29 February, 2008

you can teach an old dog new tricks

Today I had a consultation lesson with a possible new teacher.
Let me explain.
I have had the same 'teacher' since high school. I saw here every week from the age of 15-18.5.
She then handed me off to my undergraduate teacher, with whom I continued to mostly sing art songs, and once in a while, go over an aria or two that I had learned in high school...it was about getting materials ready for juries, not so much doing auditions for young artist programs.
In grad school I had two teachers that were more like coaches. We talked technique, but it was always about the role that I was currently working on. Sometimes about singing open, singing here, there, high, low, etc...but all for the upcoming role.
In year-round-yap I had no teacher.

And so, throughout the years, I have always gone back to my first, high school teacher, to check in. Make sure everything is clear and easy. Send her recordings, and get her feedback.
The wonderful thing about working with her, is that I can always return to that light, easy, free singing.
But what I can't do with her, now, I'm finding, is incorporate the bit of a bigger voice that I have now, with what her ear is used to hearing--which is me at age 18.

And so, I took suggestions.
There are SO many teachers in NY and the surrounding areas.
I listened to some sopranos, I listened to my agent, I read lists and lists of pros and cons on the websites for singers, and I decided to try it out.

And today, I'm really very glad that I did.
What I was expecting- complete talk of overhauling technique, possible harshness, possible talking up of said teacher's technique..and just to wonder whether it would work.
What I got- an honest and insightful interpretation of my singing technique in words.
To put it simply, this teacher said I didn't have very far to go in terms of singing in the 'technique' that she teaches.
She said I was a quick study, she'd be happy to continue working with me, and I felt like I WAS a quick study. And what I changed was so minor, but so simple to do--and yielded a pretty big difference in my voice and the way I felt about my production.

The bottom line is, I'm looking for beauty of tone throughout the range. Who isn't?
This person showed me in 45 very short minutes that it can be easily done. It does not have to sound manipulated, produced, or like any other singer.
I let go a bit, I feel the breath lean out a little bit more in the middle, and I can sing high G's and well beyond that, while feeling like I'm hanging out around a C.

And it's bright and brilliant and all of the GOOD adjectives.
And it feels the same, if not easier.
It makes me laugh.

However, most importantly, this teacher gave praise where praise was due- to my first high school teacher.
Who taught me: (in not so technical terms) smiling eyes, laughing cheeks, relaxed jaw, and speak the words to me. Just say it and make me believe you.
THAT was my technique and IS my technique.

She said that there was nothing wrong. There could only be things that could be done better. I don't have to unlearn anything. I don't have to overhaul--and I believe her, because I felt it and heard it.

The prospects of spending the next 3 weeks before upcomingrole1 studying with a new teacher and a new coach, both of whom I respect, and feel like I'm making great progress for, is really making my day.

28 February, 2008

little girls, little girls, everywhere I turn...I can..hear them

Does every soprano have that little girl voice? The voice that you started with? That white, clear, silvery, crystal, easy thing that you just had naturally every since you can remember?
That voice whose qualities were praised by teachers as a natural gift.
The voice that got you through age 15-18 and all state choir and high school competitions.
The voice that got you into undergrad and a cappella.
The voice that then began to grow and be shaped and suddenly, around age...22...ish...find itself again. This time a bit more vibrato, a bit more roundness, a bit more...plummy...than that white angelic boy-soprano/chirpy thing that was.

So you think you said goodbye to it. But really it's still there. For me, it's on the eee vowel. HELLO 15 year old! You just totally ruined that nice legato line that I was trying to sing by popping into your old self and just sounding a bit--girlish and young.

What to do to say g'bye to that voice (even though it's what your ears really want to hear, and the only thing that really sounds like 'you', to 'you') :
Conscious thoughts about eee.
Every time there's a word or an approach to it on a decently high note.
Think about freeing it from it's close-jawed cage.
Opening or dropping JUST that tiny bit so that it is in line with everything else that I've learned since then.

I hope.
The more I learn this LOW role, the more I learn about what the potential for my voice is.
And I'm excited by what I'm working towards.

27 February, 2008

for laughs

Go to abc.com.
Watch videos of Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon, and response by Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck. Repeat.

Oh, and then go study my new cadenzas.


New York makes me busy. No time to blog!
No, not really.
I actually didn't have my trusty mac with me, hence the non-bloggage. Now we are re-united and it feeeeels so gooood.

Music Update- coachings have been going smashingly. I love it.

Music Theater update- went to see Legally Blonde. Thought it would be NOT good, but actually it was MORE than amusing, and the songs are still stuck in my head. Guess that's a good thing.
Diatribe to come about the current state of belting on broadway, but I think there's just been a shift from what I remember falling in love with in high school, and what has come out since for the soprano belter voice.

More later, as I'm down to 12% battery and I haven't yet unpacked the charger.

23 February, 2008

culture weekend

Ok, I'm going to admit that I completely wasted the snow day away by staying inside and watching movies all day--even though I was hungry and there was no food. I did not go outside.
And then it was dinnertime, and I was hungry, and I had to step outside.

But TODAY and tomorrow and I'm having a culture weekend.
First, I had a wonderful brunch at Rare Bar and Grill (Lex b/w 37 and 38)--the French toast with bananas is amazing.
Next I visited the Morgan Library and Museum, mostly to see the photography exhibit of Irving Penn.
A glimpse into the artist's view of the artist--all of the shots were of famous writers, artists, performers--and so in addition to the construction of the shots, the faces of these geniuses were so interesting to glimpse--a moment of their limelight captured on film.

Tomorrow I'm going to attend the MONCA National Finals at the MET, where 9 young lucky and talented singers will get to compete for national recognition, possibly a place in the Lindemann program, and I'm sure national and international attention by agents, opera companies, and the likes.

THEN I'm going to a master class, AND to see Il Barbiere the next night.

So, I suppose what I'm saying is, that I don't feel so badly about doing absolutely nothing yesterday.

21 February, 2008

recorded history

I knew there was a reason to tote around that bulky minidisc player for the past 4 or 5 years...the reason was, that one day (this past weekend), I'd be rummaging through the myriad boxes in my basement containing everything from high school, college, gradschool, summeryaps, yearroundyap, and all of the packing and unpacking in between--that I'd find three minidiscs. And of course, wanting to re-use said discs, I popped them in the machine, and started to listen.

Blast from the past- the Mad Scene staging rehearsal, circa September 2005. I remember this day clearly. I came in wanting to record the rehearsal so that I could review the blocking later on. What I didn't realize was just how much it would all make sense to me--every nuance, every move, the director didn't even say anything about move here move there--he let me feel it out, the cadenza, the space in between, the bloody sheets, the strewn flowers left over from the wedding.
There's ONE interjection about moving a whole section stage right, but otherwise, it was a go with the flow type of situation. I can hear now how the room was silenced by some of the things that I was doing--usually there is the usual din in the background, or at the table--directors giving asst. directors notes, conductors fixing things, mouthing things, stressing more open vowels, other cast members doing their thing around the table where I had placed the recorder.
But what I noticed most was the quiet.

And so, even at that age, singing a role that I would LOVE to sing again at some point in my career, knowing that I was very young and very green but still giving it my all (AND knowing that if I sang it again tomorrow it would sound completely different)- I sounded, in all honesty, on.
Yes, it's young. Too young to be considered seriously on the large operatic stages. But not too young to be singing it correctly, with pathos, with a certain rawness and sweetness of an untested, fresh, and completely optimistic vocalism.

It was a nice refresher to what I'm trying to do these days--learning a new role that is in some ways also not vocally 'perfect' for my rep- after all, it was written for a mezzo!, but seeing that I handled it with grace and ease, and knowing I can do it again. Never pushed. Never darkened. Never did anything but open my mouth and say the words on the pitches that were written for it.

I'm unnerved by it, and also comforted by it.
A recorded history that I'm proud of and that I also can reflect back on, to see just how far I've come since then. And hope that I always keep a bit of that young bright-eyed optimism and purity of voice, while learning to maneuver in the larger and more supported instrument that I've tuned since that time.

20 February, 2008


I can either have a nice and relaxing end-of-May, doing nothing but preparing for upcomingrole2, OR I can apply to all of those competitions that take place in the last 2 weeks...(current count: 7 that DON'T overlap between May 12th and May 28th) and be flying all over the place.

The opportunities for connections and possibly winning some money are lovely.
The opportunities for frequent flier miles, last minute cancellations and missed connections, and of course, that odd May Sickness (that came upon me last year during this time and forced me to cancel 3 comps) are not so lovely.

Not so sure what to do, but I have to decide soon because deadlines and recordings will be looming.

19 February, 2008

finalmente!! (finalett-ti)

Note to ACB:

THIS IS NOT A FREAKOUT THREAD about the role!! :)

Yayyyy! It's magically there! In my head--the finale!
Woo hoo!

Here's what you do:
When you go to sleep, around 11 (because you have to wake up at 7am the next morning to get on a train for NYC for a coaching),
put the score on the floor to your right,
your ipod (after you listen to it once) to your left,
the keyboard at the foot of your bed,
lay on your BACK, with TWO pillows,
and close your eyes, and even though it's 11 and too early to go to sleep,
and when you wake up---you will MAGICALLY have memorized the finale!!!

No, really. It clicked today and I couldn't be happier. Now, onto the other stuff, after that!

I had a kick-ass/ass-kicking coaching on Aria1 today, with RJ--my new mistress of legato/low/middle singing.
Things to remember:

Umm, even though I can do those tricks to sound like La Bubbles did, all light and floaty and childish, I CAN sound like a full (dare I say lyric?) soprano singing all of the runs, twists, turns, AND low notes as well--so, even though I love Belle and how she always makes me smile no matter what I'm listening to or watching of hers, I need to make mine a bit more mature so I don't pull the same old 'coloratura tricks' which include, NOT singing legato and not really attacking staccatti in full voice, etc. etc. (please now refer to index of life page 293., Early Vocal Development and being able to get away with having a young-sounding and incredibly flexible instrument).

18 February, 2008

finally kind of sort of better

No medication in the past 24 hours, and I was able to sleep without theraflu.
I even took a 40 minute brisk walk today (until it started raining on my head), while listening to Act I of upcomingrole1 that I need to learn (note: I don't even come in until minute 34 or so).

What can I say about this role? It was offered to me at the semi-last minute, and even though I have TIME to learn it, I'm feeling like I am not getting as much done as possible with it.

Aria1- memorized
Recits 1-3ish- memorized, but not well enough or fast enough for what I want to do with them on stage eventually.
Duet1- memorized WITH alt. cadenzas that I want to do
Recit4/5- maybe 60%
FINALE1- NOT EVEN CLOSE. It's so fast, it's so wordy, it's so filled with random interjections at times...in short, it's driving me crazy. And it's 100 pages long.

I can't even look at memorizing anything after it, because I'm so FLUSTERED by it!

I know that I need to break it down into itty bitty pieces, and just write out the one or two lines that fly right by, and NOT think about the next 96 pages or so, while I'm trying to fix one section.

Truthfully, I do know more than I think. I just don't know it all 100 pages in a row.

Back to new memorization games.
I have many, many of them.
And apparently the one that I've been playing so far is NOT working for this finale.

I may have to resort to pacing/skipping around the room with different pieces of colored paper in my hand...lifting the right hand for when I KNOW things, and reading off of the left when I don't.

Strange, I know. But it works.
Back to being 'fredda e immobile'

17 February, 2008

3.5 down, 312.5 or so..to go

Recit, today you are the bane of my existence.

Sometimes you are just so easy...you roll right off of the tip of my tongue. I look at you ONCE, ONCE!, know the context of the scene that I'm in, and it just makes sense.
Of COURSE I'd say: si,si,lavinceropotessialmenomandargliquestalettermacomedinessunquimifidailtutorhacent'occhibastabastasigilliamolaintanto.
It ROLLS! I read it once, I got it.

And then there are those that just don't come at all. Neither the pitch NOR the words.
I can play it 5 times. I can read it 5 times. I repeat it slowly, I repeat it quickly. speed up, slow down, cheat by looking at the score when I don't remember what comes next, and then (the WORST) break into recit from ANOTHER section.

That's the thing I have to be most careful of...and so I paced myself today by learning (and trying to memorize) 2 recit-y sections that followed one another, and then took a recit break and looked at the ActI/II (depending on Ricordi or Schirmer) finale.

I'm very far away from freak-out mode since I DO have time to do this, but I wish the process would go a bit faster. All of the finales, finalettos, ensemble pieces, are SO wordy and so long--even if they repeat the same two phrases over and over again, it's like tongue twisters on any note from A below middle C, to two octaves above that--and fast.
And have I mentioned fast?

15 February, 2008

From my mid-day liquid theraflu stupor...

Sometimes I think that I would absolutely not be able to do an "internet/phone" detox.
I woke up at 7am, still not feeling well. It is now 1:55pm.
The ONLY thing that I've done, besides drinking 5 cups of tea, 2 glasses of oj, sneezing and readjusting the warm blankets around me in bed:


Wash, rinse, repeat,and press "refresh" on all of those pages...basically waiting for people to email me, or for facebook to notify me that someone has done SOMETHING to me on facebook.

I know it's wrong. So very very wrong.

I'm finished now. I think the "nighttime" theraflu is kicking in. Time for a nap.
I've been a bad, bad girl.
When I wake up I'm REALLY going to memorize 3 pages of recit. For serious.

into the a-biss, piano music

Just added a new blog to my list of "websites i frequent while...not doing other things that I should probably be doing":

I've only seen and heard him play in one concert, April 2, 2006- Town Hall (Beethoven, Schoenberg, and Schumann,---enlightening), but ever since, Jonathan Biss, pianist-traveler-blogger has been someone I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for a return to any 'neck of the woods' that I happen to be in.

At that April concert, the tickets were sold out, and I remember waiting outside as the old ladies in fancy suits shuffled by (overly made up for an afternoon concert), and hoping that some kind soul would return a ticket to the box office, or have it for sale outside.

As it turned out, I did get in, but my seat was on House Right--NOT the place to be for a piano concert (I like to see the hand-y-work!), and so after the first piece I was able to move to an empty seat that I saw on House Left, with a perfect view (sorry, it was of your butt, too, but the hands were what I was looking at--I promise!)...(oh, and that guy who coughed profusely? He was right behind me--and I gave him that Halls cough drop--you're welcome).

And so, since he's just one year older than me, kicking ass at an international performance career, and has the best personal bio ..ever...(could only be surpassed by the "skills" sections of SOME opera singers that I've seen, which include: "touches tongue to nose"), and he UPDATES his blog more than half of the other links on my sidebar do, he gets added. So read and enjoy.

ps, it's official, I have something viral and I'm contagious.
SO glad I don't have to sing anything until Tuesday.

14 February, 2008

42 day project

Learn 316 pages of music to be memorized for rehearsal day 1.


Not that this day has really meant anything so special in the past (well, maybe in 4th grade when I had my first crush on an American kid in an American school), but this year vday is a bit different than it has been in the past...4 years....for me.

Meaning, there is no one special to mock the holiday with me. I didn't get to buy a box of chocolates, eat the chocolates myself, and then GIVE said box of chocolates to said someone with a note inside that says something witty about the fact that this is a corporate sponsored holiday to make us feel bad about ourselves after a month of New Year's Resolution dieting, etc, etc,etc.

This is not a recent development in my life, just one of the days that I'm reminded that what I had thought was a comfortable and good thing for a very long time, did not work. And that yes, my life as a traveling singer (or traveling anything) had something to do with the added strain of keeping up a long distance relationship for over 4 years.

I don't tend to get too personal here, so I'll just end it at that.
No sympathy needed, just a bit of honest reflection.

Back to my orange juice.

13 February, 2008

still out of commission

While everyone else got to play in the snow or have a snow day, I was tucked into bed, drinking freshly squeezed oj, eating homemade chicken soup (and Matzah ball soup out of the jar before I got out of bed to buy the ingredients to make th homemade soup), and doing just about nothing.

Oh wait, I DID mark the cuts in my score.
Have I mentioned that when you get thrown into something like this at the last minute, how WONDERFUL it is to take all of the VIDE's that reduce your recit by a zillion, and neatly trim repetitive ensembles?

Of course I will eventually learn everything, in case the MET calls (hahahahah), but for now I'm just working on what I need know.

There was something else that I wanted to write about, but in my hot tea and warm soup full-tummy stupor I can't quite think of it right now.

It may be 9:32pm, but that's a good enough bed time for me.

Oh yea, I made a logo up all by myself for my new website/business. I felt pretty snazzy about conquering photoshop and html in one sitting.

good night.

12 February, 2008

serves me right

Late bedtimes plus nyc 'urban' air/water/filth plus not eating enough veggies plus whatever forces of nature decided to mess with me equals:

Woke up feeling like crap, ears and nose completely blocked, and even a sore throat!

WHY didn't I buy more packets of Emergen-C when I ran out last week?! WHY didn't I eat double the Flinstone's vitamins?

I think it's this weird virus that's been going around with everyone that I know. But I don't really get sick! I mean, I do ONCE in a blue moon--but I usually see it coming and then eat tons of pineapple and drink emergen-C like it's koolaide, and stay in bed, and rest, and...bla bla bla..I know how to take care of myself.

So this twice in a blue moon thing is NOT cool.

11 February, 2008

just another manic monday

It seems like I spent the day applying to competitions.
Oh, yea, I DID spend the day applying to competitions.
Went to the post office twice to get money orders (not cool that they only accept cash or debit for that--I don't have DEBIT! I have CREDIT!).
Trolled youtube for a bit to find some interesting arias and oratorio stuff that I may want to learn.
And was otherwise pretty unaccomplished in learning upcomingrole1. Ok, I went through the entire score, but that doesn't really mean that I learned things. By heart, that is.
I can definitely SING it all, minus the parts where I'm figuring out fun cadenzas.

And minus the parts that are still tba cuts.


I can feel the cycle of evil beginning already.
For the past 2 nights I have not fallen asleep until well past 2am.

I'm going to try very hard not to flip my days and nights--this usually only happens leading up to and after a show! (getting home at midnight with tons of energy= 2nd dinner at 1am and bedtime at 3 or 4.

Even if I set my alarm early for tomorrow I know I'm going to be exhausted---so why set it at all if I don't have to "do" anything until well past noon? hmmm...

Ok, fine. I'm trying to go to sleep.
Say night night ibook.
-night night.

10 February, 2008

ok, we're friends again.

Except for the very very chilly weather tonight that followed the 5 minutes of snow flurries, nyc and I are bff's again.

"and it's funny how it switches like that"- (one of the greatest comedies ever, if you don't know the quote original, google it!)

Maybe it was something about the day of quiet,
being productive (well, a LITTLE),
having dinner with great friends and reminiscing about high school, college, a cappella groups, ex's, and chocolate--with all of the photo proof from the past 4 years to laugh and be amazed by,
and then walking my freezing ass home, since the subway (as always) was under construction in the evening, running express, and took me 20 blocks north of where I actually needed to be.

Up next for this week-
more legato work with a new coach,
a concert and dinner with more friends
some un-valentines day festivities
and we'll see what the weekend brings.

09 February, 2008

the big bad city

Once again I find myself in the NYC doldrums.

I'm excited when I arrive, I schedule coachings, see friends, go out, wander around in the frenzied city, and then all of a sudden it hits me (on a Saturday night)--I don't feel like doing ANYTHING. I don't want to see anyone, or even step one little toe outside of the door. I want to sit in the apt. all night, by myself, with my recit and the tv on in the background (Law and Order, obvie), and just burrow in blankets and be vewwy vewwy qwwwuiet.

I've always thought about investment property in NYC, and how I "have" to be here for at least 3 months of the year (audition season), so why not look for something and see if I could finance it (along with generous, generous, family assistance), and then sublet when I'm not around--but when I feel like I do tonight, in NY, those ideas suddenly don't seem that appealing.

I suppose I've chosen the life of a vagabond. Living out of suitcases. Changing apartments every month and a half, living in hotels, home stays, and then in my time off, I have a choice. Sublet in the city, rely on friends and crash in the city, or live in one of the 2,3,or 4 other cities I've spent substantial time/school/life in and get a sublet there.

It all seems so fleeting when you have just 4 weeks to spend in one location.

Ok, enough babble for one evening.
Bottom line is, there's a lot to do here. But sometimes it's nice to just spend some time looking at the bright lights of the city from indoors.


I have to learn some new "sacred" pieces for a recording session this weekend.
I'm not quite sure why I haven't learned more of this stuff before- it's quite beautiful and moving.
But I suppose not having attended church except once or twice with friends from highschool (for FUN!), not having a Church job in college, and not really having sought out sacred music performing opportunities--there really was no opportunity for me to become familiar with this music.

Hopefully that will change soon, as I discover the beauty, not of just listening to these requiems on my ipod, but learning them with the hopes of one day having the opportunity to perform them.

07 February, 2008

3 pages, single spaced...

...of recit or "talky" ensemble interjections.
I can do that in 2 months, right???

This does not include the words to aria1, aria2, duet1, duet2 or any of the big ensembles that repeat themselves.

It's just the words in between.

It looks more daunting in a 488 page score than condensed to 3 typed pages.

I shall conquer you. First, though, I'm going to have an avocado and turkey sandwich on an English muffin. Because that is the only food I have left in the house (other than Cheerios, which I had for breakfast, and ice cream).


Well, it's official--my new website is up and running and so begins the official..beginning (I'm tempted to write begin the beguine...but that's so old-skool-music-reference) of a hobby/talent of mine turned into what will hopefully be some sort of business.

A majority of it will happen via phone and internet, some will happen in person when I'm available and in the right city.

I haven't added "meta" tags to it yet, so it's not yet google-able, but the site does accept direct traffic, and it also has an official "info@..." email address.

I suppose that now I have to look into incorporating, or somehow naming myself a taxable business...we'll get to that after my first official 'gig' FROM the website comes in.
Until then, it's word of mouth and previous contacts that I'm relying on to get the word out.

05 February, 2008

super tuesday and super scores

I didn't get enough sleep at all last night--due to, as usual, my body convincing itself that if it DID fall asleep that it would not hear my ridiculously obnoxiously loud alarm from my cellphone at 3:40am to wake me up before the taxi to the airport came to pick me up at 4am.
I tried, really I did. 12- in bed. 1- turn tv off. 1:20- put laptop away--and then I tossed and turned and woke up about every 20 minutes until finally getting out of bed and dealing with the face that I'd have to sleep on the airplane in the morning to catch up.

I arrived to a lovely present- 2 out of 4 scores that I need for upcoming gigs were delivered over the weekend.

I spent some quality time with a light blue Highlighter (MAN, that Barbiere score is huge), and now I'm watching and waiting to see what the democratic outcome of CA will be.

I'm literally just cracking this score open for the first time ever. I've only looked at the aria before, and more recently at the Lesson Scene and Figaro duet.
Umm, the finale of the Act goes on for over 70? 90? pages.

I'll probably do my crazy scene/page breakdown in my head tomorrow.
Pages, and how many I need to learn each day, memorize each day, what to start with, how to learn the Finale of the opera first or second, so that by the time I get that far through the score, there is something recognizable by the end.

I'm excited to put this together, and also have other things to take up my time when I need a study break, such as ItalianRole2 that I will be singing less than a month after this one.

All good things ahead.
Up next in the very near future:
Audition, competition, coaching, recording for competition, and more coaching.

04 February, 2008

ah, 'twas not to be

Audition part 2/2 went very well today again--Sang durchZ, asked for Oscar.
I could have done better on the 2nd run of DurchZ.
The Oscar felt connected and cute- but for me, that piece shows nothing except that I have a low and middle voice. I suppose I offer it because it's Italian, short, a role that I've sung and gotten great reviews for, and I know I could jump in anyday anytime and do it. Maybe not the best for a judging/competition panel though. Although- I can't just be known for singing high notes---so maybe it IS a good choice?

Oh, if only audition panels didn't hate Glitter and be gay so much. I really really love that piece and would have loved to sing it, but alas--twas not to be--and so my time here comes to an end. (not that singing glitter would have gotten me to the next level--just that I wish I'd sung it, comma, my time here has come to an end).

So- onward to the next task of learning ItalianRole1, ItalianRole2, and preparing for the next 2 or 3 competitions in NYC.

What have I gotten out of this experience?
Well, first 15 more singer friends to facebook!
Of course, the opportunity to sing for this level of opera house is an honor--and to feel like you represented yourself well is important.
I got to see two great operas, visit a new city, see old friends and new, and introduce myself and what I do to a knowledgeable panel who had never heard me before, and will hopefully remember me in the future.

So all in all, a great weekend of new faces, 4 arias, 2 operas, and one very content singer.


Well, I guess it had to catch up with Boston fans at some point.
Too many football, baseball and basketball wins in my lifetime.
But my grandparents, who have been season ticket holders to the Pats for 27 years (9th row, 50 yard line), have lived through the good times and the bad.
We'll come back. Just wait 'til next year.

Audition part 2/2 is tomorrow (actually, at this point, today).
I'm looking forward to starting with DurchZ.
I won't make guesses at which piece I think the panel will choose second. It doesn't really matter, because I love them both (that's why I offered them).

03 February, 2008

gameday highlights

Yes, I'm using sports lingo in honor of the SUPER BOWL.

Audition part 1 of 2:

"It's a great day for some opera singing today folks. We're glad you could join us.
The weather is nice and humid (not too fun for my hair) and all of the singers look great and ready to go. They're well rested and warmed up, so let's take you live inside REHEARSAL ROOM ONE (or 2 maybe, I don't remember)"

"Hi Pat, we're right outside door number one and we've been told that the acoustic inside is really great. Now, none of the singers have ever sung in this space before, so it'll be new for everyone, but they're confident and look fabulous in their suits and cute dresses--back to you".

"Our camera's weren't allowed inside, but we do have some insider information from one of the singers--here with the scoop is coloratur...aaah".

"Thanks Pat. Well, things started off well. I woke up just before my alarm went off (as usual), jumped in the shower for some morning steam and lip trills, and to steam my dress one more time. I had plenty of time, downed some Emergen-C (my equivalent of OJ for breakfast) and even managed to eat some food- a granola bar, before heading downstairs to meet my fellow singers and ride the shuttle over to the Opera Center.

Once there, I had plenty of time (I'm always early, very very early), so I chatted with a few singers who had already sung and were feeling good (and going to lunch-without me), and then it was my turn to find the coaching rooms at the very end of some very long hallways.

I did a few vocalises, got all the vowels ready, and then sang my usual warm-up song, DurchZ, on vowels. I was feeling pretty good, so I began to go through some repertoire. Zerbinetta (was considering beginning with this either today or tomorrow, and wanted to offer the whole thing--with the possibility of being asked to begin at a certain section), then a page or two of Glitter, some DurchZ on the words, Chacun to make sure I had the g (duh, I always do after warming up with DurchZ), and the first few measures of Oscar.

I took a breather, with 40 minutes left before the audition, and relaxed until then.
My ipod was on shuffle (as usual), and I got some Michael Jackson (The way you make(uh) me feel), and some other cheerful and pumped up music (Jtimberlake, The Killers, Ravel's vocalise, and then it was time.

Here's the play by play:
Walked into the room all smiles.
Offered: Chacun. Am loving where this aria takes me. I can see my buddies from the 21st regiment all around me and Tonio flirting back w/me in the distance.

Asked for: Zerbie from Noch Glaub.
Now, this is harder than beginning at the beginning. I know it, everyone knows it. When you start at the beginning of this piece you have this amazing momentum that takes you through it. It's a complete story, well, even more complete if I had the guys around me to do the whole commedia scene, but, ok, so even just the aria.
Ariadne has not yet checked out, so I have to do some convincing in the Noch glaub.
But who do I really have to convince of these true/false loves? Well, that's me, of course, silly.

I was feeling it. The piano was right there with me for the little nuances (that are written in my score, but this time he used his own Zerbinetta--I've seen 3 people do this before and I'm sure it's because of the fingering for some tricky sections..but still--it can ALSO be a bit dangerous when you've marked or circled things like Espr. or Rall. or have a big arrow to MOVE some phrase---luckily, all went smoothly.)

The breakdown:
I'd give chacun something like smidgens away from a perfect 10. And I'm not one to do that very often.
I'd give the Zerbie a 9.45.
Points off for me finding myself thinking about one or two phrases, instead of acting them.
Points off for not going as far as I usually do with the 'orgasm Ah's' dramatically or vocally.
But all in all, a solid performance on my part.

Looking forward to tomorrow, Pat."


Here, Part deux


But I soooo don't want to!
I keep thinking about the great show that I saw tonight.
And the excitement for tomorrow.

And of course, the mixed nuts and cookies and chocolates from the goody bag are staring Evil-ly at me from the next bed over.

Haikus in honor of the hospitality committee that left this treasure trove of goodies in my room:

Ok, ONE Krackel.
Then I'm going to go to sleep :)
Melting in my mouth.

V8 and lager
Do people really mix these?
I'll stick to water.

Mixed nuts and cheetos
You are finger-lickin' good (stage instructions: "licks fingers")
Yep, I still taste it.

Caramel with nuts
I feel bad for my dentist
Better buy more floss.

Ok, and that will be all for my creativity this evening.
Music to fall asleep to will be Brahms variations on a theme of Paganini.
And if I still can't fall asleep maybe some Bach cello suites.
And if I STILL can't fall asleep, it'll already be light out, so I may as well just get up and listen to some show tunes to begin the day with a smile.

outed :)

Today was the first time EVER that someone came up to me and asked if I was "Coloratur...aaah". First I was thinking, yes, I'm a coloratura (that was in my head) and thennnnnn I realized what this person was referring to :)
So, yes, it's me!
But how strange, because according to my calculations of the people that know of this blog's existence, MAYBE 43 people read this per day. Ok, maybe 44. Seriously, I have the google stats on it.

No one in my family knows this blog exists.

I think I've told one singer friend --and that's just because when we spent time together I'd be tappity-tap-tapping away online and she figured it out.

Of my "real life friends" (ie, college, non singers), maybe 2? (Both blog and showed me theirs first!)

And so it's only through blogging that the world has become smaller:
I was re-acquainted with ACB--we went to school at the kind-of-same-time (well, at least the little freshman knew who she was from afar!!),
I was introduced to the blog of lil'missbossy (whom I met today at the first intermission!)
And I have gotten to read the thoughts and musings of singers, critics, directors, and dilettante's alike.

It's pretty exciting when you can read the words of wisdom and preparation from a consummate artist like Grecchinois and then get to see him in a wonderful and hilarious performance this evening--and know what he's gone through to get there and feel a certain way about his delivery, his health, his thoughts on the role, and take a peek into the life behind the person I saw on-stage tonight.

And so, if that is what this little journal experience provides for anyone (I'm talking to you, 43 and 44)--whether they know me or not, I'm happy to provide an all-access pass to the inner workings, or, backstage if you will.

02 February, 2008

Here, part I

I drove for 2 hours in the hail and ice to get to the airport--and hoped all the way that my "possible flight delay" status would not turn into a cancellation.

Luckily, it did not.
Flight number one left on time (I fell asleep with a Halls in my mouth and woke up 2 hrs later with most of it still intact).
Flight number two---OH, flight number two.

Boarding was a disaster (can't we all learn from Southwest please? NO one is going to listen when you say do NOT get up until your row is called).
Then we sat on the plane for an hour.
The first explanation was that the generator was offline and they needed to pull back into the gate to make it work..or something.
More sitting.
Ok, safety first, I agree.
More sitting.
Then we hear that the generator is fixed but there is no ground crew to be found to help the plane leave the gate.
Umm, HOW many times have you done this? You just BACK UP and Pull a U-ey! :)

Just kidding.
So the ground crew shows up and we're off, trying to make up some time, but still arriving 45 minutes late.

I'm here, the hotel is great, I got a lovely little welcome package of goodies, and I can't wait for the start of the weekend.

01 February, 2008

1am post

Of COURSE it's past midnight and I can't sleep.
Well this is no surprise---the crazy and completely unnecessary anxiety linked to whether or not I'll wake up with my TWO alarms set for tomorrow to drive to the airport, the 'did I pack everything that I need to', and the general excitement for the next few days.

I love this job and just about everything about it EXCEPT the travel.
Trains, automobiles- check.
Airplanes- not so much.

I have obviously gotten more nervous about it the older I get, but really--I mean, I'm flying inside of a tube of metal welded together lord-knows-how-many-years-ago--over the entire country? The ocean?

Takeoff and landing are the worst, and every time there is turbulence I have a mini-freak-session until it evens out.

I used to LOVE to fly !!!
Especially the 12 hours to visit family across the world.

Now? No.

PS- I think I may hold the record for keeping a Halls, or Ricola, or Altoid in my mouth the longest---the trick? FALL ASLEEP with it in your mouth!
You'll wake up 5 hours later and it'll stilll be there--and will have molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth.