Guess what it is ONE way if I want to buy just that since I don't know how far I'll get in the competition? 533! NOT KIDDING.

Trains aren't any better, because if I reserved NOW it would be about 70 Euros each way, but if I do it the day before (which is the only time I"ll know when I need to be there or not), it jumps to 130 each way. Euros. Ouch.

The ONLY thing that makes these prices OK (well, not the 530 dollar flight, but the 5 hour expensive trains) is the fact that I have people to stay with so I won't be paying for a hotel.

And hey, I've read all of those posts on nfcs about how great it is to find a train compartment all to yourself and warm up in one--so maybe that's what I'll take advantage of- at least on the way there.

That's all for now.
I'm kind of looking forward to trying to pack all of my clothes and books back into those 2 suitcases and hoping that they are not over the weight limit (again) for my upcoming flights. I'm looking forward to only having to deal with a carry-on suitcase for the next week, and traveling during my week before the learning really begins, and of course, looking forward to the learning as well!

16 June, 2007

e-life update

It's a LITTLE better. I still hate waking up and having hours to wait before the East Coast of America wakes up and decides to email me...or not.
(Mostly not) H8trs!!!

I received a response regarding a kindof important inquiry, and also an invitation to house me during a kindof (same kindof) important competition that is upcoming...and...hmm...well, I suppose I should be singing and practicing for it more than I have for the past 2 weeks- which, has been, besides my one audition, none.

Still no response from more sources that I'd definitely like to hear from before this Thursday, my departure date from current-country-of-vaycay and my arrival date at future-country-of-study.

15 June, 2007

e-life mini rant

When I send you an email and it's still "work" hours in your country, I KNOW that you're receiving it. I know also that you are not on vacation, because you sent me an email last week!
My questions don't require a degree in laser technology or quantum physics to answer. They require 5 minutes of thought, and then a response.

I've been waiting 10 days now, after 2 emails sent from e-offender-number-one. Three from numer two. And about a week from eight others although they get more time because they actually have to review my materials and schedule things.
And yesterday and today I've sent out numerous emails already and no response! I know you're at work, people! How many emails could you POSSIBLY be receiving???

Are you really going to make me call you long distance?

I'm simply trying to get the next month in order and you're not being very helpful.
So, please, get on task and check your email and respond to me!

thkx, Luvya4evr, lol, ttyl

13 June, 2007

SIS progress

Ok, besides the one line interjections every few pages that are all minor thirds, or octave jumps up and down and that require me to pay attention to other people's lines and my entrances with counting, I can get through the entire role of Opera-I-Need-to-learn-number-one without really batting an eyelash.
No, it's not memorized. But it COULD be! If I were memorizing.

I forgot that when I was 16 I sang the quintet scene. It was actually the first real "review" I got on Opera-L. (It's still there I think). Something about this 16 year old is someone to look out for..bla bla bla..coloratura...bla bla bla..energetic, talented, la di dah.

And I have NO memory of doing it or learning it except for the outfit I wore (wow- let's not even talk about that), ok lets--- My hair in a low ponytail to look like a servant. Black capri pants with white stockings underneath them.
My mom's oversized 80s white blouse with a front ruffle, and a purple suede sleeveless vest- unbuttoned.
And I have the pics to prove it.

Opra-Number-Dos-that-I'm-needing-to-learn is on its way to this country in the correct language, and until then I have fun with the German score and listening to the best Mozart overture ever. Ok, in my opinion ever.

AND in "agented" news, a competing offer for a role I've already sung for a bunch more money, but I'm turning it down to do Opera-Number-Dos because:

a. I need and want to add this role to my repertoire, and the other role I already know and have performed and have a great recording of, to prove to anyone that I can sing it already.

b. Role Dos will show people I can be a character actress and not just an automaton and it is becoming more popular in the US (especially in the last year) to perform this opera.

c. Although contracts can come and go in this business, I still have a bit of respect for them, and even though it's hard to say no to almost triple the pay, I like to keep good relations with these companies and I do have respect for putting my name down to something.
(If it were quadruuuuuple the money, that would be another story- because that would pay my NY audition fees and sublet for the next 3 years!)

d. If I can't have the best of both worlds (even though I think I could easily be "plugged in" to ANY production--even the day before--- singing the role which I have been offered by this other company), then I'll take something new and challenging at this stage rather than repeating something I've done- because it can only expand my repertoire, my marketability, my artistic experience, and I love love love Opera-Dos.

Not to say that I want to be a starving artist forever. But just this one time I'm sticking to it for the role.
So, I can't really sing that good ole' rap lick: "I did it all for the ....." (MONEY!!!)

But I know I'm making the right decision.

12 June, 2007

yes pareeee holds the key, to...her...


What non-disney animated movie am I from?
If you guessed Anastasia you're correct! Oh Dmitri, you were such a hot cartoon character.

So yes, it's almost 99% sure that special someone and I will be able to spend a whole lovely weekend in Paris while I'm abroad. He'll come visit his family (here--- go figure we couldn't make this overlap) first, and then on the way back to the US, he'll fly through Paris, which I will also fly to, and it will just be one big magical rage for 2 days and 2 nights in the city of lights!!!

Haven't been there in such a long time! Can't wait. And we may even have a free place to stay-bonus!

Not even going to TOUCH the possibility of doing auditions there with a ten foot pole!

Chocolate Croissants, walks in the gardens, and the Marais, here we come :)

ok, fine.

I got over my "but will I be able to schedule it" syndrome this morning while I was perusing Operabase for future performances in 2008Jan. and beyond.

There are opera houses nearby that have uncast (well, in Operabase) Ballos, Ariadnes, and more things that are appropriate, and I just sent their Kunstlerichesbetriebsburo (that is SO not spelled right, but it's the KBB and possibly the hardest word I'll have to pronounce while I'm in Germany) people an email requesting an audition.

Singing for houses is much for fun than singing for agents who may or may not send you out for house auditions! So I hope they get back to me and it is a "ja".

Plus, it's an excuse to take trains to cities in Germany and Austria that I would otherwise probably not have visited.

11 June, 2007

the waiting game

Last night I sent 8 emails out to German theaters and agents to set up auditions when I arrive in a few weeks.
Now I wait.
One response from the ZBF bounced back- great. I've looked everywhere online and the email address to which I sent it to is that one that is always listed. I guess I'll have to contact them by phone or fax when I arrive.
Another response- we don't accept email audition inquiries, plus we need to hear you more than once.
Ok, I get that these people don't KNOW that I'm only going to be there for a month, but would travel back there at the drop of a hat after January.

I have mixed feelings about these auditions (if they happen) in general. First, of course I want to sing for them. Because I know it'll be great as usual and I'll be happy about it and I love auditioning anyway.
Next, I'm not sure how my actual schedule will work out and when my class time will be (morning or afternoon), and when I could even possibly sing for these people.
I don't want to miss SO much class just to do an audition. Of course I'm only really contacting people in the city I'll be in, so it probably won't be that complicated.
Still, I'd almost rather just like to focus on my studies there, even though the reason that I'm doing these studies is to be more comfortable so that I can work there one day.
So yes, I want to sing for them. But no, I don't want it to complicate everything.
Yes, I want to hear back from these emails saying we want to hear you. But I'm apprehensive about them getting back to me with set dates that I will then (maybe) not be able to make.

This shouldn't be so annoying, but for some reason it is- because I'm not THERE already to figure all this out. Because it's not about talking to people on the phone or by email in a language that I'm 100% comfortable with.
Because I'm all about scheduling and being on top of things--and this seems like the great unkown.

I'm not stressed really, just have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, I spent from 11am-4pm either laying out and reading Candide (always, always, something I love to pick up again no matter where I am), or going to the Beach and swimming--hoping that somehow my legs will be less ghostly white at the end of this vacation!

09 June, 2007

shakin' that thing part one maybe

So I got over the "ouch my most of me" from yesterday.
Today I did the workout dvd again, and this time I was able to do about 37 out of the 54 minutes.
NOT a bad improvement from feeling like I want to pass out at 20 minutes last time, PLUS I didn't skip any sections like I did two days ago (squats and lunges- I hate you so).

Will I really get on a kick of trying to do this every other day? Or maybe even EVERY day ? (gasp!)

Well, I suppose it depends on how I feel tomorrow, doesn't it now!

The reason I worked out today is simple. Pure guilt.
We had a cookout last night with all the cousins and their husbands and the little ones, and although I was able to curb my pita intake, I could NOT curb my most favorite childhood dessert intake- I hadn't seen this cake since my grandmother made it for us when I was probably less than age 8.

Ugat Biskvitim.

I know- sounds like something Borat would call his sister-in-law, but actually it's a most delicious frozen chocolate/sugar/crushed biscuit delicacy. YUM. I had many more pieces than necessary.

And weirdly enough, I happened to see what my progress in kilos was today. It's so much LESS exciting when you lose about a kilo as opposed to 2.2 pounds, because you're still the same "big" number--only the decimal point changes.
So after gorging myself on the cake and other fine foods, I was down 3/4 of a kilo. Not bad for not trying at all.
Maybe with the workout thing and trying to curb my insatiable appetite for the cuisine of this region I'll get closer to that magic number that is under a certain number.

So today's lesson is:
Project 'Shake that thing' is really not that hard. I have the time to do it. And it's not as bad as I think it will be right before I decide to start the dvd, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be when I finish the dvd.

And maybe I'll still get to eat all the Ugat Biskvitim that I want IF I shake that thing ;)

ouch my most of me (part one)

(if you have no idea where that saying comes from check out the strongbad link and go to the clips of teen girl squad. If you don't care, then fine).

So, as I said, Owwww, my most of me--- Yesterday I decided that after a productive afternoon of SIS, learning pages one through 45 (yea!), I would be even MORE productive and do a workout dvd that I have not done in, oh, about a year.

Since I'm not at a gym I have a one hour really really really intense dvd workout that I cart along with me and every once in a while---no, that is a lie---very rarely, but at SOME point during the time I'm away, I pull it out because I'm feeling like I need to lose 10 pounds. Which I don't. But it would be nice to be below a certain number on the scale-- albeit a low number, but still.

So I haul out the dvd, pop it in the ibook, and start flailing around like an idiot and really feeling the burn after about 20 minutes when my heart feels like it's about to jump out of my body.

I definitely didn't do the whole hour. So maybe 35 minutes later while I'm speeding through the post-workout stretches (something you should NEVER do), I'm lying on the floor thinking- wow this is going to hurt tomorrow.
And it does.
To move, to wake up, to be alive.
Even my throat is sore--although I shouldn't attribute a sore right tonsil to killing myself on squats, I know. But I am, and that means that I probably won't do this workout again for a while.

Well, I'm not so sure. I'd LIKE to look more toned for a certain upcoming role where I have to be a boy- in case the costume shows the arms and I wear tights and one of those silly outfits that looks like a poofy balloon pants costume, only hiked up to your thighs. But it's not like what's below my neck and above my stomach is going to get "toned"! Nope, those'll just get taped and strapped in.

08 June, 2007

ouch my most of me (cont.)

I sat in the SHADE for about 3hrs today. With only my pasty white LEGS that never, ever, tan or burn no matter what product or no product I put on them--exposed to the sun.
Fast forward to after my nap (I know, I sound SO spoiled- sitting outside all day, naps), and I wake up and my neck and chest are all red above where I was wearing my tank top!

Not the arms to the sides of it, not my face. Just my chest in a lovely little "U" shape.

Can you get burned in the shade?

Here is what I"m thinking:

WHILE I was sitting in the shade I happened to be illegally picking up someone else's very weak internet signal. So I positioned my laptop on my knees. Maybe it caught the sun? And then burned me from the reflection?
Are you kidding me?
If so, laptop and I are going to have a serious fight, and I may not be checking my email as often, if the effect is a sunburn- which I hope this doesn't turn into, because it doesn't hurt too badly--yet.

07 June, 2007


OK, the grant proposal is in editing phase, so I don't need to spend so much time on it. NOT that it has stopped me from walking around the city, looking at fabulous clothes, buying great music and a recommended book, going to the beach, etc.
But I've been here for 10 days now, and I think it's time that I approach my music seriously.

Preparation I've completed for role #1:
Translated entire score, hi-lited my part, listened to two recordings, watched a dvd of the opera (ok, I skipped the parts my character was not in), counted the number of pages I have to memorize out of the whole score (something like 133 out of 300 or so), counted the number of pages that I already have memorized (not that many, but it's both arias completely memorized, and musically- a decent chunk of the quintet), and realized that the BULK of this role that I dont' have memorized is the worst kind of memorization- one line interjections, singing my own line in huge ensembles, or doubling someone an octave above their line on different words.

Why is this the worst kind of memorization? Well, it's really the hardest. It's so easy to isolate a certain number of pages- an aria, a duet, a trio. You have melody. You have a counter-melody. You either sing one of those or the harmony to that. The words USUALLY have a start and finish and a POINT, rather than when you're stuck up there in the stratosphere repeating something 10 times about how exciting it will be to all to go to the fortune-teller's house and see what she has to say!

So. I really have to make myself learn those parts. Preferably now-ish instead of watching subtitled tv here and championing my French and Italian whenever they show a foreign movie, and cowering in a corner whenever I flip through the German tv channel and understand only the "little" words, and realize I'll be there in 3 weeks!

Work I've done on role #2:
Well, I don't have the right score yet (which is the English translation), but this is a role I've actually wanted to study for a very long time, so in the meantime, I have a much better musical grasp on the whole thing just because I like it more and have studied it before. Actually, I love the music in this opera. It's my favorite overture. So I think that I could sing the entire thing except maybe some sections of the quartet, and of course the finale where it's like singing Mozart's sop2 part- you're the "not-important filler harmony' that makes what the higher sop and tenor sing sound pretty!

Hmm, in review, while I began this post as a bit worried about my lack of progress in Self-Imposed-Study, I think I actually already know quite a bit more than I would have expected by now. That's not to say that I've done any real work while I've been here, which is WHY I am writing this and need to start--today! But it's not like I'm singing these roles next week and still have 200 pages of music to learn!


05 June, 2007

more competition stuff

It's 11:15 pm and I'm at my friend's apartment in the city and she only has 28 minutes of juice left on her macbook. What to do, what to do-- already checked my email, so now it's time for yet another update--that comes from emails I've received throughout the day.

I was notified today that through house-audition last week I got past the qualifying round for a kinda-major international competition.

Great. So the comp. that wants me is the one that I have a huge conflict with. And by huge, I mean, the registration day is in another country altogether, and it's the same date as my placement test in Germany.

And by huge, I mean that the whole first week of the competition is described as: day of registration, day of coaching, day 1 of singing (by lottery), day 2 of singing (by same lottery), and then you see if you're in the semi-finals.
And those first 5 days I'll be doing NOTHING if I go to the competition besides singing with a pianist for 10 minutes on Tuesday, and singing for 15 minutes on EITHER wednesday or thursday depending on the lottery, but I'll definitely be missing German class day 1,2,3 and if I get into the semis- 4...5,6,..whatever..
The semi's I'd miss it for.
But the prelims?

Iiii'm just not quite sure yet.

I've just written them (the competition) a LOVELY polite email VERY politely asking if there is ANY leeway in the arrival date and describing my sad sad story of being between a rock and a hard place with the German studies and with their obviously cooler/more important competition.

So it's a waiting game now--but even if they say no, I'm SO tempted to do it anyway. But I don't want to be kicked out of the German program because I'll be missing the first TWENTY hours of instruction! That doesn't sound good.
I mean, I have no problem with being a bit of a delinquent, but, I just don't think there's any way that THEY would agree to have me just leave--and expect me to catch up when I returned...

We'll see.

21 minutes remaining until mr.macbook bites the dust for the night. Too bad the charger is in my friend's room and she's sleeping already b/c she has to work tomorrow!

04 June, 2007

thoughts from the beach

I went to one of the most beautiful beaches here this morning. Quiet, not in the big city, actually- in the town I was born in. Not many people out at 9am on a workday.
The water was cool/warm, and walking through it looking at shells and out at the surf I got to thinking about--well, everything.

Things like how lucky I am that even though I work so so hard to be working and singing all of the time, the way that this career works is that I DO get breaks and this time to visit my family and have a vacation.
Even though I worry about where and when I'll work next and I am constantly self-promoting, thinking about contacts I need to keep in touch with, new contacts I can make, whom I can notify about this or that, upcoming, auditions, etc, and even though I'd rather be the most busy person, even too busy- taking on projects right and left, having this time, even if it was just a week (turns out it's almost three this year), is really important.

And not many people with "regular" jobs get to have that. So sure, I'll take my starving artist lifestyle with its ups downs, fear of lack of stability, success that relies not only on talent but also on the knowledge of the business and how to break into it and stay there, and everything that comes with it over a nine to five.

If I get to have mornings like I did today. Where I thought about family, love, life, happiness, kids, and yes, even music, scores I need to learn, what to listen to next on my ipod, how crazy it is to be apart from people and things that you love and still find connections to them in the smallest ways- like seeing a shirt you'd buy for him that you just know he'd love, or seeing a couple floating off in the waves farther away than anyone else in the water--alone in togetherness.

03 June, 2007

new project

Ok, so my self-diagnosing with the help of WebMD was apparently wrong, since after taking decongestants I developed that scary "I might have bronchitis" kind of productive cough. Whatever. It's day 3 and almost everything is gone including the cough, so I'm just going to chalk it up to a well-deserved post-Opera season sickness due to de-stressing and my body finally knowing that it's ok to get sick and no important singing or rehearsing or coaching is coming up.

AND I have a new project! I know, I know, I"m on vacation. But when did I ever turn a grantwriting project down? NEVERRRRR!

If I had to pick other jobs related to the music world those would be easy:
Agent, Publicist/PR, Artistic Director of an Opera Company or running my own summer program for young singers--things where I get to be dealing with promoting singers whose talents I believe in.

But in my non-musical dream jobs (well, first would be secretary of state, then a cultural attachee to France or something, and then a Middle-Eastern think tank), grantwriting for the arts is a CLOSE...fourth? :)

It's something I've freelanced with for a number of years, something I'm confident about when I have all of the right information to write a kick-ass proposal, and something that I like doing- because it has a timeframe, it's a one-time in-depth research project for me, and it involves getting other people's worthy causes in the arts funded.

So- there you have it.
My next project (due by the end of this week!!!) is the vision of a well-known photographer who wants to do a photo-narrative exploration involving 10 other photographers of a land and people that have been in turmoil with themselves and their national identity ever since statehood.

Off to be creative.