29 November, 2007

audition (rejection) season

Ok, I've done the math. (See "proof" post below), and I know that the odds are not in any soprano's favor.
But still, every rejection stings for about 2 minutes.
So I didn't get it.
So who DID get it?
And the google odyssey begins to find clips, bios, previous shows, schools, etc. etc. just to see what I'm up against out there.

This morning- news that summer-role-of-choice-at-previous-yap-as-mainstage had been offered to someone else. NOT accepted (yet)- offered.

This afternoon- news that summer-high-level-yap is a no.

Well, I can't do much about it. I sang the heck out of both auditions and I know I impressed with every aspect of my performance.

So- onward and upward.

Lieder Competition
2 performances
and a mainstage audition almost every day of next week!

And HANUKKAH!! I'm invited to a very special candle lighting ceremony with my FAVORITE Israeli rock star omgomgomgomg next Wednesday night in NY. I've met him 3 times before, love his music, and I hope I get to hang out w/him after his mini 'unplugged' concert again.

28 November, 2007

monca nyc

This morning, and I mean MORNING, I sang for the districts here in NY.
I have sung for this competition three times now, in different locations (depending on where I was in school and where I was doing my residency last year), and now- NY.

It seems a bit more exciting and fun when you do it here--well, exciting and fun and 90 singers and 3 days of districts.

So I'm not expecting much.
But I will say that I sang veeery veeery well this morning. MORNING.

Auditionee number three of the day.

I sang Chacun (yes, and hit the g), and then they asked for Zerbinetta from the Rondo.
MAN- If Zerbie is always asked for after Chacun there's NO WAY I'm ever changing my starting piece from it!
I LOVE singing this piece. AND I know I can never really offer it first, unless the role is being cast, or I sing it from So war (which is still a good 7 minute first piece).

So I'm so happy when they ask for it 2nd! From whatever part of it!
So far - 0 for the recit, 1 for Noch glaub, 2 for So war and 1 for Rondo.


I'm not too stressed about whether I get through to the districts or not.
I gave a great performance today, and 2 of the judges are people that I'm very glad that I gave a good performance for. If they are interested, they'd be good people to have impressed this morning.

Had lunch with a few yappers-from-last-year, went down to Magnolia (AND DIDN"T BUY A CUPCAKE!), and then took the train back here...time for my big nap of the day.
It's been crazy waking up so early. I don't think I'll ever get used to it.
It still feels awful even though I've gotten up at 7:30 or 8am every day this week.
Ok, that's only three days, but STILL!

Now to call pianists to play for my auditions next week!

Oh, and NAP.

27 November, 2007

paaaatience, Iago

(think: Jafar accent from Aladdin).

Ok, my thought of the day (or thoughts, as this always turns into some kind of tangent).

My auditions are usually low-stress.
I have my routine, I know how much time I need, I get ready, get there early, warm up if I haven't already, and then just sing what I sing best.
I don't think too much into it, I do sometimes offer pieces that are in the season if they are already in my rep., but pretty much I don't stress too much about it.
I do my thing and basta.

But this year for some reason I'm feeling especially comfortable in the process.
It's not like I walk in there with the "FU" attitude. Not at all.
I'm relaxed, calm, looking forward to singing my first piece, and genuinely happy when they ask for my 2nd...to sing something completely different and show other things.

Which brings me to my thought of the day. Patience. In transitions.

I see or hear a lot of singers do this (when they are asked for a piece):
Head down to signal start to the pianist, head up, pop, go.
Second piece is asked for: Yes, absolutely.
Head down, pop up, go.

I used to think I shouldn't waste the panel's time. I should be prepared quickly, as long as I have my breath under me I should "go".

But no- this time around I find that I'm realizing that a truly great performance, at an audition, can be given when I take the time to REALLY change characters in between my pieces.
If that means 10 seconds, so be it.

It feels GOOD to make that transition.
It feels like I'm not just singing an audition. I'm singing the role like I'd sing it onstage.
And that's a great feeling, when that is exactly what I'm trying to convey at an audition.
No games, no peering over at the table to see what they are reacting to, no playing TO the table. Just me and an audience imagined as I see my reflection in those side mirrors of NOLA, the back mirrors of Liderkranz, and the ring or the dead of the other venues.

It's not about the room anymore--and that's a really great thing to come to. Perhaps it comes with year number z in the business. Perhaps it comes because I'm in a zen vocal and physical and emotional state about it. Perhaps it has always been there but I've never let myself feel it before.

It's this patience and calmness about the whole process.
These next two weeks could have been the most high-stress of the season.
Bottom line is, I am looking for a job, like all of the other sopranos out there.
I'm not perfect for every company, and they are not perfect for me.
But maybe a good match can be made, and we'll both be the happier for it come 2008-2009 season.

26 November, 2007

is it really that easy?

Ok, I did wake up and felt like someone had punched me.
It was at 3am. You know, one of those times (when does this NOT happen to me?!) that I'm scared I will sleep through the alarm (that could never happen), so I toss and turn. Finally falling into the deepest sleep around 7am, only to wake up to the alarm at 8.

Exhaustion aside, I trekked my way to the West Side, warmed up at NOLA (don't like paying their prices, but they were closest to the audition site), and had audition#1 for, hmm, how shall I put this-- big-ole-opry-house-that-considered-me-for-5-minutes-for-real-2-wks-ago.

Now, I began with Chacun.
Here is where it gets interesting.
I used this aria as a starter about 2 or 3 years ago. With a g in the first cadenza and then a fun sing/act piece.
I was always surprised and a bit giggly at the panels' reactions.
Head up- what--did she just? Was that a..?
Head down- furious writing and typing.
Head to the side- to confer with neighbor about the cadenza.

All in the first 3-5 seconds of the piece.
They get all peppy in their seats, straighten up a little, pay a little more attention, are really WITH me when I continue on with the piece, possibly waiting to hear more surprises (which, yes, I do have in store).

AND THEN they always comment about it!
Is it such a shocker that I do this? I mean, more than one person has posted on nfcs that they sing this note and add it into cadenzas. I didn't think I was the only one by any means. Perhaps the only one with a full-voiced g? Usable? Sustained? not just tapped?

I just don't get it.

And afterwards- they pick my FAVORITE pieces second!
DurchZ and Zerbinetta (and they heard it from NOCH GLAUB and not just from So War!)

So is this really my starter now?
It kind of feels like a trick in some way...I don't want to be a one-trick pony (which is why I know they ask for Mozart-y/lyrical stuff like DurchZ and Zerbie afterwards), but is that really all it takes to get them excited and want to hear more?

It's just a bit odd.
I think if I would have started with DurchZ they would have chosen Oscar 2nd and that would have been that.
They heard the solid E, they saw the good acting, and basta.


So even though the entirely of the low/middle of Chacun lies lower than the low-middle of DurchZ, they still prefer this one, and I get better feedback and attention paid to me in the following piece, simply because of this one note at the first cadenza.

I suppose I'll take it for now.
It feels kind of like cheating. It's just so easy for me--and to see that kind of reaction, I feel like I should be working harder to earn it.

Oh well.
First two auditions down, however many more to go.
Early wakeup tomorrow, and my weird bronchial cough is back. Perhaps it's time for some theraflu.

audition in 10 hrs

Hoping I fall asleep soon so that when I wake up tomorrow it doesn't feel like I got punched in the face.

I made it to NYC in record time today- 7am-10:30am (it should take 4:10...ooops! There were no cops in the NYState Thruway).

Settled in to permanent location1, unpacked a bit, took a nap, bought healthy-ish food (oh yea, my goal for this audition season is not to eat CRAP every day just because I'm on the run).

2 auditions tomorrow. I booked a warm up room because the first one is so early that I don't want to wake the neighbors here with my vocalizing.

This will be a tough week. I'm not coughing at all anymore. A bit stuffy because of the heat, I think, but otherwise looking forward to the challenge of the week.

Auditions for YAPs and Mainstage, new concert piece rehearsal and performance, and maybe even studying some German verbs...after all those months- I feel like I need to get back into it just in case Europe is in my near future.


24 November, 2007

packing again

Au revoir Thanksgiving relaxation and mild cold, bonjour New York City.

I've been going through "items" since about 5pm.
Mail that has accumulated for 2 months (thankfully no bills, that's all online!), papers that I keep putting in new and improved piles (music to learn, music to really learn, copies of music that I may need in the next three weeks, double copies for coaches), and finally, the clothing issue again.

What to take for THIS week in NY (besides a gown and 3 possible audition outfits)?
Well, even though there is an entire suitcase of winter clothes that I didn't take BEFORE I left for last-gig, I'm not even breaking into it. I'm simply recycling what worked best in the last month.

There are SO SO SO many pairs of SO SO SO cute shoes that I really want to wear! When will I EVER be in one place to wear all of my shoes?
I bought the cutest cowboy boots over the summer, GREEN (awesome), and I have only worn them ONE night in New York City (and that was the day I wore them back on the plane from Germany because they wouldn't fit in any of my suitcases home!).

I narrowed it down to slouchy black boots with a tiny heel for walking all around, the ever-dependable Rocket Dogs with velcro that I love, and my heels for audition wear.
That's it!
No sneaks for any possible gym time, no brown heels to match anything else (so, no brown clothes either), no black boots, tan slouchy boots, winter-y cute boots, sporty brown boots, no myriad of other sketcher-type mary-jane/sneaker/shoes that I love.

Just three pairs of black.

This week will be kind of a treat (or a pending disaster depending on which way you look at it), because I'll have a CAR in New York.
Now, granted, I am going to try VERY hard to leave it in Brooklyn at all times and not move it unless Alternate Side of the STreet parking requires me to, and ONLY drive it to the 2 rehearsals and 2 concerts that I need it for.
But- is that realistic?

We'll see!
I hope I don't get ticketed, towed, broken into, or otherwise dinged and damaged.


22 November, 2007


Very full of food and family :)
Tomorrow- a quick trip to the outlets to see if I can find a new gown for my upcoming Messiah gig.
Also, make SURE (for serious) that I know all of the words to all of the lieder pieces that I'm singing for the competition next week, and ALSO figure out what I'm singing for the MET competition. Yes. This week.

Ummm- choices?
What I already told them I'd sing:
Zerbie, Lakme, Queen, Chacun, Glitter

No idea.

With time limits Zerbie may not be the best idea (although it was asked for as a 2nd last time around in a different region last year).
Neither does Lakme, although it's the most showy of the pieces (I started with this last year at Regions).

But Lakme is just one of those pieces that's totally a showpiece--I love it, but does it seem to OTHERS (meaning, the panel) that it's just a show-offy type of thing?
Here's my E, here's my added G. Yes, phrasing, story-telling, beauty of line, tone...but isn't that all trumped by the panel just hearing all those notes and thinking- this girl just wants to show off her high notes?
Which is of course NOT what I want to do! I just love the piece, I've performed the show recently, and I think it's a good choice vocally.

As is Zerbinetta. But once again, I feel like that is the reaction when a panel sees that piece on your list-- (if they're not casting for it).

So do I substitute a DurchZ? Do I start with Chacun, hit the high G and then just sing the rest which is in middle voice and more of an acting/attitude thing (that of course has to be delivered musically well too!)?

Things to think about as I ponder making my way to the kitchen for leftovers since it's midnight (almost tomorrow).

turkey for me, turkey for you

I'm in warm and cozy parents-house-in-the-middle-of-the-woods with TX-cousins, MA-cousins, LA/Boston-brothers, aunts and uncles and grandparents--yes, all 16 of us are here (no, we didn't all sleep in the house lest you think that I live in some palatial private ski resort in the mountains), and so far it's been a blast.

Although I'm not sure why it's 9:30am and I'm awake (after going to sleep at 3am), I've been doing nothing but relaxing, catching up with family, laughing a lot, and also devising master-plans for my impending takeover of the world...um, I mean, impending beginning of 2nd-business-which-I'm-totally-qualified-for-and-kinda-want-to-try-out-since-it's-"artsy".

My cousin, you see, is now a "New York city actress" (read: coffee server/barista/waitress).

And in THEIR business, you also have to impress some sort of talent agency and get on a roster.
However, here are the things I have found out about trying to "make it" in NY whether in straight theater, print modeling, or TV/film calls.

THEIR agents (casting agents and agencies mostly), burn the candle at both ends--literally.
In addition to attracting the talent and signing it (probably about the same as opera, except they can have endlessly large rosters and send tons of actors out to each casting call), they also have to attract the movie/producer who will want to AUDITION through them.
So you could be with ONE casting agency in NY that has the market cornered on feel-good-hallmark commercials and the casting of the Movie Speed 7 with the robot-like Keanu.
But that casting agency won't touch print work. Or local bway. Of course they'd probably like to, AND could send their people on those auditions, but they are not actually "THE" casting agency for that project, and therefore, your chance of hearing about it or being sent on it go south.
And then of course you subscribe to backstage and playbill and all of those silly things that singers do too to find out what's going on that you can send your own materials into for consideration.

So my masterful idea of somehow being an agent to my singer-friends, is now turning into, and quite realistically, being an agent/manager for HER and her acting friends.

It's not that I want to work in opera admin. (yet!), but between the hours of 11pm and 2am last night I reworked her resumes for theater, print work, and film, wrote her 3 sample cover letters, made her a PDF of her materials, AND applied to 20 auditions via email for her--so I think that MAY be a clue that I enjoy that part of the business and that it's something I'd really love to do on either end- receiving the apps. and finding qualified talent, OR being the manager/careerguide/lifecoach for the talent itself and promoting it to larger and auditioning companies.

There you go.
Now I just need a catchy name for my agency.

AND nothing annoyingly theatrical (such as the following that were thrown around at dinner last night):
Red Carpet
Curtain Up

AND nothing that already sounds like a current fundraising computer program:
Razer's Edge/Edge
(also thrown out there last night to a whole lot of laughing family).


21 November, 2007

oh really?

Oh really, jet lag?

You think it's cool that even though I got into town at midnight that I wasn't going to be able to fall asleep until 3am, really?
You think it's FUN to then mysteriously wake up for NO reason at 7:30am (after only 4 hours of sleep) and proceed to my audition on no sleep, post-airplane voice?

Yea? Really?

How'bout after the audition (which btw went awesomely and THEY asked for ZERBINETTA!!! Everything except the First Section!) when I felt like death around 3pm but still couldn't fall asleep enough to take a nap?

And then the train home tonight- a perfect 2.5 hour opportunity to snooze, when sleep doth/didst leave me--because it never came!

And how about NOW ---2:20am. Day two of not sleeping for more than 4 hours previous.

Weird bronchial cough approaches.

All I can say, jet lag, is that you're LUCKY it's Thanksgiving. I HOPE for YOUR sake that I get sick..tomorrow. Then it will be finished by the weekend and the beginning of next week when it REALLY counts and I REALLY can't be sick. At. All.
OR TIRED for that matter with all of the auditions, travel to rehearsal, hours in the car and on public transportation, and having to stay with a CAT too!

So, I have my Halls, Ricola, Tea, Emergen-C, Vicks, and hot showers--what do YOU have you pneumatic sounding dry cough?! BRING IT!

20 November, 2007

pretty please?

Can I please fall asleep this evening? I mean- morning? Or as I used to call it in college when I NEVER went to bed before midnight- morningnight?

It's 1:30am, I have disembarked from my day-long airplane adventure which began with me falling asleep Sunday night around 2am, waking up at 5:30am, returning the rental car, getting on airplane number one for 5.5 hours, getting on airplane number 2 for 2 hours, and arriving in NYC at 11pm (after a 30 minute delay due to gale force winds in Minneapolis).

But what time does it FEEL like?
It feels like party time!
I didn't sleep very much on the planes even though I was tired in the morning.
For the first time, I used my ipod to watch movies (even though they've been on there for over 6 months), then I listened to the Messiah (well, the parts I have to sing next week) about 6 times in a row, then I listened to some Lieder that I have a competition for, then my ipod was almost dead, and the captain asked us to turn off all electrical devices for landing.

So now it's 1:40am, feels like early evening to me, and I have an audition tomorrow that I have to wake up for!!!

The one thing that I did well on today was making sure I was hydrated on the airplanes. I'm not a person that needs 3 days to recover after travel, but on the flight over a month ago, I certainly was in no mood to sing the day after arrival (and thankfully, that was our day off). The voice was just itchy and tired from recycled dry air and not enough water.

Well THIS time I juiced myself in the morning (Naked Green drink..yum), and drank a LOT of water, mixed with Emergen-C on the planes, AND kept a Ricola or Werther's or something sucker-ish in my mouth the entire time. Oh yea, and I used my newly knit burgundy scarf as a surgical eco-mask to "filter" the dry air. (That probably didn't work, but it's the thought that counts, right?).

Recap of the shows, and other thoughts about recent bloginess to come.
For now, I really am turning this thing off and trying to fall asleep.

17 November, 2007

one more show and then....

I'm on a full day plane ride back to NYC! (full day because of the time change).

And my schedule seems to be getting quite full (in a good way):
Monday 10:30pm arrive at JFK (UGH) wait for bags. SLEEP. (even though it will feel like 6:30pm when I force myself to go to bed).
Tuesday- audition, lunch w/bff, get key to her apt. where I'll be staying next week.
Tuesday night- 3 hr. train home for Turkey day
Wednesday- RELAX (otherwise known as help mom w/the cooking)
Thursday- EAT with extended family all in for Thxgiving- all 16 of us!
Friday- SHOP (for a gown for upcoming concert, and anything else that looks good at the outlets, and hopefully have an appt. with the chiropractor (a little slice of heaven)
Saturday- DRIVE back to NYC (find alternate side of the street parking in Bklyn)
Sunday- rehearsal
Monday- 2 auditions
Tuesday audition, rehearsal, rehearsal
Wednesday- audition, possible competition
Thursday- audition, rehearsal, rehearsal
Friday- audition, performance!
Saturday- audition
Sunday- performance!

And that's just through the end of the month.

Knocking on wood for no colds, sniffles, chills, or mass transit delays for the next 20 days.


16 November, 2007

mom's response to me and little bro's math

I lost you all at "hello"...
Still, I am smiling cuz the odds are that we- as talented, fun, smart, audacious people with a great gene pool and of course a Jewish Mom factor telling everyone you're awesome will by defacto default necessarily raise the odds for you getting everything you want...and if not...you can send a letter to santa!
love, mom

15 November, 2007

a PROOF. foolproof that is. updated for funniness at the bottom.

First of all, show numero deux went very well. The audience laughed more at physical comedy than spoken witticisms, but it was still very fun.

Now, to recent blogginess readings and comments.

Over at WTOC, the last two posts are of utmost interest to me.

First of all, because of the "2nd year syndrome" (as I like to call it).
The post is a GREAT explanation of the continued stagnation of young artists in this business. I was discussing this with a cast mate just last night (before our entrance in Act III).

Here is the evidence: A proof, if you will humor me:

A. Let [X = number of students graduate with Bachelors OR Master's degrees in Voice or Opera each year from Y number of conservatories, universities, and colleges, all of which have charged exorbitant amounts of money for tuition each year (upwards of 45,000- except the 1 or 2 in each Master's level that was on full assistantship).

B. [Z number of singers (comprising of XY plus N (non music majors who want to be singers after a four year major in international relations and then a private teacher who says they are ready)] between the ages (most likely) of 21-30, audition for YAPs or RAPs each year. The majority are sopranos.

C. [Z minus (60% to 40% of Z)] singers receive a live audition with a number of companies (anywhere between one and twenty-five/thirty) for that summer or next year's resident artist program. At this point, singers are thinking that they are the upper crust, the top 40 or 60 percent OF those that have even received a live audition, and they have a ONE in possibly 250 chance of being accepted to a summer program that hears 350 singers over 3 days. (250 sopranos, regular breakdown for every other voice type)

D. Let your chances = 1 in 250 IF an overwhelming majority of the following are true:
e = experience onstage is greater than performances just in your college shows
p = programs previously attended include mid-level summer apprenticeships
rr = your resume has no mistakes on it, and you sing the right rep. that day
t = your audition time is not right before a bathroom break, or after lunch break
c = you coached with the actual staff accompanist of the program last week
t = your teacher personally recommended you to Mr. Domingo
v = you have the voice of an angel
l= and you Look damn good in your burgundy and NOT black dress

E. Factor in the following:

PS = previous singers from last year, extremely talented, who already have a working relationship or audition history with the program you want to be in, and there is ALSO a two year "expectation" via AGMA or the studio to apprentice level of training and allegiance to the program.

NPA = Number of Previous Applicants that have already sung with this program in the past, who are auditioning again, and would have NO reason NOT to get in, unless they accepted a contract at a program ONE level HIGHER than the program you are auditioning for.

And finally,
NSN = Number of singers needed. 16 to 20?

I'd say your chances go from 1 in 250 to...well, you get the picture.

Now, I'm not saying this practice is WRONG by ANY means. I believe that most programs DO take very talented singers, DO enjoy their work, and DO want those singers to return a second year, and then return as mainstage singers.

All I AM saying, is that each year that this practice is repeated, (yes, FROM the schools taking too many music majors and telling them they are ready, TO the programs that will take THIRD year repeats even though AGMA says they can't be there), there are more and more and MORE singers that MAY be talented, but may NOT have even been heard, who actually DO fill all of the requirements above, but have just never been "that soprano" who was heard twice by a great program, asked to do it the third year, and then invited back for her 2nd year there.

And what I WILL say to that practice, is that programs should get it a bit more together in terms of being honest about what they are looking for.
If you're one of the top summer programs and you send out an email in August to the singers who YOU would consider asking back for a 2nd year to ask about their "plans to re-audition", what is the harm in that?
Then you KNOW that if you want that girl back, you have one less spot for a soprano who may travel from LA to NYC for an audition. Maybe you won't accept 40-60% of the soprano applicants, and only hear the cream of the crop top 20% of soprano applicants, sending back many-an-application fee (for those that send unheard apps back), and saving 500-600 sopranos from shellacking their kitchen table with rejection letters.

If you're a residency program that takes kids for 2 years, and you have a full lyric, why are you auditioning other full lyrics in that soprano's first year? You KNOW you won't take a full lyric, because you only need one.

The question is, I suppose, is it BETTER/to the singer's benefit just to be HEARD? Is that an honor in itself? Does that start the ball rolling on a good future audition/relationship so the panel can see your progress?
Or would it be better if you knew they weren't taking your voice type in the first place?

Personally, I am disappointed when I read audition notices that say "Note, we will not be hearing any sopranos this year". Of course, I would have RATHER them considered or just heard me..who is to say that who they have already is better or worse than I am?
BUT when you pit that against a 30 dollar audition fee, getting to NY, getting an accompanist, and the hoopla of the day and THEN getting a rejection even if you sang so so so well, is it worth it?

I haven't quite made a decision on that yet.
And I'm sure administrators will say it's worth it to hear people. To hear progress. To try and hear as many as possible even though we know there may not be a spot for them this year. Because you can always have that surprise voice that you have never heard of that blows you out of the water.
I'm not sure what most singers would say.

Let i = the imaginary number, (and square root of negative 2), and my general imagination of insanity while coming up with all of this.

Wow, I guess I DO remember some calculus after all. Washer method and 3D axes here I come!

Oh, but my real point is. IF singers between the ages of 21-30 were NOT doing all of this auditioning and possible participation in young artist programs (due to the fact that MOST singers really are only taken seriously in their late 20s and onward in terms of real futures on stage at leading houses in leading roles, with leading management), what would happen?
Would there be FEWER singers trying to make this a career?
Would the undergrads who can't get in to programs at ALL (because they've only been a tenor for a year and a half!) still be trying this 5 years later?
Would the GRADS who can't get management or a mainstage audition because of no experience on their resume still be able to afford 30 auditions a year?
Would singers go back to the "old school" ways of studying with one teacher, one method, once a day, out there in upstate New York, secluded, until they were ready for their MET debut?

Again, no answers here, just questions about the future of the form.


EDITED to include the following because I sent part of this post to my family (yea, they don't know I blog) and this is what my brother, the ACTUAL first year analyst at Goldman Sachs has to say about my proof.
Read on for more mathematical amusement.

Dear family,
While "bigSis" is insane, I too can go insane when you're sitting at work waiting for the credit department to come back with numbers to input into your model and they were supposed to come back an hour ago and we're still waiting. Enjoy my mathematical additions to Sis's theoretical proof. Or don't enjoy them. I don't mind.

Sis's odds of getting an audition and a job in the next two months: (updated - with numbers)

Throw out the first three steps of this proof. Since you have already proven that you can get an audition, and have experience, I wouldn't pit you against this "Z" number of people, but rather choose a probability, zPrime[a], that you will get an audition per season, with [a] being the number of auditions received and zprime[a] being the probability of receiving those exact number of auditions - the zPrime score will fall as the number of auditions [a] rises.

Using historical analysis, we can assume Sis has the following zPrime scores:
zPrime[0] = 2%
zPrime[1] = 15%
zprime[2] = 22%
zPrime[3] = 37%
zPrime[4] = 16%
zprime[5] = 5%
zPrime[6] = 2%
zPrime[7] = 1%
zPrime[8+] = .01%


Using this breakdown, the Weighted average number of live auditions Sis receives is zPrime[a]!a! = 2.78. This is Sis's zScore (the amount of "1 out of 250" auditions that Sis receives)

Without any other help, you would take this zScore, and divide it by 250 to get your chances of getting an audition of 2.78 / 250 = 1.11% per season. Not Good.

D. Let your chances = 1 in 250 IF an overwhelming majority of the
following are true:
e = experience onstage is greater than performances just in your college shows True
p = programs previously attended include mid-level summer apprenticeships True

The previous two eliminating variables work together. Whereas the individuals who don't have e (maybe 3% of the 250) are inclusive in the individuals who do not have p (Probably more like 10% of the 250). Therefore, if you have p, you can ignore the e variable altogether. Having P puts you and 224 other people above 25 people in the group. If you reduce the denominator by 25, you essentially multiply your previous chances by 1.111x. To be conservative (and realize that there is that smallest of possibilities that some schmuck who hasn't had a mid level apprenticeship gets the job) we'll say that the multiplier of having p = 1.1x

rr = your resume has no mistakes on it, and you sing the right rep. that day True - This is a binary multiplier. It doesn't help you, it can only hurt you - so it's a 1x if you did it right, and it's a 0x if you did it wrong. Then again, assuming that maybe 1 or 2 of the auditionees get this wrong, it essentially IS a multiplier that helps you - but probably a negligible one, given that the person who screws up a resume probably would have screwed up something else on this list and therefore been excluded anyway

t = your audition time is not right before a bathroom break, or after
lunch break

This is an interesting multiplier. Assuming that there are 3 bathroom breaks and a lunch break every day of the three days, that means that 12 people are doomed from this variable. If this removes 12 people from the running, it is essentially a 1.05 multiplier for anyone who doesn't get removed. Since this is totally random, it could have an effect on the good, or bad people. Therefore, you have to put a 50% discount on it, because it may remove those great singers that wouldn't have been removed from any of the other factors, or it could remove the bad singers who would've messed up on their resume anyway and not needed a bathroom break to remove them from the running. Overall, the multiplier is probably near 1.025x

c = you coached with the actual staff accompanist of the program last week

I can imagine no more than 10 people auditioning happened to have coached with the staff accompanist. This means that it would give you a 25x multiplier. But, the accompanist can only do so much to help you get the actual job, so I would divide that 25x multiplier by 10, giving you a 3.4x multiplier (you take the excess multiple of 24x and divide by 10 to get 2.4, then you add that to 1x)

t = your teacher personally recommended you to Mr. Domingo

A personal recommendation is good, but probably 20 people got recommendations by someone as well. That would mean a 12.5x multiplier if that made it a sure thing, but of course, divide by 10 because a recommendation once again doesn't get you the job. Multiplier = 2.15x

v = you have the voice of an angel

If this is true, it is mostly already reflected in the combination of recommendations and previous experience and the fact that you are at this level already. But given that we have not removed some people that may have had recommendations and experience but still have "demonic" voices, we can say that there still remains 50 of these people in the pool. This is a 1.25x multiple.

l= and you Look damn good in your audition dress

Looking good won't get you the job (SO NOT TRUE LITTLE BROTHER!), so you have to put a discount on this multiple. Given that, probably half of the sopranos are less than good looking, but only one quarter of them show it because the others put way too much make up on for the audition so you can't really tell. Therefore, this will eliminate about 75 candidates or so. This is a 1.4 multiple, but divide that down by 10 to get a 1.04x multiple because looks probably matter much less than singing.

E. Factor in the following:

= previous singers from last year, extremely talented, who already have
a working relationship or audition history with the program you want to
be in, and there is ALSO a two year "expectation" via AGMA or the
studio to apprentice level of training and allegiance to the program.

= Number of Previous Applicants that have already sung with this
program in the past, who are auditioning again, and would have NO
reason NOT to get in, unless they accepted a contract at a program ONE
level HIGHER than the program you are auditioning for.

PS and NPA can be looped together. The assumption is that there can only be about 20 to 30 of these in every 250 person applicant pool. That being said, this is a pretty good thing to have, because it pretty much gets you ahead. It , gives you a 1 in 30 chance to get the spot. Discount that down because it doesn't always work like this in reality. Normally it would give you an 8x multiple, but if you mark that down by 10, you get a 1.7x multiple.

And finally,
NSN = Number of singers needed. 16 to 20?

This actually HELPS you. Originally, we were assuming they only take 1 singer. If they take 5 sopranos, you just got 5 more chances. Multiplier for everyone = 5x


I'd say your chances go from 1 in 250 to...well, you get the picture.

This is the way the proof works, Your chances = zScore time NSN (number of singers needed) / 250. Then you add every multiplier to either the numerator of the denominator depending on if you are helped or hurt by having or not having that variable. In Sis's Case =

zScore * NSN * p * c * t * v * l *
---------------------------------------------- THEN - multiplied by the probability of auditioning around bathroom/lunch

250 * PSNPA

Sis's chances of getting a job this season are =

2.78 * 5 * 1.1x * 3.4x * 2.15x * 1.25x * 1.04x
250* 1.7

This yields a 34.2% chance to get the job.

Not Having the auditions in the bathroom/lunch spots move your chances up to 35.0%

That’s a 1 in 3 chance! Awesome.

(thanks to my amusing brother for that mathematical rendition of my chances at being employed).

13 November, 2007

new muzique learning.

After a wonderful opening weekend, spending the next day with relatives who flew in to see the show, I had a day off yesterday.
Except- it wasn't REALLY a day off, because I arranged to have a coaching on some upcoming repertoire that I will be presenting in about 2 weeks.

A 2 hour coaching later, I felt fabulous.
We sang through two brand new Italian arias (I needed to get a quickie recording of this done for a last minute submission)...which brings me to a post on learning music and getting in your body.

I HAD to record this music. It's from a rarely done opera, by a composer known more for his symphonies and oratorios than operas.
Early music, so there were ornaments to be worked out, and it just also had to MAKE sense (yes, all 8 repetitive minutes of the aria).

I received the music on Friday afternoon.
Looked at it repeatedly on Friday night, a bit on Saturday before the show.
A lot more on Sunday (which even included buying the arias on itunes to make sure I was going in the right direction on my own).

But without my usual resources here of libraries with scores, recordings, easily accessible coaches that could bang through it with me before I had to record it--I did it all on my own, and yesterday at the coaching I have to say it went quite well!

I CAN say that the arias were in my voice. Maybe not so much my body.
The recording is accurate, it is nuanced in the correct period of music and vocalism that the era and text and ornaments require. It is sometimes exciting, but it is definitely something that I can tell, when listening to it, that is not a role I've had experience with.
No staging in scenes class from undergrad. No auditions previous to this, no recording projects that make this one of my old "standards".

It's new and exciting- and that sounds a bit weird to my ear, which is used to hearing polish mixed with ease of delivery.

I am "happy" with the recording, but I wonder how much different it may have sounded IF I had either sung this role before, learned the whole role, or had any experience with the opera whatsoever before I was informed on Friday that I needed to record the aria asap.

And so, about learning music on the "quick". What I do:
Get music.

Look through pages of music to see the high, the low, the coloratura, the A or B sections, get a feel for the structure of the piece.

Translate words.
What? Old school Italian? OK, translate them using the ancient dictionary and make sure you understand that it's about cupid mocking YOU, not you mocking cupid (fool reflexive verb tenses that are no longer used).

Bang out some pitches and rhythms.
What? It's Baroque? Awesome! I already KNOW the A prime except for all the ornaments I have to make up now!

Try to sing through it.
What? No piano? No rollout keyboard?
Just that same pitch pipe that you used as the music director of your a capella group in college? YEP. Hope it's still at A440 after being dunked in chloraseptic spray numerous times when you sang while you had mono because you were committed to the group! And also when it was at the bottom of your bag which was mysteriously submerged twice in pineapple juice from those mini containers you used to keep in there, but forgot about before slamming said bag down on the pavement to wait for the shuttle but to the top of campus.

Break down and check out online.
Has anyone sung this? Is it a midi file? Break down again and go to itunes. WHAT? You can buy the entire 3 opera compilation for 65 bucks? NO THANK YOU!
I'll just buy this aria for 99 cents. You rock, itunes.

Oooh- lookey-here! I WAS singing it correctly, and HEY! That chick just used the same ornament I was going to in the prime! sweet! I'm on the right track.

And that is how, two and a half days later and an opening night later, I prepared for this recording.

But hey, it sounds great, all the notes are there, and I probably will never have to sing this aria ever again in my life unless I get the actual role--and you know what?
It's actually a really nice little sing! A sweet character, well-written, funny and heartfelt at the same time.

Today- day off from singing.
Tomorrow- next show.
After tomorrow- back to the new music learning (Messiah). I'm already rejoicing greatly.

12 November, 2007

hot off the press

Got a great first review of the show.

I've said it before and I'll say it again--press SHOULD NOT matter, and vocally critiquing me or my acting really doesn't make or break my day. I don't live and die for it or because of it.

However it DOES create buzz when it's sent to possible future employers/GDs/people that make decisions about my voice and me before they even meet me or hear me and just get a sheet of paper or email from an agent listing me as a possibility for xyz upcoming role.

So there you go. Good press in a new role that will hopefully continue the ball rolling and lead to repeat performances as well as new opportunities.


11 November, 2007


Tonight marked the addition of yet another one of my 'bread 'n butter' roles to my repertoire.
I arrived at the theater early (as I always do), to just be there, be in the air, get focused, and of course leave little goodies and treats and cards for my castmates.

Hair and makeup is kind of a big deal this time around since I have to be blond. My whole coloring is changed so I'm not washed out by the WHITE costume and blond wig and that requires layering of foundations, and a long time in the wig chair to push away all of my long dark hair and make sure the tight blond is the only thing that's showing.

And after all that, I only have one entrance in the first act and it's not even an aria!
So I warm up, I look at other music, I hang around the hallway, I listen to the show, and mostly I just wait until Act II when I do most of my work- aria,duet,aria, quartet, with a bunch of chatter and stage business in between.

How did I feel about my performance? You know that thing that I always write about- the weird nerves that sometimes happen and I don't know why because I'm feeling calm cool and collected about what's about to happen?
NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I was smiling, happy, focused, I even ATE something today in the afternoon. I felt energized, and also like it was just rehearsal all over again and I knew what I was doing.

So strange! Maybe it's a pressure thing. House, people there..but no, there were people there to 'see' me tonight that have some future influence on 'things'.

But then again, NOT strange at all, because what I think I'm learning is that I AM prepared for everything I do, and honestly, I think that I do it quite well.
As I've written before-
WHY do I do this?
Work so hard? Put myself through the teachers, coaches, criticism, self-critiquing, everything that so easily could knock a singer down?

To hear the overture tonight.
To be backstage at the door two minutes before I go on for my first note.
To come off stage glowing and in a tizzy, not knowing where the music began or ended, because LIFE is the music, and I just lived for someone or something out there on stage.


10 November, 2007

(i have to do it...don't hate)


(2pm, I've been lying in bed since waking up at 11). Please excuse the Guffmann quote, but it shall and rightly should show up at every opening night.

Tminus 4 hours until I am turned into a Marilyn-esque Platinum Blond, and will cavort around in an "I dream of Genie" bare midriff (oh LORD I can't eat dinner or it will show) costume.

07 November, 2007

so THIS is what it (almost) feels like

My day so far:
7:21 am- call from agent.
me at 7;21- what the...WHO is calling..(can't read the phone, eyes still half shut from sleep...damn, missed it...foolish people in NYC) Look briefly, it was the agent. Uhhh.they KNOW I'm here..what's up.

7:26 am. agent again.
ok, there is a problem i'm answering this one.

Hi. Do you still know role x that you sang 4 yrs ago at first-yap?
Big ole-opry house MAY need someone to do it on Friday night.
Can you give me artistic admin's cell number at current- opera so I can ask about a release on your dark day?
I'll be in touch.

(me: holyshitholyshitholyshit..awesomeawesomeawesome)

Numerous calls and emails later:

7:45am through 11:30am.
Try to upload clips of opera to agent via email. FAIL. Hotmail, gmail and yahoo all FAIL at that.
Upload them as private Youtube clips to send to agent and big-ole-opry-house.

Find out whether local library has said score (they do, in the wrong language).
Find out that the odds are VEEERY VEEERY small that big-ole-opry will take a chance on someone they're never even heard live (DUH), but still am thinking that maybe they'll let me sing from the pit (which is the plan anyway).

Find the libretto online. Go through it. Still there, mostly. Would have to brush up a duet, and most of the little recit-y lines, but I could totally do it.

Stop and Think: COULD I do it? Holy crap, what a huge break that would be IF they would let me.
In touch via facebook with cast-member-of-said-show who is pulling for me and saying how fun it would be to do.
Me replying yes, but the odds are slim to none.

I know this.

Another hour passes.
Still trying to upload things on Youtube.
Calling library to find out if they'll check something out to a non-resident (no, damn- then what's the point of GOING? to photocopy the whole score?)

Also find out I'm offered a Messiah gig in the meantime.
TANGENT- You'd THINK I'd know this, but as as nice Jewish girl who has only subbed for church job once, I don't.
But I will by December!!!

Back and forth email patter with agent every 4 minutes, cast-member on facebook, bff via phone and email who is also faxing me OTHER music (yea, that Lieder) that I need to learn in 2 weeks...

Me wanting to kick my own ass for not having gone through this score in over 4 years...but still excited about the possibility, the tiny tiny tiny chance that I could get a chance to just be FLOWN there to be there IN CASE, (saving their behind and making me look good).

And then- 11:39am (my time). Not needed anymore.
Ok, but I was a CONSIDERATION, right?
And it felt almost as exciting as those times that I DID get to go on for the ailing singer, made my debut at previous-yap 2 years ago on the mainstage, and since then have continued to be semper-prepared, always ready for anything, and uber-on-top-of-it-all.

So. Not this time.
But next maybe :)
Plus I sing for that company's young artist program in a few weeks!

Ah, the weird in-between YAP/RAP/Mainstage/REAL singer years.

What a morning.

06 November, 2007

tech week

After getting used to morning, afternoon, and/or evening rehearsals, tech week seems a welcome break- only called at night, at showtime.

So what am I doing with my extra time?
A mix of being productive and then not so much.

I've revisited the lieder that I have to re-memorize for a competition that's upcoming. It's all there again (just need to work on Amor a bit more), and once I find a pianist when I'm back in the city I'll look forward to running that repertoire again.

What else?
It seems that of the auditions I'm getting for myself this season, they are all set. I've heard back from everyone and have everything scheduled for late November and early December. Happily, I have two days with two auditions each- which makes me a happy camper. One warm up, one change into audition dress, plenty of time between the times, and voila- I feel like I've been way more productive than just getting ready for one five minute sing.

I'm not singing for many places because current-opera runs over a lot of the audition season opportunities.
Still, I'm hoping that mainstage companies are still in town when I get back so that I can present myself for next year.

04 November, 2007

401 posts?

oh really?
Nice of blogger to keep track of that for me. Huh.

Ok, in response to the chocolate post below, for all of you SO interested readers (umm, no one?) yes, I had the chocolate. The bar. Not just a square. And it was gooooood and yummmmmy.

And the right TIMING if you pick up what I'm puttin' out there.

Oh yea. Tech week, dress rehearsals, and this is what I have to deal with? WHY oh why does that horrible Gap theme-song commercial keep mocking me while running through my head-- "I enjoy being a girl" ?

Nope. Not so much right now.

In all fairness (fairness?), it will be "bye bye bye", or 'gone baby gone' by opening night.

So, I have a headache, I just watched Joyeaux Noelle so I'm a bit emotional as well...in addition to aforementioned 'condition', and I'm glad that in 11 minutes it will be midnight for another hour, which means I have another hour to sleep or try not to make any sudden movements while I'm awake tomorrow and before our afternoon and evening of photoshoot, provided dinner, re-hair, re-makeup and run-through.

02 November, 2007

a chat with chocolate.

I really can't explain to you how much i want that chocolate right now.

maybe if i write an apostrophe to it i wont eat it.

why should you stay alive in bar form and not get in my belly?

is it because you were processed at the hershey plant and may have come into contact with other nuts and wheat products?

is it because if i eat you i'll ruin a perfectly good day of being good, eating fewer calories than normal, and hoping to look a LITTLE better in my jeans and not have a preggers belly in my midriff-baring costume?

is it because i shouldn't really eat past evening even though i've been at rehearsal for 3 hours and i'm very very hungry? and I deserve it?

why are you so tasty?

no. you're not even that tasty.

not like chocolate from the true source, with 75% cacao, or something Belgian or some German truffle.

You're just plan old Hershey's. Milk chocolate.

But you're sitting there, in that grocery bag from last week (when I was weaker than I am now), and I really want to at least lick you.

Or take one square? Who am I kidding? I will not eat one square. I won't even stop at half of you. I'd eat the WHOLE thing If I could...right now.

I'll just go have some water.

night night chocolate. we shall meet again tomorrow. this isn't over.

01 November, 2007

run-through stasera

Tonight we have our run through for the designers.

While I'm sure there that it will mostly run smoothly, we spent most of yesterday editing, cutting and rewriting dialogue, changing blocking to make things go more smoothly and to let some people deliver lines from a more sweet spot onstage than upstage at the top of the rake.

So there could be some snags along the way with forgotten changes, etc.

Yesterday we had a dialog rehearsal.
Singers that I've worked with, for the most part, have such a hard time learning lines that aren't sung. They freak out about spoken lines. Except those that came from theater backgrounds, of course,
Well, welcome to the Singspiel.

In THIS show, however, we all seem to have it under control. A few people come from theater, a the others are just comfortable, the rest are just funny. Improv, as I've said before, is a common phenomenon during rehearsals, and things are really taking a nice pace.

We tightened up a few things, did a speed-through, and with that, the show was on its feet and ready for tonight.

I'll be running through the show in my head, relaxing, and make-believe-ing that this is the start of the runs so that I can begin a vocal, mental and physical routine.