30 June, 2008

almost made it

Well...we didn't quite make it to the end of the show tonight--actually, we skipped a majority of the 2nd act, just cutting to quick changes and set changes.
It's such a busy show!
I made my 2 minute quick change JUST fine and had no other costume issues in general.
It's a completely different show once you're in costume on stage and not just wandering around in your sneakers doing the staging.

Tomorrow- wandel in the am, piano dress in the pm with photography.

29 June, 2008

last day off before the showwww

I stayed in bed late, did laundry, had a nice dinner, started a side project, changed my facebook status about 7 times, and basically just lounged, because it's the last day of freedom before we open this week.

I'm excited and ready at the same time. A nice place to be.

27 June, 2008

tech week

Welcome to tech week.

Things to attempt this time:
Bring fruits instead of bars as snacks.
Bring music instead of my laptop backstage.

Everyone around me has iphones and cool games on them, or is texting every second.
I want one toooo!

26 June, 2008

until we meet again...

Wishing all the happiness in the world to Ms. ACB who has written about the beautiful beginnings of her Chapter Three in life.
I have had the pleasure of seeing her at the MET (in performance, backstage, in the audience), meeting her "IRL" (in real life), and I hope to see her this summer again when I'm in town to see Ariadne in her current neck of the woods.
I've enjoyed reading her candid blog over the past few years..and to end with a quote from her current Candide---

Amo, amas,
Amat, amamus!

Amo, amas,
Amat, amamus!

Proving that this is
The best of all possible worlds
With love and kisses
The best of all possible worlds!


24 June, 2008

staging complete

The whole show is staged as of this evening.
Tomorrow morning we are adding the chorus into all of the scenes. Afternoon is ActII run-through and evening is to tweak finales. Thursday is a full run-through for the designers and then we're officially at the one-week mark until the show opens.

I actually can't really believe this. It has gone by so quickly. Am I really just here for 13 more days?
Is the show REALLY opening in 8 days? Yep.

Things I still want to work on are bigger and more meaningful gestures out front and not sideways, making my reactions snappy but then followed up with something interesting enough to fill the rest of the section.
The difference in walk for the maid, the doctor and the notary. Wielding a cane. Using a pocket watch.
My relationship w/Don A.
The daily excitement I get out of the girls' daily drama.
Feeling like I can teach them something and at the same time seeing them mature in front of me.

It's all in the details.

And of course, singing the right words and notes at the right time.

23 June, 2008

almost run-through

The show is almost completely staged.
This morning we ran through Act I and I think everything on my part is going smoothly. Meaning, I remember where I'm supposed to be and why I'm supposed to be there. Plus, the right words and notes.
We've done less reviewing of Act II and so I find myself flipping through the score making sure that I know what I'm supposed to be doing at each moment.
Of course, I do this 'studying' with my eyes closed, score open in front of me. If I can flip the pages and see the music and where I'm supposed to be on stage, then I know it.
If I can't, they I open my eyes and review.

Looks good so far. I love mozart. So clear and crisp. A reason for everything that is written. He makes it easy to be a performer.

22 June, 2008


No, not the tea. Just sleepytime.
I have been waking up before my alarm for the past 8 days, concentrating in rehearsal on building this new character and seeing where I can take it, and now I get a day off to relax and regroup.

What did I do?
Well, slept until 12 (after going to bed at 4am--too wide awake for no reason). Stayed in bed until ...this is so not even legal-- 5pm (I did get up to have breakfast...around 3??), watched Law and Order Marathon, and finally decided to get up and take a shower and be useful today.

What will I hope to do for the rest of the day?
Oh, this and that. Work on my ornaments again (I'm kind of loving the Clorinda aria right now), maybe even pull out the whole score and take a look at the rest of it.

Orrrrr I'll go see KungFu Panda with the rest of my cast!

Eh, it's my day off.
Tonight is for reviewing blocking and tomorrow begin the almost-run-throughs.

20 June, 2008

day 7 (and still no day off)

Aaaand now I'm swimming in staging.
We did the beginning of Act II today. And our wonderful director let us do a sit down session of recit-speaking. This works SO well and I wish there was time for it in every show that is recit-heavy.
Saying it. Saying it again, Saying it how you would say it, and not sing it. Trying to sing it. Nope, going back to saying it, because you sang too much.
And eventually you reach that speech-like balance that you need to really get across what you're trying to sing...I mean, say.

Anyway, I do a lot of running around and dressing and undressing the girls (just into bloomers, this isn't being staged in Berlin!), between that, having tons of recit that is really important to the story line, followed by an aria--I have to take the night off to just let it all try to absorb into my head.

I vote for an hour or two of law and order, and then closing my eyes to 'think' about what I'm doing on stage. And what I'm saying at the same time. And what I'm thinking. And which girl I have to dress next.

19 June, 2008

day 6 finale

Surprisingly there is not as much running around as I thought there would be.
I'm the maid, I'm the Dr., I deliver asides as the maid dressed as the doctor (and sounding like the maid), and I interject as the doctor.
A little upstage, a little downstage, some magnets, and presto- we have a finale that is crisp and to the point. And may I add, funny.
There is always a point in rehearsal (after 6 full days and no time off) where everyone starts to get a little silly.
We definitely had out moments today, breaking down into laughter with this physical joke, that second glance, and many interjections once things just got to the point of no return.
I'm glad we found some levity after working hard and then getting it right.
Tomorrow and Saturday- full day.
Sunday- day off!

day 5 runthrough sc.1-3

Ok, so now we've blocked scenes one through three in act one (that's everything that I sing in besides the finale).
The system here is pretty much a speed-blocking, then make it your own kind of deal--with mess-ups allowed for of course since there is so little time to really get it into your body the first time the stage direction is given to you.
I do pretty well with this because if anything, it's a memory game that you have to play. In the 10 minute breaks I thumb through the pages of the score and see whether I can imagine where I'm supposed to be on stage at the time and what I'm supposed to be doing or responding to.
If I can do it, that means I learned my staging from the hour before. If I can't, I actually have to sit down and write it into the scene so that I don't forget.
Things like-
"XLofD", "impertinent here", XUStoChair, and sometimes, to get me in the 'emotional' mood of what I'm supposed to be thinking or saying I add in some English slang words or something that will trigger a certain stance or attitude. "What?" "Oh REALLY", "Whatever".

So today I could do everything. The hardest stage cue I have is (of course) in someone ELSE's aria (which you never want to mess up--you pretty much become part of the furniture when another person gets to take center stage and sing one of the most famous arias from the opera), a little cross. But I want to make it just right so SHE feels good about reacting to me.

Tomorrow- finale staging.
And review.

17 June, 2008

day4 blocking

First day of staging rehearsal for my first scene and aria.
Notes to self:
Must remember that I don't want to be cute and soubrett-y.
I want to be matter of fact, in the know, and in control.
Kind of like a Zerbinetta-Despina. The men come into and out of my life matter of factly and I use them for my own purposes. It's fun while it lasts, and I'm nonchalant about recommending to the girls that they treat love in much the same way.
Although I care about their tantrums, this is also something I see daily. The teenage drama. I've been there, in a year they'll be over it...so why not try to hurry that date along and make them believe what I say.

16 June, 2008

day 3 musical sing-through

This morning at 10am we sang through the entire show.
That meant waking up at 8, warming up in the shower, and then realizing--hey, I don't sing for almost an hour into the show--why warm up when I'll just be NOT warm when I actually have to sing anyway?
And anyway I wasn't feeling so hot (insert that joyful Gap commercial with SJParker theme- tune "I enjoy being a girl" here), but it went well.
I got laughs on the Doctor voice (a mix of every ethnic German/Russian/Ukranian/Jewish you can think of), a nice comment from the conductor on the preparation I had done on the recits, and in general I think it will be a good show.

Rehearsals began, but of course since I don't sing til page a zillion...I won't be called probably for another day.

So instead I wrote THE most kickass ornaments for Clorinda this afternoon.
So the 2 Eflats and the high F at the end will make this piece my own. Plus the singing low Bflats and showing that I have an even range throughout.
Yay for a possible sweeeet starter aria if me-likes it this Fall still.

15 June, 2008

new arias and day 2

Besides having a headache on one side of my head for about 6 hours today, it was a good day!
Rehearsed the 2nd Act finale...I'm still not in love with my voice throwing for the notary. There are so many ways I can do it so I'm going to play around.
What I'm tempted to do most is belt it an octave lower, but I think the orchestration is just too much there for me to try and be a broadway mezzo.

So I'll stick with the nasal goat-y voice for now and see what else I can come up with.

Worked on Clorinda today.
I REALLY Like and I REALLY want to write some crazy ornaments for the 2nd half (in the style, of course!), but still crazy high and awesome.
It MAY be a piece I'm considering adding.

Sang thru je suis tytania but I'm not in love with it because it's a bit too vapidly repetitive.

And what I LOVE to sing right now is Fee. I learned it last year in a pinch and it got me a gig for '09, but it feels GOOD right now. Never paid much attention to it after that... Doesn't show the required 'high' and 'fast' for me--- but a beautiful piece in itself with enough 'coloratura' section and enough 'legato' singing that I'll consider it as well.

14 June, 2008

day 1

Settled in, bought some healthy food, managed to already blow the fuse because of my hairdryer (a lot of good that did with the humidity today anyway), and had about 2 hours of musical rehearsal today.
Act I sextet and finale.
Got some musical notes about phrasing, getting away from what's written on the page and making it more whimsical and less 'sung as written', but other than that it went very well.

13 June, 2008


555th post!
Well, it's TAKEN me long enough! sheesh!

I'm heeeeeere! 2 days of packing/hanging out, 1 day of iInsanity (anything technological went wrong), 2 days for travel (4 hours each day), and now I'm all cozy in my little artist bungalow apt. with my very own porch and Brita (what more could a girl need?).

Umm, I of course haven't unpacked, because I had to see if there were any wireless networks around here (YEP!), and haven't eaten (except for a twix bar for breakfast...ooops), and haven't looked at my music since Tuesday.

1. Back AWAY from the computer!
(this being done, everything else will most assuredly be a success):

2. Practice
3. Buy some food- preferably healthy and preferably NOT twix.
4. Unpack the things that could get wrinkled

In no particular order.

08 June, 2008

hot in...so hot in heeere

It's cooling off a bit now--hooray.
I've finished choosing my summer clothes.
Now it's onto summer music.
How much am I REALLY going to get learned that is 'extra' during the next 5 weeks?

I have some arias that I'd like to revisit and some arias that I'd like to learn in order to choose a NEW starting aria for this coming audition season.

The choices in NO particular character order are
Fairy Godmother
Tytania (la blonde, not Britten)

and a few others that I'm tossing around.

In thinking about my starters of the past, the kind of repertoire that I want to represent myself in, and what else is out there, here is my reasoning for choosing any of the above arias.

Yes, I can sing soubrette. As my resume and previous experience indicates. The -ina/ettas- love them all, BUT I have more. More high, more fast, more coloratura--and so, why not search for something that shows a soubretty character (which I definitely look like), but is a more challenging sing?

Yes, I can sing bel canto. As my resume ALSO will indicate. But as my voice and age indicate, these are roles that I will grow into, and should first sing in smaller houses.
So yes, I could go the Gilda, Amina route, but, right NOW the sopranos getting hired to sing those roles are simply more lyric sounding than I am.
They have clean coloratura, but thrive on those long beautiful lines.
I thrive in the coloratura sections with as many (tasteful) added cadenzas as possible, and sing a pretty line, but I don't sound like a warm lyric doing it.

So my previous starters have fit easily into the category I'm left with:
Something higher and more coloratura-heavy than the normal soubretty or llc sound, and something that doesn't tread on the lyric side of bel canto.

Chacun le Sait with a G in the first cadenza and an F in the final one.
Durch Zartlichkeit with nothing added except attitude and a fully sung E (hey, apparently it's more rare than I had thought according to SOME behind the table)--plus it's Mozart.
Zerbinetta from so war--a little too long, but shows everything that I want to show.

I suppose I'll take all of the arias with me and see which one or two fit me the best. I already know most of them already--not close to polished, but no note banging will be necessary.

Of course what will end up happening is that the music stays unopened on my dresser for those 5 months because I'm so busy (in a good way) with rehearsing!

Suitcase number one is full, suitcase number two is well on its way, and bag of shoes (do I take the fuzzy slippers or no?) needs to be closed already so I don't decide that in addition to my WHITE cowgirl boots I also want my GREEN ones!

07 June, 2008

it's gettin' hot in hrrr

Ok, I bid 'so long, farewell' to nyc this morning, but boy did I ever live up my last night.
A friend of mine from Chicago was in town and we did fun touristy things (Musical Theater included), walked through central park, found a nice Italian restaurant (and more importantly a nice bottle of Cabernet), and then I was roped into making the night even longer after the show--walking back up through midtown, ducking in for 3 martinis, stopping at the famous Halal Stand on 6th and 50something to get some Lamb wrapped in a Pita..and finally calling it a night with Charlotte's wedding episode from SATC on dvd.

However few hours later, we were up, packed, and out the door to our separate destinations and, I suppose, the official beginning of getting ready for my next performance.

Not that I've done anything today except make piles of clothes--
Summer general
Summer to take
Summer maybe to take
(subcategories include: gym/sleep, capris/jeans, t's, 'nice', 'rehearsal', dresses, skirts, and of course---shoes)

Put away winter
Put away fall

And that's about it.

Maybe later tonight I'll be inspired to sing a bit. Right now it's so hot that all I want near my throat is some cold iced tea or lemonade.

05 June, 2008


In a totally un-me-or-my-progress-related post, I had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal yesterday for a NY-based orchestra that is quickly gaining momentum in the international music scene.
A recent NYTimes article and review, a performance at Avery Fisher, an up and coming young conductor, a cnn interview, press from all over the US calling during the rehearsal (it was at a recording studio and I was behind the glass where all the 'business' was getting done).

The organization is run by a few 30somethings with financial support from a LARGE international bank, one or two super-donors, and supported by many people in the 'biz' (always helpful), but still, it doesn't feel like one of those 'pet projects' for the rich and famous.

They really have a hook, a catch, a reason to make them more special and cool and interesting than other orchestras and other groups. Their repertoire isn't standard, they are taking chances, and those risks are paying off.

It was exciting to be around. To see the day-to-day things that had to get done before the concert--all being done by 2 or 3 people, since they aren't big enough yet to have assistants to delegate the work to.
It was the setup, the union guys, the seating charts, the tickets, the backstage list of names, the press, the emails..everything..from 2 computers and 2 blackberrys and 2 people really driven to make this venture a success--which I'm sure it will be.

In short, the time I spent renewed my excitement for a time in the future when hopefully I'll get to be on the other side of the table.

nearing the flip

Day two of falling asleep way too late for no reason.
Last night- get in around midnight, wide awake, read the next day's online Times, Law and Order, it's 2am, still not tired, flip through channels, write some ideas down, listen to ipod, still not tired- 3:30. Turn tv back on ---spelling bee is on! THIS is what entrances me at 3:30am---how 13 year olds at their height of awkwardness try to fumble their way through words derived from the original persian to arabic to french.

Oh, and that last post was number 550. Do I get some sort of medal or monument?
Not bad for about 2 years of posting.

Last day in NYC is coming up.
Tomorrow- a visit from a college friend, which means dinner a night on the town, Friday maybe a museum, going to see a show Friday night and then leaving early Saturday to repack my life into 5 weeks and two suitcases (I get a car this time, so I have more leeway with the suitcases and the amount of SHOES).

Feeling generally good about my preparation and where I am. Maybe the last 4 or 5 pages of the Finale could be better..but otherwise I'm pretty much there..I think/hope.
And I still have a week.

Found some new arias that I'm hoping to get the chance to work on and polish this summer in hopes of some new and exciting starters for next year--or at least more things to bring to the table.

03 June, 2008

everything is beautiful at the ballet....

Yes, indeed, it was.
This was my second ballet (last year's Corsaire in Munich was the first), and it was gorgeous. Of course, it's Swan Lake. The music is familiar, the grace is pretty much a given, and it was the last performance of the run, so there was tons of electricity all around from the audience and performers alike- including a zillion bows and returns to stage.
HOWEVER- in comparison, Le Corsaire (and I don't remember what ballet company presented it) was danced more precisely than Swan Lake. The ABT (I seriously felt like I was watching parts of the movie Center Stage sometimes) is arguably (or not arguably but definitively?) the most well-known American dance ballet company...and so what I was expecting was something perfect.
Something so crisp. So synthesized. So precise with each group step.
What I saw were amazing formations, and yes, mostly all synchronized dancing when it was in groups---buuuut, not as synchronized as Le Corsaire. Really. It just wasn't pointed enough. They were doing everything right, but here and there a beat, a toe shoe, a turn, a leg...just kind of popped out for a split second.
And in comparison to the Russian ballets that you see on tv, that are perfect within an inch of their lives (probably because their lives or their family's lives WERE somehow...well, you get it)...it just didn't measure up.

Oh, and do not get me started on the orchestra.
Wow. That was kind of sad.
They have their own--and of course, being at Lincoln Center and sitting in the same seats that I see operas in, I was expecting Levine-esque proportions. Nope, not so much. And I'm talking about tuning here! And just in general paying attention and making it crisp.
Have I used crisp and precisely enough? Wow, maybe I had expectations that were too high.
But where you're used to hearing music in one way, and then you get a not-so-ensemble-y feel, it takes away from the excitement (when you know that the orchestra as well as the dancers main job--unless they are soloists within) is to make that pretty and precise picture onstage that we all oooh and ahh about.

Ok, but anyway, it was the first Swan Lake that I'd ever seen live, and I do have to say that the solo dancing did blow me away. First of all, Swan-ee (how I shall now refer to the main swan chick not only because it's a funny reference to an old Gershwin tune, but also because it makes me look sharp...how I love ya, how I love ya..)was beautiful and SO thin that from the family circle I could barely see her arms. I think her leg was as thin as my arm. But no, really, I know these girls and guys are SO built and so muscular, but they still have this perfect fragile grace about them.

She did like a zillion turns at one point--en point. Over and over, to the music, and from my FEW weeks/months of attempted ballet class from 04-06, umm, yea, I knew that was hard. (I even picked out the pas de chats, J!--cuz I know you're probably reading)...

In final review, and as A Chorus Line mentions, everything really IS beautiful at the ballet. Even the villains have a great dance, an awesome death scene, lovers jumping off of a cliff (more like flying onto what I hope was a well-cushioned mattress back there because they sure tore off that cliff like there was no tomorrow), princesses cavorting onstage, and of course all those white tutus running around and being pretty swans.

01 June, 2008


Wow, I sure have packed quite a bit of culture into my last couple of weeks in NYC.

But today, I was outside of the city and got to visit the home/grounds of one of my favorite painters, Frederic E. Church, a central figure in the Hudson River School of landscape paintings.
I remember the first time I spotted one of my favorite paintings of his at the MET, and ever since then have always been drawn to the light and dark masterful landscapes.
Well it just so happens, the house that he built in the style of a Middle Eastern Palace is sitting about 40 minutes away from my weekend getaway spot, and so today I visited it and got to see how Mr. Church and his family lived.
Beautiful views of the Hudson, the Taconic, the Catskills, plenty of acreage, and surrounded by quiet and inspiration.
It's no wonder he had time to perfect his skills and have such a beautiful artistic output.

This week- 2 more coachings, a friend coming into town (which means a fun dinner and night out, possibly with a musical involved), and then- au revoir nyc! Off to pack up my life for the next 5 weeks.

Tomorrow- Swan Lake! First time seeing it live!