28 December, 2009


I got to strike #14 off of my list of 25 things!! (see side bar, or link below).

First class, baby!


only a few days left...

This year is coming to a close and I can't believe that it's the LOWEST blog-entry year so far!
Usually I'm in the 200s per year- meaning, I write about every two days-ish (you know I can't do math let's stop this numeric thing in it's tracks right now and just say I didn't write as much. Period)., but this year I wrote less less less than 2006, the first blog year (well actually it was 2005 but I important my livejournal entries all at once in 2006).

Yes, but what does it all mean?
Oh- nothing.
I suppose maybe I was busy with things IRL (in real life). Maybe I also COULDN"T share as much about some musical things as I would have liked to.

This is still as anonymous as I can make it..without talking about specific productions and places, but it's still not too hard to google-ninja your way into my 'real life'--but there are some things that I still can't write about. I'll save it for my memoirs. HA!

What am I looking forward to this year? Well, again- I am happy and thankful that I am really a 'working singer'. I have no other job. This is what I do.
Prepare for the next show, rock the next show, NEXT.

I am also loving the time off that I have---for said preparation, and for 'real life'.
I am still trying to make that weird transition to living in Europe and singing..anywhere.
I'm not going to say that it would be so so so much easier if I was just here a Majority of the time (although it would be)...but I can't give up on contacts and colleagues and inroads that I have made with a number of companies in the US that I've sung with and will sing with in these last few and next years.

I guess this is the life, right?
I mean- there is no more 'school', there is no more 'living in NYC as a poor singer with a part time job trying to find an agent or get an audition'. There are no more 'programs'.
It's pretty much laid out for me.
If am granted the audition, if I sing well, if I"M the one that they choose for whatever reason it is, then I work.

Weird..can I please do this forEVAH? evah evah?

25 December, 2009

the entire story

It's Christmas day--what else do I have to do besides recount my tales of travel from the past week?
Oh yea- memorize dialogue and that last aria in upcomingopera1. Buuuut---I'm so laaaazy and it's CHRIIIIISTMAS..you can't do work on Christmas! hahaha--right? Right.

Ready? OK!

Thursday night: Leave NYC via train to upstate parents-house where all my stuff is waiting for me to unpack and repack, as usual.

Friday: Repack my stuff, adding more winter sweaters, dropping off Tshirts I had still not brought back since the summer, add necessary items from Target such as citrus ginger spice for chicken/fish, baking soda and baking powder, and figure out a way to pack my newly purchased Gucci by Gucci for him AND for her scents (how cute, we match)...without having the bottles break all over my sweaters in transit. Oh. Also packed a bottle of Alkalol. Singers, if you don't know what this is, look it up ASAP. A teaspoon of this plus some warm water in a "nasendusche" and you are officially cured of EVERYTHING.

Also, wrapped my full sized keyboard in my jeans, cuorderoys, leggins and workout clothes, wrapped THAT in a body pillow I wanted to bring back here, wrapped THAT in tons of tape, and put the whole caboodle into an extra long garment bag. (wrapped in tape).

Saturday: Looked at the weather report at 9am and was like- hmm...this looks KINDA bad. Should I take my HUGE 48 pound suitcase plus the unwieldy unfoldable and unbendable garment bag-keyboard to NYC a day early? I mean, JFK is known for general crappiness in bad weather and..IN GENERAL. So. What can I do? What if I can't get to the airport because of the snow?

Last minute decision at 11am:
Get in the car with my dad, drive directly to a best western near jfk (2 miles away) that was charging TWO FIFTY a night instead of the regular NINETY NINE just because of the IMPENDING snow storm. EVERYWHERE else was sold out. I'm not kidding you.
So. I pay. I get to the hotel at 1:15, JUSt as the first flurries start to fall.
My dad has to turn around and try to out-drive the snow to get back upstate (he did).

And me- I am like- oh, let's go outside and grab some food and some magazines at cvs.
Except--outside is the BELT PARKWAY and I am surrounded on the left by a Days inn and on the right by the Holiday Inn. There is seriously nothing.

The front desk gives me three menus- chinese, indian and pizza. And so- I order for the next day and a half, since I know no cars are going to be on the road that night.
A wrap, a pizza, and buffalo wings. I know- SO healthy.
I make good choices! YUM. NOT.

Ok, food comes 40 minutes later. The wings are GROSS. Eat one and then basta.
The pizza is fine- eat three slices (oops). Dinner was the wrap (the wrap was grossly hard, but whatever--turkey and cheese is inside, so it's ok).
I am telling you people, when EVER I have the option to watch tv- FINALLY- there is NOTHING on. I even had three showtime channels!
But what- am I going to watch The Mist? That crap is SCARY! NO WAY!
They were playing CRAP the entire day, AND there was no law and order marathon--what's up with THAT?! Yea, thanks Saturday afternoons.
By 9pm I was so stir crazy that I actually decided to check out the 'gym'.
The 'gym' actually being a room with 4 computers, a treadmill and a bike--which was also the 'business center'.
I jogged for 27 minutes, and then called it quits.
A warm shower and 2nd half of the wrap later and I was ready to attempt to go to sleep, all the while checking my flight status online (via iphone) and changing the channel on awful tv.

Next morning: Must check out at 12. Got on the airport shuttle at 12:30. Streets were being cleared, there were MAJOR delays and cancellations from last night, BUT- it looks like there is NO reason my flight shouldn't leave.

So. I get to the airport, I check my 2 bags (pay 50 bucks for the keyboard), and ..what else--DUTY FREE!! I already received an overseas 'order' for Tanqueray, I bought myself Coco Mademoiselle, and then wandered around.
What to do..what to do... for 7 hours in an airport.

Study the music I'm supposed to memorize? NO! Buy Wedding Magazines!!
Eat at Au Bon Pain!
Have chocolate chip cookies for NO REASON!

Yes, that was until 5pm, when I was like- OK, let me be the 'good' passenger and go through security EARLY to get to my gate (which is isolated from all the stores).
I walk up to the monitor to make sure my gate is the same ... and...
my flight is NOT THERE>

I check my iphone flight status.---


And now the fun begins.
I walk upstairs to where I checked in, and there are FIVE HUNDRED people at least-- waiting in the 'rebooking' line. And about 30 waiting in the 'check in' line.
OBVIOUSLY I did not wait in the 500 person line.
I kind of attached myself to some Germans who were complaining about their flight being cancelled too..and when the next person was free in the rebooking line, I went up to them.

I must have seemed about to CRACK to the lady at the desk although I was extreeeemely calm and collected and said- I need to get to Europe. Anywhere in Europe. As soon as possible.
And she was all like- "honey I will get you there.".
The next time you can fly to Frankfurt is on THursday.
GREAT! Cuz it's SUNDAY today.

So. No.
Anywhere else?
Brussels. Tomorrow night at 7.

AND she put me in first class. Although- no mention of where I was supposed to sleep tonight, OR the fact that we weren't "sure" my bags would be re-tagged for Brussels and not Frankfurt.

And so- I took a car service to my bff in Brooklyn who always so kindly lets me crash on her couch and gives me an extra tshirt to sleep in when all I have are the gross clothes I've been wearing in the airport all day.

Next day- get a NY bagel in the morning, take ANOTHER car service back to the airport at 2.
Check in- thank the LORD I was upgraded, because they have a separate checkin line, and the coach line was MASSIVE.
I ask the woman where my bags will go. She says- supposedly Brussels. Awesome.

I go to DUTY FREE- AGAIN (oh, by the way- when my flight was cancelled yesterday I had to go BACK to duty free, tell them my flight was cancelled, and give them my receipt to get my money back---since they only deliver the stuff to you when you get on the plane).

Buy the same stuff, and wait.
Music learn? NO.
There's just something about being stressed at an airport. It's not conducive to ANYTHING.
Try to read. Check the flight updater.
Now, it's 6:15. Check-in time.
They even made the announcement that we will board first class first. The flight crew already is ON the plane...

And then...

So. We are delayed. Who knows for how long.
First, an hour.
Then, the pilot comes out and says- it's a problem with the FLAPS--which we need in order to LAND.
But he "thinks" it will be fixed by 11- which is our max. time that they can hold the flight for.
So the whole flight is told- go to gate 11 and get a dinner voucher.
And do you know how much a meal ANYWHERE in the airport costs at dinner-time? Yea...at least 14.
I stand in a line, AGAIN to ask ANOTHER lady whether there is ANY other flight going anywhere in Europe. Tonight.
She's like- you were supposed to go to FF, why aren't you going there? And I'm like- the lady last night said I could only get to Brussels.
Of course- for her to put me on standby for the frankfurt flight (with 16 other people which means I'd never make it)..she would have to take me OFF the brussels flight.

So. I sit. I eat at Chili's. I wait. We have a gate change! Halleluja! Are we leaving?
We have a NEW PLANE! They kicked an LA-bound flight off to our plane, because they could wait longer than we could.
so. 10:15. I'm ON the plane.
But no, we can't leave the gate because--there is another plane BLOCKING us from moving..they don't know where to put it...
umm--hello? it's an AIRPORT! I'm sure you can figure out how to move a plane 50 feet so we can BACK IT UP!

We take off.

12pm- I land in Brussels. Look, I'm not going to say first class on an intl. flight wasn't super-snazzy, but I was already having such a bad time of it all...I couldn't take full advantage of my situation.

So. Brussels. Of course the greatest thing ever is getting off of the plane first and going through customs with no line--but all of that is only worth it if you DON"T CHECK BAGS!
And of COURSE mine came out THREE MINUTES after I was supposed to catch my TRAIN from Brussels Airport to Brussels Central, so that I could make a Brussels to Cologne and then Cologne to Frankfurt Train- BEFORE FIVE PM.

Fast forward to the next train- the SLOW ONE.
I get to Brussels Central, RUN with my two freaking huge and heavy bags, get on the Thalys train (French fast train)--with NO ticket, (along with a zillion other people who had been cancelled or delayed from the storms in Belgium and England and France for the past day)...and am STANDING for three hours on a train.
The conductor comes by and there is such a fuss by everyone else that me not having a ticket seems totally fine. Pay with credit card. Nice.

Get to Cologne and have 6 minutes to change trains..without suitcases, I would have been GOLDEN.
With them--I get to the ICE (fast) train to Frankfurt AS the doors are closing..and the door conductor doesn't hold it. RUDE!
So I'm super angry now, AND the handle on the garment bag that's holding the keyboard breaks, AND I'm full of general grime from lugging already-dirty bags.

30 minutes later and one station change later via Sbahn, I'm on the Frankfurt bound train. To the airport...where I was supposed to arrive on Monday morning. Not Tuesday at 8:30pm.

Made it home via tram by 9.
Best part?

Silver Lining? Went to a spa the next day for 2 hours of sauna, hot spring, steam room, foot bath and other amazing relaxing things.

And now, Xmas day- woke up at 2 (well...got out of BED at 2)...it's 6 now. Maybe I'll do something musical that I'm supposed to...

24 December, 2009

Merrrrrrry Chinese Takeout Night!

Oh to be back in nyc--where the takeout flows like the streams of urine in the subways...and where not every.single.store is closed for the next 3.5 days.

I was going to go shopping today--and then I only woke up at 2pm and had 'things' to do--such as, check the internetzzz for mail for a long time, and...what was that other thing I did before wasting this entire day? Oh yea, nothing. I love jet-lag.

So-- we have cheese. Three different kinds. We have one piece of bread. But we can BAKE bread- take THAT!
We have activia...because I like the flavor NOT because I need to regulate my probiotic intake!
We have some frozen salmon and some frozen chicken. We have apples and clementines. And most importantly, we have SOUR PATCH KIDS and CHOCOLATE.

That is really all that is needed for three days of movie-watching which will commence shortly after I press "post".

I'm still not in the mood to recount my full travel ordeals from this past weekend through Tuesday night..but just another tidbit-

While carrying the garment bag which was filled with a full sized keyboard wrapped in all of my yoga pants, pjs, a body pillow and a blanket, the strap broke before my last train transfer.
In my OTHER hand I was pushing a full sized suitcase that weight 48 pounds. Yep- two under the limit, ye almighty handlers of baggage who rain down torment and lightning upon all of my amazing packing efforts!

More when I feel like it.

23 December, 2009

oh, and p.s.

that very important thing that i was auditioning for after i had to cancel the first time due to the swine flu? callback. sweetness all around.

home sweet home

I will not attempt to recount my travel ordeals for the past three, yes, three days tonight...I'm already unwinding from those long hours by a visit to the spa today.
Plus I'm still jet-lagged, and it's 3am here..so really, how much joy and sarcasm could I bring to writing about airport closings, plane cancellations, 7 dollar dinner vouchers for airport food, and the two heaviest suitcases I have ever packed and how I lugged them across two countries...
I know, I have whet your appetite. Too bad! You'll just have to come back and read all about it (most likely tomorrow) :)

18 December, 2009

the morning after...

yesss...I went there with the title. Dealw/it.yo.

I feel GREAT today! The more I think about it, the more I'm like--yea..that kinda actually rocked...I mean...how many people can sing..what was it- over 40 high E's in the span of 5 minutes? And then also sing low Ds and sound good on the them? Take THAT yo!

So-in "secondary" review of the fact that so few people can actually DO this at ALL decently...I am giving myself an extra 3 percentage points of 'rocking'.

Which...if I had to say that I've done this 100% in practice and coaching, at at the audition I was like a 92---I'm bumped up to 95!
I love my crazy logic sometimes.

But no--I'm feeling good about it no matter what the outcome.

What did I do today? Bought out target again (things to take back to Deutschland that are not 'easily' or 'cheaply' found), and- the biggest challenge--
wrap up a full sized keyboard in clothes and soft body pillows, fit it into a long garment bag, tape that thing UP, and...voila- 2nd checked bag under 50 pounds and now I can practice PROPERLY and not just using my pitch pipe in Dland.


17 December, 2009

The run down

Is it even healthy to write about my impressions and what happened so soon after? Yes, my audition was a 6:15. It's now 8:26 and I'm already on the train to my next destination.
So- what's it like to audition for something so so so important and that I want so much?
I won't lie. I got a BIT nervous. In a 'is this really happening' kind of way...
So. I show up 30 minute early, get shown to a warm up room. I'm already warmed up so I chatted a bit with my manager, met an online blogger who happened to be passing through covering (fun!) and kind of did little bits of my 4 excerpts for a few minutes.
Half a ricola and a few swigs of water later, we are walking to the room.
I was first, and they were only hearing 2 singers. I announced myself, the excerpts, and then...go time.
First piece- the one I've known since 2005-- nicely done. High notes, some dramatics, but basically I just wanted to start off with a bang and a lot of good high notes.
During the piece I started feeling the 'whoa this is big' thing, so I took an extra second or two before piec number two which is the hardest slowest highest and most sustained piece. This one was not as good as the best time I've sung it in rehearsal because of nerves. So yes the high was there and I did it right but SOME notes had more vibrato than I would have liked and therefore may have sounded a tiny bit at the lower resonance of pitch instead of right on. Regained myself for third piece which rocked out and was dramatic followed by fourth piece which I nailed, was dramatic on, and hit the last cadenza with one unplanned breath but otherwise awesomeness.
Sooo. I felt kind of in a daze afterwards. I mean, I did it, right? What I've been planning for since I got the call the first time, got sick, and then had to reschedule to today. It's done. I am proud of my work. I am happy with the singing. I can only hope the panel was impressed enough to want to hear more for the people that are 'final say' in charge.

it's the day of the...'day' y'all

Went to sleep around 1am, woke up quite early but stayed in bed until 9:30, checked my email and puttered around on fb.
About to take a hot shower and do some lip trills, DRY my hair, go outside and get a hair cut at noon, pick up a present for my hosts on the way back uptown, warm up for 30 minutes around 2 or 3, and then stay INSIDE until 5:45pm!

Then I walk three blocks and half an avenue to audition-venue, and the fun begins.

16 December, 2009

one day more...

Of avoiding 'the sick'.
Lesson on Monday- awesome.
Coaching yesterday- confirmed that it's all still there.
I had an amusing morning yesterday, as I walked into a bridal shop in NY to try on...gulp...wedding dresses.
Yea..I knew that would be a big mistake, as I'm particular about what I want, and saw nothing that I liked.

But I still wanted to have that 'experience'. Of the lady picking out some things and then fitting them on you..and telling you that she liked something that you thought was so atrocious it was a joke.

Aaanyway, listening to the conversations around me was Hi-larious.
There was a bride and a mother-of-the-bride trying on some dresses for the mom. One of them was a salmon-pink-ish really tight mermaid dress with TONS of organza poofiness at the bottom that made her look like she should be one of the chiquita banana dancers, or at least like she was going to a tacky miami or vegas wedding- AS A JOKE costume!
But no, the daughter was like- that looks good on you. And the saleslady was like- this is the first dress that you've put on that I can see you feel comfortable in.
O.M.G....PLEASE don't wear that as a MOB dress? Thanks.
So then she was trying on this TIGHT black/brown dress w/nude underlay laciness that looked like she SHOULD wear it to a cocktail party IF she was 25. I mean, she looked good- but hello- not wedding appropriate.
I'm not kidding- I think they went with that one.
And it was poofy at the bottom too.

So. I'm back to square negative one again..seeing as how I have no motivation for any planning of any part of the upcoming events of 2010.


In musical news, The 2010-2011 season is shaping up nicely SO far. I mean, being semi-busy until March or April of 2011. Of course, there's always room to be busy-ER, but it's nice to know where I'll be starting this January and ending next April. SO FAR.

Audition tomorrow--feeling good. Want to spend about 30 minutes warming up today..maybe an hour.
Tomorrow- get hair 'did' in the noon, (no, this does not mean concert styling, I just need a haircut..but I like the way they blow dry it!), then probably a light warm up, and head to the audition a little before 6.

I don't THINK I'm nervous...I REALLY like this music. And I know that I do it well. So what else is there to THINK or BE nervous about? Right? right.

14 December, 2009

the big apple...view from the window

Ok, I'm being careful again.
I slept for 7 of the 9 hours of my flight here ( mostly because my tv/movie screen wasn't working so there wasn't much else to do).
I arrived in a downpour of rain, went immediately to the apt., took off the wet jeans and socks, put on my PJs and stayed under a blanket for the rest of the evening.
This morning- 1 hour of practice, lunch with friends (only 5 blocks away, I promise!), and now, back in the apt. before my voice lesson in 2 hrs.
Evening plans- nada.
Feeling good--KNOCK ON WOOD--and that is the update.
Warming up today- audition pieces felt good. Sang through upcoming opera1 (previous known as upcoming opera2)--seems like some more Frenchiness may be sticking in my head..that's a lovely thing.

And that's the view from inside.

10 December, 2009

T minus one week

In exactly 7 days and two hours, I'll be singing the audition that I was supposed to sing when I got sick last time.
Yea, it's big and important and all that, but what is MORE important is that I like the music and I know that I do it well.
In the meantime,
I have one more performance of Queen in 2 days (which is weird, because it's been a WHILE now, but I still don't really feel pressured. I've done it before, and I'll do it again), an early morning flight in three days, a mid-morning lesson in four days, coachings in 5 and 6 days, and audition--as I mentioned, in 7 days.

There has been some hullabuloo of other sorts recently--upcoming opera1 is now upcoming opera3 due to financial reasons. The rescheduling and confusion has led to a flurry of ticket rebooking and new purchases, which sadly, are exhorbitantly priced due to the holiday season.

So NEWupcomingopera1 is what I'm turning my focus to now--
I like the music, but there are three strophic 'ariettas' that I'm not BFF with ... yet.
They are slow, low-ish, wordy, and generally, I love the ensembles more than my actual solo parts. But maybe in the next month my mind will change as I practice more and make them my friends.

Also I just got a google alert about my name (yes, I do that) and UpcomingConcert, and SHEESH! It's kinda famous! Like, I already knew I would be working with a big time conductor, but it's going to be broadcast on like 250 radio stations and replayed and replayed...bottom line being--GAHHHHHIIIIIII better not screw up!

No. I have looked at the music. And while it's not a lot of singing for me, it's a crazy sing.
Fast and crazy.
Not weird and atonal crazy. Just bordering that.
So- I LIKE it.
And I shall learn it and BRING it.

In the meantime, as I write that I have to spend more time with the Frenchies and the crazies, what have I been doing from 7pm-11pm?
You betcha! Watching online TV.
I mean, I NEEDED to watch Glee. I didn't REALLY need to watch 2 episodes of madmen, but it was there. And then obviously Dexter. Half the time I get kicked off the websites any way because of bandwitdth or the fact that I'm watching an illegally downloaded/recorded-from-tv show through some japanese 'youtube'-esque website...
So a 40 minute show takes about an hour to watch.

But I'm finished now.
Maybe I'll type out some words to the French.
Yea, that will make me feel like I did something.
Or WRITE them out. Better yet. The eye-hand-memory connection.

Scientists- I'm still waiting for that new shot you'll come up with to 'administer' memory via osmosis so that I can look at a piece once, store the info. like in a zip drive, and then just 'plug' something back in and have it sitting there perfectly ready, as if it were in my desktop the whole time!

08 December, 2009

trains, trains, and ... trains

Yesterday I woke up at 7:25, got home at 9:15pm, and in between, was on trains, strassenbahns and busses for the entire day besides 8 minutes of singing. And 20 minutes of warming up.

Strassenbahn 8:13-8:32
Buy tickets at the main station
Train #s 1-4 from 9:10-13:00 (with changes at different stations.
Arrival at 'audition location'- except that the theater has TWO audition locations (an hour apart, conveniently), and since I was sick for last week's audition, the reconfirmation and rescheduling person didn't tell me that the audition venue would also be different.
It was.
So. Bus back to train station. 1 hour train to next audition location. Bus to audition.
Warm up, sing, bla bla bla...
Oh wait, here's an actual musical part of the blog entry instead of me talking about trains and transportation.

Ok, so I was auditioning for a Donizetti bel canto role a season and a half from now that I have NOT sung before, but have prepared the aria for a while now.
But of course, I always want to start the audition with what I do best, or things I feel show me off best. Which of course is NOT the aria from this opera.
So I walk in all ready to sing DurchZ, when the panel (who was SUPER friendly) says, well, you're auditioning for Adina, so taking a look at your rep list, let's just hear that first and see if we need to hear anything else.
BOO! BOO for not letting me make a general 'musical' impression and THEN seeing if I'm right for the role.

And it's not like there were 20 other singers waiting outside. There was ONE.

Oh yea, also- if you're going to hire a pianist who gets SNIPPY because I brought the actual SCORE and-- heaven forbid, unless you crack it back with your hands really well before you play, the pages MIGHT just start jumping up at you while you're playing...
I mean, really??
He was totally like- I don't know if I can play like this.
And I"m like- EVERY.OTHER.PERSON who has EVER played this for me had NO problems with it.
Just bend the binding a little....is it NOT like you're a rehearsal accompanist anyway who plays from scores EVERY.DAY that there is a staging rehearsal?
Pipe down now.

Ok. So they only asked for the first piece. And since it's long and has line AND coloratura of course they didn't want to hear any of the pieces that I totally ROCK at...not saying I didn't rock, it was FINE, it just wasn't 'me'. There is a comfort zone around all of my other pieces....duh...because I've sung them at every audition ever.
And this piece..maybe 5 times. Only when asked for, specifically for the role.

So anyway, no 2nd piece later and I'm getting on the next bus back to the train station...but of course, the round trip ticket I bought is from PREVIOUS audition location.
But I'm not about to get on a train to go one hour NORTH of where I need to be, just to start this whole travel ordeal again with the RIGHT trains.

So I say- screw it.
I just looked up a new routing from current-station, wrote it down, and got on the trains despite not having the right ticket.
I did HAVE a ticket, it was just from city A to city B via city C and D.
And I went to city B via city E and F...from city G.
Still on the *kinda* same-priced trains (ICE--the most expensive).
So even though my ticket got checked on every train, and asked about...I managed to convince them I wasn't trying to ride for free or cheat them...but that I just had 'missed' a connection and now THIS was the fastest connection back home.

And it felt GOOD to be home.

06 December, 2009


Lingering bronchial cough is still here, however--
I feel MUCH much better.
Went for a bike ride today, walked around the city yesterday, cleaned the entire apartment today, and vocally, although I still feel a bit fatigued after one hour of practice, the one hour is definitely as it should be in my voice.

Doesn't feel like I have a huge head cold anymore.

Repertoire for upcoming audition feels really good again (finally), and other general repertoire for upcoming operas/concerts feels equally 'in line'.


03 December, 2009

catch up

Ok, day 3 of taking a one hour 'energetic' walk....yesterday I didn't feel like immediately falling into bed after the walk--that's some improvement after day 1.
About to go out again and brave the cold weather.
But it's really the only thing I can do to get outside and do any kind of moving around since I'm still feeling ... well, I'm FEELING a lot better, but my body hasn't caught up yet.

Singing- yea, I also went from 40 minutes to about an hour. Felt really tired after ward, and also had the feeling that my face was stuffy and I was still kind of 'singing through a cold'- even though I don't have a cold.
So again, I just have to slowly get used to it, I suppose.
But at least all the high notes and low notes that need to be there--are still there.

Thank goodness. Welcome back g, baby. I was beginning to miss you.

01 December, 2009


Ok, so now my symptoms are just pretty much a cold (ie my face feels like it needs to be decongested), and still this lingering bronchial cough, but it doesn't really hurt to cough and I can pretty much control it.

What still hasn't gone away is the extreme weakness of my body. Yep, lying down for 10 days and barely eating will do that to you, I suppose.
I took a walk for 40 minutes today and by the end of it I was exhausted. Came home and had to lie down for an hour.
Then I tried to practice a bit (to my ears my voice sounds like I"m singing over a cold...but maybe my ears are still blocked a bit too)...nothing hurts, everything is "OK" although not as easy and smooth as I'd like it to be.
And after about 45 minutes of practicing, again, I felt like I needed another nap.

This recovery has been pretty rough. Had to delay an audition that I was supposed to have tomorrow--until next week. I only have 13 days left here. 13.

After that I have to be GAME ON for the big re-audition, and of course game on for upcoming shows/concert 1/2/3.

Hope I can start feeling game on instead of naptime on soon.

29 November, 2009

back in the saddle...

Ok, I didn't practice...yet..BUT I did take a WALK today! Outside! For almost a whole hour.
Yes, ok, I had to come home and take a one hour nap after the walk, but still- I went outside and moved around!
First time in 10 days.

Tomorrow I'm going to practice. A little.
Even though I'm starting to feel as if I have a LOT to practice.
20 days until opera1, 40 or so days until opera2 and concert1, and oh yea, 18 days until rescheduled big-audition that is now not so looming and crazy now that I've already gotten ready for it once and still feel really good about it.

28 November, 2009

signs of life...

I actually had an appetite for-- a bread and cheese sandwich last night.
This is BIG people!
For the past 6 days I have eaten about two to five spoonfuls of whatever 'white pasta-esque' warm thing I could make- couscous, pasta, and one time I had a banana. And oh yea, those probiotic minidrinks...I had that twice I think.

But last night I was actually in the mood for food. I take this as a good sign.
My cough is transitioning from the horrible need to hack up bronchial matter back to the nonproductive wheeze- which actually, I can deal with through ricola and tea...so I'd rather have that even if it means I have some kind of mild bronchitis than the weird phlegm-y thing that makes me hack up a lung at night or during the day and in general scares the crap out of me since I feel like I could be killing my voice at the same time.

Ok, so today I haven't been hungry nor have I gotten out of bed (yes, it's 4:46pm) but that is by CHOICE! It's Saturday and there is nothing and I mean NOTHING better than going to sleep late, waking up early, going to sleep again, and repeating that pattern until you realize ... it's 5pm and you haven't done anything all day.

I even feel like I have a bit of a sense of humor about being sick again...so, when that creeps back into my writing, I have to be cured, right?
Up and At'em! Time to vocalize! hahaha...NOT

Oh yea, in full-of-crap news, I had to cancel tomorrow's matinee. I mean, even though I ATE a SANDWICH, that in no way indicated my preparedness to sing Queen again. I am still weak, I haven't sung since last last Thursday (that's 9 days ago), and as much as I'd love to warm up right now and sing some Koenigin out the window into the quiet streets...that's just not going to happen.

In future=tasks that I HAVE to really get on in the next 15 days:
Dialogue. Dialogue. Dialogue.
Oh man. I just got emailed the ENGLISH dialogue for upcoming French-opera (first one, not second one..that also has english dialogue). And it is a.lot.
Secondly- there are some traditional cuts and traditional line switching that are NOT being taken in this production (boo for me having to sing the lower line), and so I have to re-learn that.
And thirdly- still have to memorize the last 2 ariettas of upcomingOpera2 AND GET the dialogue for that one, AND take a look at upcomingconcert1's new new music.

But first...maybe some food!!!
Although I was kind of enjoying the swine-flu weight loss side effects.
We'll see how long those 5 pounds last with Lebkuchen around.
WHY did I NOT KNOW about this gingerbread goodness before?

27 November, 2009

i miss football..

and having a nice family weekend in the US instead of feeling like crap in Europe. Back to sleep.

26 November, 2009

turkey day minus the turkey...and in general the day...

Writing to you from my cocoon of pillows and comforters.
Today started off a little better. Then got a little worse. This cough. It was dry, then it was productive, and now it's somewhere in the awful middle. Like- THere IS something in my lungs but it won't come out with little coughs that are 'tender' to the cords. Only heaving emphesyma-esque hacks that hurt my entire body and do NOT feel good in the throat. Not at all.
So I have until noon tomorrow to decide whether I'm singing the show on Sunday.
As of right now that answer is easily no.
I haven't sung since last Thursday, and I have no intention of attempting to warm up and sing. It hurts.
And since I doubt a miracle recovery will take place between 5pm today and noon tomorrow, seeing as how I don't have any new meds or any other miracle German plant extract to get me better--I think that's that.
First show ever canceled due to illness.
At least it's a good one to have- swine flu cancellation. Nice.

Oh yea, Thanksgiving.
My family is all nice and warm and cozy in front of the fire with a bird, sweet potatoes with marshmallow on top, ginger carrot soup, and pies.
I can barely choke down some white rice and a cracker.

The MOST not fun ever.

25 November, 2009

ok, this is so not cool

Day 6 of not being able to get out of bed.
Basically the entire day I wake up every few hours in a sweat, look at the clock, can't believe I've slept so much, attempt to reach out for the nearest water or OJ bottle, take some pills, try to decide whether it's too far to walk to the kitchen and make tea, and then give up and go back to sleep. And then at 'night'- whenever that is...I sleep a bit longer...and can't believe I sleep because of all of those waking hours...asleep.

I'm not hungry, I'm not thirsty, I feel generally horrid and lightheaded. I'm not coughing SO much as the first three days, but my throat is still totally inflamed and hurts and I'm pretty sure I'll be sent into a spiral of depression if I even attempt to see what kind of scales I can sing up to right now.

The great part? I have a performance on Sunday.
That I have NO. IDEA. Whether I'll be able to sing.
I mean- that's such a crazy feeling. Usually with a cold or sinus infection you know. You know if you can just deal and sing over it, with it, etc.
I really don't know if I'll be out of BED by Sunday!
I mean, my throat could be better...maybe....if I stopped coughing completely, kept taking mucinex and clearing everything out, etc...
But will I have the stamina and voice to actually DO IT?

I mean...it's Wednesday afternoon. And if this is how I feel now, I can't imagine actually getting out of bed, getting on a train, getting in costume..warming up? I mean...jeeezz...that's just crazy.

Will this be the first-ever cancellation due to illness that I have?
THANKFULLY I'm double cast, and there is also a Queen who sings in a "children's performance' That morning so MAYBE just maybe the bases are covered for them in terms of someone to jump in and cover me.
I just hate to do it.

Back to bed.

22 November, 2009


Well, it happened. Possibly the most important audition of my career so far--and I have the flu.
Yep. I had an amazing week of coachings and lessons leading up to the weekend. I knew it COLD and loved it. I was feeling so so so good. Was taking SUCH good care of myself- didn't see ANY friends in ny. Didn't go out. Walked in the crisp air as much as possible. Used the subway twice...and then...the crosstown m86!!!! (I'm blaming this one hour bus ride during rush hour for me somehow getting the flu...it makes me feel better).
Yep, this gross and overly full bus with people, their dogs, little children...everything disease carrying about new york city. I took it because it was getting dark and a bit cold too (right before the crappy weather change that probably confirmed me getting sick).
And lo and behold, Thursday morning I woke up feeling not so great. Could still sing, still had a coaching and a run-through of the repertoire.
And then...Friday.
No amount of mucinex, alleve, gargling, or any other otc remedy could even prepare me for the pain that would be Saturday- complete body aches, chills, no sleep at all for two nights, feeling awful..and still..somehow WISHFUL thinking that ...oh yea... it's just a cold or a throat thing. I can get over it by Sunday.
I didn't even know I had a fever! And I thought the chills were just...hmm...ok, ooh, I don't feel good so yea, I have the chills.

Not so much. Went to see an ENT on Saturday thinking- ok, maybe if it's something in my throat she can give me some antibiotics and make it go AWAY by tomorrow!
She took one look at me (even though I wrote down I had no fever..but had all the other symptoms of FLU), and said- you're a walking infection. You have the flu.


So the non-sleeping, horrible coughing, throat aching, body shaking, headache-y, MESS that I was for the past 3 days was apparently not just some small cough that I thought I could kick.

FIrst I'm annoyed because I've never had the flu.
And I don't.get.sick very often EVER. And even if I do, it's NEVER bad enough to affect my singing from being 100% to maaayyybe 90%...and if less, I wouldn't sing.
ONE time last year I had to be put on steroids AND sing 2 final performances of an opera. ONE TIME. Out of HOW many roles and operas that I've done...ever??

So yes.
I'm EXTREMELY frustrated and disappointed. And I truly hope this opportunity hasn't passed me by.
I'm still feeling awful, frankly...and I'm supposed to get on an airplane tomorrow (don't worry I don't have a fever anymore)....
It will be one LONG flight.
And of course, I hope I get better by my NEXT performance--which is SUNDAY!

No fun Turkey day for me this year..I'll be away from home, and skyping my fam to see what the desserts that I'm not partaking of look like.

Anyway, what more can I say?
It's frustrating to feel so good and so ready for something that COULD be so big...and then..nature and body rebel.
It's not my FAULT I got the flu. I am not any more susceptible to it than the next person (except, well, I really really really tried to be extra careful this week)...
It's just a crappy situation that I HOPE will somehow turn out ok in the end.

If all things truly DO happen for a reason---that's getting a little zen/religious on myself...then...everything will still be ok.

Back to my chamomile tea...awaiting my next dose of inhaler and tamiflu.

18 November, 2009

So far so good

Of course I don't want to jinx anything, but things have been going reasonably well so far. 2 good coachings where I made sure I have the stamina to sing the crazy followed by the normal rep, a lesson today where I really did some good work on high E's and also singing the VOWEL E versus Ah or Oh on certain notes.
There is ONE "Ooo" place on a G (in the Doll) that I am constantly 'aware' of. Because it just doesn't jump into that FUN space for singing. It always hangs out somewhere JUST noticeable enough to be 'technique-y' and not 'sing-y'. And of course, I want everything to be 'sing-y'...don't I now!
Of course.
Worked on that a bit today, will continue with it on Friday, and be ready to bring it this weekend.

16 November, 2009

back for a week

Schedule this week:

And in between?
Eating as much good sushi as possible, and practicing.

11 November, 2009

more feeeedback

I was able to record my audition from the wings of the theater yesterday thanks to the lovely app called italk.
Even as I was walking out of the theater and back to the train station I was able to hear how I did and immediately begin to break it down.
First aria- pretty good, could have had a better low note before the first run, could have had a nicer shape to the very top on one cadenza. But- good.
Second aria- good, but I could tell that I was a bit tired by the end, and especially the last held high note (which I take as an optional high, but why not)...it was THERE, and for a long time too, but it just wasn't as easy-feeling (and I guess sounding) as I wanted it to be.
So here I am, kicking myself at these two or three tiny things that bugged me and that now I have on my phone as proof that I didn't do 100% super amazingly...
and then I get a call about feedback today.
That they loved the high notes, they love the attitude, they love everything about what I did, and as of right now I'm the top choice for whatever is it upcoming that's a possibility.

I just don't get it.
What is it that people like about what I do--when I DON"T? Or--when I don't feel great about it?

I mean. Ok. I'm singing on pitch. I'm shaping things musically. There are three spots I'm not happy with because I think breath control and nerves got in the way..but I still managed just fine..better than fine..and, they love it? But I don't come out of the room feeling like a champ?

It's a strange feeling for someone else to like work that you're not particularly...well I won't say proud of...but you know what I mean- that I'm not convinced was my best work.

So what's the bottom line?
To each his own, I suppose.
I just keep doing what I'm doing--and always strive for the best of course--knowing that even though I can be extremely picky about most things, other people won't pick up on things that I think I can do better in an aria that I've sung over 100 times and they're hearing for the first time from me that day.

09 November, 2009


Yesterday instead of only practicing new-music-to-learn-for-audition, I also sang through ALMOST the entirety of upcoming-role-1. Except for the trio/finale.
It felt really good...but also SO SO SO different than the last time I sang it (which...it SHOULD feel different because the last time was when I was a wee first year grad student).
It's interesting to realize what things have gotten easier, what's not so easy anymore, what I have to concentrate on this time that may be different than last.

Easier: All of the slow arias that before I wished I had more "heft" to sing when I was younger, but now..just being X years older, I think my voice has just developed into that a little more easily.

Harder: Most quick dips from high to low that before I never ever worried about as I chirped my way through the piece lightly...now I have to feel things a bit differently...I can't just let go or else the sound becomes 'white' as some would describe.

Maybe I shouldn't say that it's harder. It's just different. It's something I have to pay attention to, whereas before, at previous-age and previous-vocal-development-stage, I didn't. Because everything was even and easy since it was lighter and whiter.

Today- hopefully some work on upcoming-role-2 and of course upcoming-audition-music again.

The final cadenza is almost in my head right. I think :)

07 November, 2009

almost 'clicked'

I THINK I almost 'get' the last cadenza and WHY on earth the composer wrote it the way he did.

I see that sneaky way that you wrote A,B,C,D but with two insanely high and seemingly unconnected notes in between the mini-scale.

And I also see the 'return to I' (E) from the ....oh who am I kidding...I know it's approaching I from the V, but on the way goes through a lot of stuff that I definitely learned in my theory classes and also definitely blocked out of my head as soon as I passed the theory class tests.

05 November, 2009

on learning new music

I'm learning some crazy/sexy/cool new music for an audition in 2 weeks.
One of the pieces I've learned and auditioned with before.
One of the pieces I have been listening to on repeat for the past few days and I LIKE it a lot and I "get" it.
One of the pieces I learned in one afternoon because it made sense in my head.
And the last piece (all from the same opera)...SOUNDS cool, LOOKS cool on the page, but isn't sticking in my head JUST yet.

It's so strange how sometimes things that sound brand new to the ear either stick with me or they don't.
It doesn't have to be tonal, it doesn't have to be pretty, it doesn't have to make sense--but I can't make sense of why I can learn something easily or not...and I'd really like to know how that part of my brain works!

For now-- staying near the keyboard, my iphone (with the mini-keyboard app--perfect for long train rides), the score, itunes, and any other media that can keep drilling all of this into my head.

I am not worried at all, I'm just wondering when that "click" will happen on the last piece and then I"ll know all of the excerpts that I want to know and all will be good throughout the land.

03 November, 2009

there are worse things i could dooooo...

no, not 'than go with a boy..or two'...
There are worse things than waking up at 5am, sleeping until 11:30, checking my email and other various internet things for the past 42 minutes, drinking half a gallon of OJ, and now STILL sitting in bed...or ARE there...EVEN THOUGH--

I need to be a music learning MACHINE in the next 2 weeks.

Not only is there important-audition aria/excerpt-learning, but add to that the
a. reviewing for next opera that begins Dec.20
b. memorizing next-next opera that begins Jan.10th
c. learning a new concert piece that will take place DURING next-next opera

Oh ya, and some European auditions that I need to make sure arias are always ready for.
Oh ya, and that whole "Flute" performance that I have to always be reviewing dialogue and music for.

All good things.
All must be worked on.
No pressure, just need to GET a MOVE on...and so listing the items here is my first kick in the pants to get going.

02 November, 2009

the best superpower ever...

Would be able to fly/transport wherever I want.
This would save me the time and energy of:
Calling the car service
Waking up 4.5 hours before my flight to take the car service
Hoping there is no NYC Marathon day traffic on the way to LGA
Getting to the airport and waiting in the Skycap line
Getting to security and waiting in the line
Getting to the gate and waiting in the line
Getting on the plane and waiting in the line between the gate from the plane because people don't know how to put their overstuffed items into the overhead bins fast enough and get out of the aisle at the same time.
Changing planes.
Being tempted by a McFlurry with M&Ms at the Atlanta airport (yes, I ate it)
Feeling like CRAP (because I ate the McFlurry and a gross turkey wrap) on the NINE hour flight back.
Waiting in the passport line where only two guards were working and 500 people just deplaned.
Waiting for my checked bag...

I could just SKIP right to the part of reunion at the airport, the 13 minute trip home, and the sleeping off jet-lag.

Sure, I'd still have to pack and unpack, but I'm a champ at that.

But if I could transport or fly faster than an airplane (and not be cold in the -72 atmosphere), life would be a lot easier than it is right now...

Trying to adjust to the time, realizing I haven't really slept in about 20 hours, and hoping that this TOTAL feeling of CRAP right now is because of the 'dry' air on the airplane and NOT because I caught H1N1 from someone at one of the many public enclosures that I was forced to be a part of today.

Not feeling so hot right now...OD'ing on Emergen-C, tea, Ricola and sleep.

Although--IF I "were" to get sick...these 3-4 days would be a GOOD time to get that over with!

So---get on with it!!

30 October, 2009

onward and upward

Well, I can't quite say that things have remained in the doldrums. Just the opposite--things seem to be moving faster and faster...and only in good directions (knock on wood 3 times).

Something quite good came out of previous-audition...and the timing couldn't be more perfect in terms of things in my personal life that are being planned for the late summer/early fall...

A new project has also been approved for a release during an upcoming production...and if the music looks good (it's being shipped overseas as I write), that could be a really interesting three days--- of new modern music with new talented colleagues.

And perhaps most importantly, a huge huge huge opportunity is coming my way. One that I am excited about not only because of the "Who" of who I'll be singing for...but also because it's a piece of music that I was 'google-ninja-ing' over 4 years ago and is finally coming into, well, I can't quite say 'standard' rep, but it is being done more than ONCE in North America and the rest of the world this year.

While the music is some of the most challenging I have had to learn both in temperament and vocally...I am up for the challenge. I think that breaking it down into small blocks of study per day is how I'll approach this one.

First aria- done and done. 2 pages of crazy high, crazy low, and in general- crazy/cool.

Second aria- New as of three days ago, but I like it because it's crazy/creepy, and I memorized the words today, and some of the "blocks" of melody--for lack of a better music theory term...since it's certainly not atonal..it's kind of modal...but...who knows what these contemporary guys are calling it these days.

And I'm also toying with being MORE prepared by learning either one OR two other 1.5 page mini-excerpts. Just to show that I can do it...and do it all really well.

Flying back over the pond on Sunday and can't wait for 2 weeks of studying, auditioning, and performing.
Busy is good.
In a good way.

29 October, 2009

the lesson

Yes, it's time to write about the quest for perfection and pleasing...
Which is mainly what this business is about.
Getting people to like you--and hire you--for one reason or another. Usually mostly having to do with your voice, plus the sometimes elements of looks, acting, connections, and what the audition panel had for lunch that day.

So- according to some feedback, yesterday was not one of my best days.
That makes one audition out of..however many...but it still annoys me.

Should I be happy it wasn't a live performance for an audience?
Should I still be annoyed that I spent a rather large sum to come and even DO this audition and couldn't bring my best?
Should I think about the fact that even though the feedback wasn't great, I am still being considered for one of the roles that I was requested to sing an aria from yesterday?
Should I try to figure out what was wrong (well, without a recording, and just based on my own personal feelings about the singing?

Yes. I felt not the greatest from the first note I sang. I started singing it, and then it came blasting back in my face, distorting whatever tone I originally had in my ear (cadenza..have to stay on pitch..that did not happen)..and pretty much disorienting me for the rest of the introduction.
But then the aria begins.
So I get over it, start to sing the words and just think about the story and the language instead of vibrations coming back at me. I probably gave up on some phrases support-wise at the end which contributed more to the problem even though I was trying to ease up to make sure everything was still in order. I probably second guessed myself which made things sound tentative...I can't say I thought there was any problem with the coloratura sections at all...but then again...I couldn't hear well so maybe there was.
For the second piece I didn't hear anything, really..so who knows what was on or off. All I know is that to me it seemed like the F's that needed to be there were there, as were the arpeggios leading up to them. But again, since I have no recording I don't know.
And do I WANT a recording to hear something that as of right now--I feel like I couldn't control or have done better under the circumstances?
No. of course I can't blame a "room". I have sung in horrible horrible acoustics before and been just fine.
What should I 'blame' then? Nothing.
It's my job to do the best possible job at performances and auditions. But it is a reality that I may not be able to do that every single time. Since I'm not a wooden instrument with 4 strings and a bow, and since I'm a human whose physical surroundings influence the production of my 'instrument'.

So I can only say that yesterday I didn't perform as well at my job as I would have liked--or, as those who attended and offered feedback would have liked.

It's not the greatest feeling in the world. It's also not the worst.
I didn't know it before when I was warming up. It's not like I was sick and should have cancelled. Things felt fine warming up at 2 and getting ready for the day earlier.

What's the lesson?
No one is perfect, but we all strive for perfection on stage and in our careers. Things are so pressured all the time---from just beginning- Get into a conservatory, get an MM, get a scholarship, get a yap, get an agent, get a job, keep the agent, keep the job, get ..."famous"...get momentum, KEEP working...
that we forget that our entire job is to bring the childlike wonder of the voice and the story...to an appreciative audience.

It's easy to start feeling the pressure after a day like yesterday, but instead I'm going to leave it for what it was...and move on toward bigger and better and much more exciting things that will be happening about three weeks from now...and my next three operas, and my last 2 European performances, and the next European auditions...and everything good and exciting that is coming up in the next weeks, months and years.

Not forgetting that I can always do better and should do better and maybe should have done better...but needing to leave a sub-par day behind and just look ahead to other things.

25 October, 2009

leavin' on a jet plane (almost)...again.

10:30am flight arriving around 3pm US time on Tuesday and an audition wednesday at 4pm.
I'm usually good to go after flights anyway, but just to make sure, I WILL stay awake the entire flight...and maybe...hum lightly every hour or so...to make sure that crappy circulated air isn't getting to me. Ricola overload- that's a given.
Plus some emergenC, and I should be GOOD to GO--even if I had to sing on that same day.

There's no question I'll get a good night's sleep because jet lag will be working in my favor and I'll want to drop off around 8pm most likely.

If i can stretch it until 10, I'll be GOLDEN.

Plans, plans, and more plans...that I'm trying to fit into my literally 2.5 days in NYC and weekend upstate...
it will include shopping for things that I can't get cheaply in Germany (gladware- who knew?), bringing back a suitcase of winter clothes (well, actually I'm bringing my SUMMER clothes back to the US, so really, just changing places)...
and maybe maybe maybe even some more ..SHOES...
Oh how I have missed all of my shoes.

23 October, 2009

k k k karma

This won't be long or detailed but let's just put it this way---

If you happen to be an American living in a foreign country, MAYBE just possibly of the same profession that I am, with maybe just possibly some more experience, insight, advice, and general THINGS to tell me about my trying to start a life here and trying to coach, study, find english classes, contacts, auditions, etc.- OR just wanting some COMPANY of English speakers----please, just please think of YOUR first month or two here before you write me off like I'm just trying to somehow sabotage your own career or life by just saying hi and let's hang out sometime.

I know we're not besties and just acquaintances, but come on...I'm pretty sure YOUR life isn't so busy and great that you have no time to say yea, let's meet up some time.

I offer my apartment to friends to crash or warm up. I offer guided tours of a city that I don't even KNOW that well yet. I offer anyone coming to germany the same 'master list' that I made up by myself of every agent, house, how to contact them, what to do, etc. plus any other tips I've picked up along the way.
With an open heart and really all the best and positive thoughts for anyone (including coloratura sopranos...YESSSS....really), in making this kind of leap.

And really? You think I'm just using you for an email?

ok then.

22 October, 2009


Had an audition today in FRANCE that I had to take the ICE/TGV to get to...
Oh how I love fast train travel.
So painless.
So lovely.
Even when one train runs 5 minutes late they sometimes hold the next train if they know a ton of people have connections on it so that we can all safely get to our destinations.

That's beside the point.
Woke up at 6:15, slept on the train until 9:30, arrived at 10:15, took a tram to the opera house, warmed up for about 20 minutes, rehearsed with the pianist for about 10 minutes, had some time to cool down and relax before my actual time...

and then I started with DurchZ (thanks, pianist--even though I pointed out that I will NOT be breathing on the three runs to the top notes and could you please NOT slow down the tempo--you still slowed down so much that it almost came to a halt and I had to breathe all of the times..thanks...no matter. Still sounded awesome and held the high E for like, ever)

Then- (this is the BEST) they asked for Lakme, but WITHOUT the introduction!?!?!??!
Don't you people know that the intro. is the ONLY challenging part of the whole aria?
To start on an E, get it once from the piano an octave lower, and actually end that whole cadenza in the right KEY???
HAHAHAA- suuuuckers!

Anyway, so that was a snap too...oh, except : (thanks pianist, for somehow being the ONLY french person EVER to not know that the 2nd "lyric" sections of the aria --la bas dans la foret plus sombre---DON'T get sung at a snail's pace.
WHERE on the music does it say slow down, huh? huh? tell me....please).
This just confirms my anti-feminist suspicion that sorry--almost every male audition accompanist I've had is by FAR better than any female audition accompanist I've ever had.
I KNOW there are lovely talented women out there coaching and being repetiteurs and playing beautiful auditions.
Just not for me.


Anyway, both pieces went really well, the house was lovely to sing in, and hopefully I made a good impression.
To Be Determined.

20 October, 2009


At last night's performance, we had an Einspringer--that means, last minute 'jump in' to the role because someone is sick or had an emergency, etc.
Our new Third Lady joined us in the dressing room about 2 hours before the show, after rehearsing for 2 hours in the afternoon ALL of the blocking with the First and Second Lady.

Now- ok, third lady...no big deal, right?
WRONG! The ladies are ALL over and ALWAYS blocked with plenty of action, choreography, shtick, and other blocking-related requirements.

So- this was a big one.

But our new Dritte Dame could not have been MORE relaxed and fun-loving for the whole process.
They didn't even have a matching costume that fit her, so she had her own black tank top on, with a sheer black wrap, and the costume department tacked big silver stars onto it (to match the other ladies).
No wig fit--she used her own hair.
Shoes- her own black shoes with added stars.

Blocking--she didn't even ask the ladies backstage before each scene--ok, here we do this, right?
Nothing!!! SHe just laughed and joked and said she hoped she would get all the dialogue right...and talked about her family, and her other opera house, and wishing that she was a soprano, and how she sings all the "Hexe" roles (witch parts)..even though she's not one...
I mean, this was one FUNNY lady that added an air of lightness and joy to the room instead of freaking out about what was about to happen on stage!

I guess that's what comes with being completely musically prepared to jump into a role. It doesn't really MATTER what the choreography/blocking is (well, of course it does, but still)...you can DO it because no matter what the MUSIC will be there to back you up..and if you get up or kneel down a second too early or too late, that's ok too!

It was thrilling.

OH. And in the middle of my second aria the audience clapped after the high F's....which was cool, except that they clapped so long they didn't hear the first two:
Verstossen Sei auf ewig, Verlassen Sei auf ewig's.
AND I had a total ONE word brain fart in der hoelle rache.
HOW long have I been singing the aria?
So here's How it went:
Fuhlt nicht durch dich Sarastro WIRD ERBLASSEN (which...ARE the correct words from the END of the aria..just not right there), and then immediate recovery: SARASTRO TODES SCHMERZEN...so bist du meine tochter nimmer mehr...etc. etc.. high F's, etc.

Glad all that is on descending scales so no one cares about the final words anyway.
But it was SO SO strange to not be in control of the words that came out of my mouth and all of a sudden be like- uhh...huh? that wasn't right. It didn't FEEL right..and NOW here are the right words.

Anyway, no one seemed to care or notice since they were all just waiting for the high notes....

A lovely evening. And I still have glitter in my hair. Again.

18 October, 2009

baby it's cold outside

It reached Zero two nights ago (C), and mostly the weather has been between 8-14 degrees here for the past few days.
Cold enough to be SO VERY thankful to my parents who sent me my POOFY WINTER JACKET that I love so much.

I bought it two years ago, it's one of those long Northface ones (yes, the one everyone has in black), except mine is WHITE!

Good thing about having a white jacket--you don't mistake your jacket for anyone else's.

Bad thing about having a white jacket--daily use will turn it gray and then black (mistaking it for others) in an extremely short period of time.
The nice Chinese man at my regular dry cleaner's in the US has cleaned the jacket 3 times. Each time he has to clean it at least 3 times. And after this last time, he said he won't clean it anymore because he can't guarantee that all stains from ...subways, streets, sleeping on it in airports, and other general uses for extremely warm jacket as a blanket, pillow and heater...can be removed.

15 October, 2009

bureaucracy central, and 'bending' the rules

It's been four hours.
You would think with my ninja internet skills that by now I could have set up 7 bank accounts, transferred millions to my offshore accounts, and also saved the world from the next chain-letter mass email.

But, instead, I have barely:
Set up a new bank account (in America- details and reason why to follow).
Made a bank transfer that SAID it didn't go through. Made another bank transfer after waiting 20 minutes for an online "code" to MAKE said bank transfer.
Got 2 confirmation emails of my TWO bank transfers.

Called my health insurance in the US to find out if I'm covered here because there is a magical worldwide network for blue cross blue shield, but you have to get permission to use it first.

Reason for new bank account?
1. Bank of America doesn't charge for a checking account. Wells fargo now charges 12/month!
2. Bank of America exists on the East coast, wells fargo does not.
3. Bank of America has FREE transactions from Deutsche-Bank ATMs!!

AND the number one reason that has nothing to do with needing a new bank account:
To get a driver's license in Germany without having to take a written or road test (in German).

WHAT? you may ask?
What does that have anything to do with bank accounts?

Well, my friends, there are THIRTEEN states in the US which Germany recognizes in a super-special agreement of DMV offices...which allow drivers from ONLY these 13 states, to automatically get a German license, WITHOUT paying 100 Euros, AND taking the driving test, AND taking a written test.

Yes, I know, international license. But that's no good if I'm here more permanently...and I'm thinking that in the future future (not to be confused with the future), I'll be here a little more than permanently..maybe.

SO. Among the 13 states that are acceptable: Massachusetts.
Yes, the Massholes that I learned to drive amongst for 5 years living in Boston for my undergrad(s), THEY get automatic German licenses? Ok, maybe it makes sense since there are no speed limits on the autobahn, and that is pretty typical for ANY MA suburb as well as the Pike.

New York? Vermont? Minnesota? Any of the other 2 or 3 states I've lived in/had licenses in for the past 10 years?
Just MA.

SO- since my grandparents still live in MA and have an address where I USED to get mail sent to, I am now on my way to once again becoming a Massachusetts resident! (again).

I need proof that I live there, and what better way to prove it than to get some mail from my brand spankin' new bank account sent to my 'new address'? --Followed by a box of checks...which hopefully WON"T say bank of america on them, which will give me TWO letters received at said address.

Now all I need to do is wait to hear that it has arrived, and, oh, yea, find some time to go up to boston for ONE day of standing at the DMV and transferring my license (for 100 bucks..at least it's not 100 Euros).

Take THAT German bureaucracy!
I REFUSE to pay you and take your driving courses! And--in addition, I'm NOT planning to learn how to drive stick--cuz it's scary and weird and the car rolls when I am on hills! Automatic it is!

Health insurance call. I can't even BEGIN to write about that right now...let's just sum it up by saying that whether you love him or hate him, at least Obama is trying to do SOMETHING so that I'm not paying 200 bucks a month plus a 3000 deductible to be told that I still have to submit a claim to be APPROVED if I want to go see an ENT here...and that I have to call in advance the hotline (in Minnesota) and have THEM approve setting up the initial appointment.

13 October, 2009

on the road again...almost

Have to fly back to the US for an audition next week, and then again for a few days in mid-November.

I know how much of a hassle traveling is already.
I know how to pack light, I know how to trick those scales at the check-in to make it seem like my bag really IS under 20 Kilos even though it is about to explode.
I know that when I have a connecting flight I have to be sitting in an aisle seat to get out of the plane on time.
I know which line is faster at Newark and JFK for security.
I know that even though I'm dead tired after an international flight, I should still try to run to the front of the Passport line so that I'm not stuck behind half of America who is also trying to enter the country legally.

I've dealt with all of this SO SO SO many times.
But EVERY time I actually have to book a flight, part of me inside screams. A lot.

It's not as easy as: Business trip from the 1st to the 6th. Find the cheapest flight.

It's ALWAYS: POSSIBLE audition on the 28th. MAYBE something else will come along too.
So--how can I buy a ticket early?
I can't.
Unless I am willing to pay 300-500 dollars extra for a refundable ticket, OR just 30 dollars extra for "insurance" with orbitz, but EVEN that insurance doesn't cover the cost of changing the ticket.
All it does is let me "skip" the flights completely without "penalty", and be able to use that money toward the purchase of another flight (plus the 150 dollar fee to change the ticket plus the 30 dollar airline fee).

So of course yesterday I look up my POSSIBLE flight plans for next week as well as november.
538! A STEAL (although I've flown for 440, ONCE, most of my flights are between 490-540).
Leaving on the right day, coming back on the right day, and DIRECT!
And it wasn't even on India Air (although, don't knock it til you've tried it- it's actually quite awesome!)!!
It was on DELTA! via Air France, my snooty neighbors to the West.

So- my thoughts on Monday---
Should I get the ticket? Hmm... is there a chance I'll be called for a cancellation of Flute if the OTHER queen gets sick? (check it out, no performances of flute during that time)...
Should I get the ticket? hmm...maybe I'll wait one more day and see if...see if...
there was NO GOOD REASON for me not to buy the ticket yesterday!

when I logged into orbitz today.
LESS than 24 hours after yesterday's search,
the flight is no longer available.
Neither on orbitz, or delta, or air france.
Now- it's 1500!! Yes, joy to the world!

But what IS available for 562?
Well, it's the SAME departing flight (nonstop), and a flight back that goes from LGA to ATL (yes, that's atlanta), with 2.5 hour layover and then the flight to Frankfurt.
About 16 hours including an overnight flight.

So with a smack to my forehead and my credit card out, I bought that flight immediately.

Ok, a 20 dollar difference, and still a nonstop flight on the way IN which is what I really care about.

But really. There HAS to be a better system than the insanity of online ticket purchasing for poor artists that have open-ended travel dates!!!

As SOON as I have ANY clue about the dates I need to travel in November, my ticket WILL be booked. Immediately.

11 October, 2009

show #2 and a happy bday

Friday night was the 2nd performance of Flute. As I arrived at the theater early to warm up, get my hair and makeup done, and I remained seemingly calm and uninvolved in the usual storm of thoughts rushing through my head before any show in America, I realized why- first, I just had a week off between performances. And second, no one around me was crazy either.
Things here just seem calmer for most singers...whether that is because of the Fest system and the fact that this is their JOB- to show up and sing a good show. To come every day to rehearsal. To rehearse Rigoletto from 11-3 and come back for Flute at 6pm...maybe.
Or, whether it is because the shows are in repertory and you can't let one thing get to your head so much when you also have a big day tomorrow, and had a big day yesterday...

I don't know...but, everyone was excited but not too excited. They were all happy to be doing what they loved, but they were also just living their life. Their life, being, singers who have a job to do on a Friday night at 7pm.

So I warmed up, got ready, and did my job.
I'm really happy with both arias, how the show is going generally (except for the annoying crown that always falls off my head or feels like it's about to as well as my huge act 2 costume that makes it nearly impossible to fit through a door frame or sit comfortably).

And to top it all off, I'm having a great bday weekend. One year older, but it doesn't feel that way at all.
Sure, it's a number. But I'm having fun and I feel great.

Show number three this Friday.

08 October, 2009

slowly but surely

I'm realizing that I am getting more and more comfortable hearing German all the time, trying to understand it, and (gasp!) even, sometimes, formulating sentences that are seemingly correct to answer people or ask questions.

When I began this audition madness back in February, my auditions went something like this.
Show up at the porter's office and use keywords:
Audition, Today, 1pm, Here Early, Warm up?

And then listen for key words:
Upstairs, right, left, right, left, Frau so-and-so's office.

I would always just end up guessing the general direction of where I was sent, and hope that on one of the doors I would see a sign for KBB.

But more recently, I'm fielding phone calls from the KBB office of current-opera-theater, that are explaining to me in detail that I need this-and-that document, this for a work visa, to come into the office before this time to sign that contract, etc.

And--I GET it! And what's more fun- I can KINDOF answer them back and say- no, I won't be there until 5, can you send the contract in the mail? That would be great. Thursday? No problem....

I CERTAINLY have not been studying here...I have my books, but I just don't have the time or energy to really open them and start looking at verb tenses...

But I suppose that just being around this crazy language at all times somehow a LITTLE bit rubs off. And that gives me a BIT more hope of ONE day maybe possibly JUST perhaps that I will be 'ok' in German.

04 October, 2009

European Debut

Fun, Fun, Fun.
SHould I get into specific musical things alREADY? Well, this is a blog for my personal records, so sure, why not?
I liked EVERYTHING I did musically except for ONE thing.
I took one catch breath in the long Alle Bande phrase of the 2nd coloratura in the 2nd aria.
Yess....I recorded it sneakily w/my iphone because I have an entrance from the audience so I can hide the phone there right before the 2nd aria and come get it after Sarastro's aria. don't h8.

So. While I can hear it and it annoys me that I had to do it because suddenly today our conductor was inspired to take the triplet section three, yes, THREE ticks slower than the beginning of the coloratura section...I HAD to do it. There was no other choice. The aria was already kind of slow, and once I saw him slow the orchestra down to brace for that next section I knew that I would have to do it. So I chose as sneaky of a place as possible, took a tiny catch breath. And basta.

Otherwise, all the F's, all the arpeggios, all the german text, all the everything else that needed to happen--happened.

Very happy about the first performance, and looking forward to the rest of the run...minus the glitter left in my hair for days after each show.

03 October, 2009

it's the TAG of the show y'all!

Well, except that it's :38 and I haven't gone to sleep yet...so it's "literally' the day of the show, however, I haven't 'woken up' for the show day .. yet.

That's ok.
Show starts at 4pm. I have to be there for makeup call at 3:20, which means since I'm completely paranoid about my trains being two hours late, I will leave the apartment around 12:15 and take a super early train to get to the theater around 1:45/2.

Spent the day relaxing, had dinner with friends and tried not to talk too much, hoping to get a good night's sleep, but happy that I can sleep in if needed.

Feeling pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing. I guess I'll be more excited tomorrow on my way there or in my costume or on stage.

Until then...buona notte.

02 October, 2009

final orchestra dress

Well the big day arrived (at 10am this morning).
First time that I would get to rehearse in full costume and makeup with orchestra...and my last rehearsal before opening.

First the costume- slinky extremely sparkly silver v neck, low cut, halter gown to the floor. In the first act I come out with a totally huge and heavy black diva coat (no fur trim, but there might as well be for the largesse of this manteau... and then when I'm 'inspired' by the (coloratura section) moment--I take it off and sing the 2nd part of the first aria.
Oh yea, with a silver crown that is a foot tall, made of wires that won't stick in to the wig, which has to be placed on my head by the First Lady, after which I have to somehow secure it enough to get up on a bench and be inspired to SING the rest of the aria.


2nd act. Same slinky dress, but this time there is an overlay of black cape with peignets (read: hips for days), with a cloak/cape type train in the back, which ALSO is a halter (yea, this costume is not so great for neck tension).
And it's so heavy that it has to be corseted at the waist and at the neck, lest, it strain my neck.

In THIS costume I have to once again wield the crown, a knife, black gloves, some ICE (read: super fake and huge glitzy diamond bracelet, drop earrings and necklace), and then crawl on the floor like a dog AND flap my wings like a chicken.
I wasn't kidding you when I said this production was 'euro-fabulous' people.

The singing went really smoothly today. Meh- what can I say.
Koenigin is actually not a hard sing at ALL except for the "expectations" of the role.
Everyone knows what it sounds like. Everyone knows whether you hit the high notes. Everyone just knows...
So in THAT sense you can just not mess up...any of it. Ok- definitely not the high F's or any parts of those cadenzas..and MAYBE something else may go unnoticed.

Queen for me is generally fun to play around with and offer to those who find it appropriate for my vocal timbre.

The one thing that's strange (and now I do believe those that warned me about singing too many Queens or only being singled out as a Queen in Germany especially), is that I agree that it could temporarily mess with your voice.
I mean- ok, granted I had a 10 am rehearsal for the last 2 days for which I had to wake up at 6:30 and get on trains to get to the theater...
But. After the rehearsals. I.Was.Tired.

I didn't want to sing ANY more--and, come on- it's just 2 arias and the finale!

Having only had a total of something like 5 rehearsals for this production, I was under more pressure than usual, and was singing the arias over and over and over again for the 2 days that we had the orchestra with us. I was staging at singing at the same time....it was just a lot a week and a half ago, and a lot these past 3 days.

And even though nothing feels "bad" right now, my voice doesn't feel as easy/breezy as usual.
Meaning, after the F's on Sunday I'm officially shutting up until the F's the next Friday.
Of course when I warm up and 'test' myself on my usual audition arias- DurchZ, Doll, etc- it's all there. It just feels like I'm warming up not from a day of rest with glittering E's,F's and G's that I can sit on forever, but--from a previous show day!--where I have to be a bit more scrupulous about approaching the high notes and how long I'm actually going to hold them for.

In some sense of the matter, that could be a good thing or learning experience. After all, for 2 of my upcoming productions I have to sing leading roles on Saturday evening/Sunday Matinees back to back. Not just 2 arias and one quintet for a total of 10 minutes.

I'm feeling good about this being my semi-official European debut--ok, well it's my stage debut in Europe, seeing as how Candide was "Semi-staged" concert-style.

Excited of course, looking forward to seamless singing and seamless costume-crown-knife-wielding.

29 September, 2009

more amusing by the minute

Have I mentioned how GLAD I am the Queen of the Night is so easy to sing and to stage?
Let me mention it again...
because I just got my schedule for tomorrow, and I am called from 8pm-8:30pm to run the first aria.

Yep- that's it!

No run-through, no costumes, no make-up.

Loving the last-minute-ness of it all.

I THINK (assume/hope) that there WILL be SOME kind of run-through on either Thursday or Friday.
Which is just fine by me--although...at this point, I'm not actually sure that will happen.

Whether it does or not, though, thankfully, none of my role is really dependent on anyone else's staging.

I come in all sad, stomp around, pull stuff off the walls, take a swig, sit down on a bench, stand up on a bench, sing some high notes, and leave the stage.

Then, I come in all pissed, yell a bunch in German, climb some stairs in 6 inch heels which I have yet to try on and a balloon skirt costume which I have yet to try on, wield a knife, fake-hug my daughter, yell at her some more, sing some more high notes.
Then, I have to stay on stage for Sarastro's aria and get 'hypnotized' by him, bow to him, remove my crown for him, kneel before him, and then run off stage.
Then, I spy on Pamina while she almost kills herself.
Then, I come in with my ladies, and stay stage right (in Germany that's stage Left, p.s.)...for the entire 'death scene', during which I get branded with a hot iron and am left to wallow in my sorrow and pain.

See? Easy.

See you opening night.

28 September, 2009

back to regularly scheduled programming

I'm back in Germany after a beautiful wedding weekend!
Actually, almost didn't make it back thanks to the good people of Newark airport who decided to delay my flight from Chicago for two and a half hours because of low cloud cover and increased air traffic.
I mean...thanks for the safety and everything, but this is EXACTLY the day for this kind of thing NOT to happen...

I had the flights timed perfectly for an emergency situation of this kind:
Supposed to leave Chicago (O'hare- known for awful weather delays in general) at 11:15, and arrive in Newark at 2:35.
Get off the plane, get on the skytrain, go to Terminal B, check in to my international flight 2.5 hours before it leaves (they don't have e-ticketing so you have to stand in line), get through the horrific Newark security line (international flights are even worse), grab one last Bagel and Cream Cheese from the US (ahhhhhh....), and off I would go.

INSTEAD- my flight LEFT chicago at 1:50, arrived at 4:30, didn't get a gate for 15 minutes, all of which had me scrambling for the last 2 hours of airport transit time (well, except for that whole security line thing), to make it to my overnight flight back here.

All went well in the end (there was even a free middle seat in between me and the person on the aisle), and even though I barely got any sleep because I happened to be placed behind the rows where EVERY baby was refusing to sleep by screaming and crying, I made it back at 8am, got on the 10 minute Sbahn ride back home, and fell into bed--a bit dehydrated, and most definitely hungry.

Back to auditions, rehearsals, and Mozart on the mind.

23 September, 2009

quick trip stateside

Thankfully and luckily, the stars aligned last week when the staff for the opera decided to make their preliminary schedule--because I am not called for the next 4 days--the exact four days that over three months ago I had scheduled a return trip to NYC for a wedding of one of my friends that I really really really hoped I would not have to miss. (In addition to the fact that I already told her I'd sing during her ceremony and during the reception).

I've missed a LOT of weddings over the years. Performances, young artist programs, rehearsals...sometimes--most of the time, it JUST doesn't work out. And there realy is nothing I can do about it. When you're engaged in a contract for 5 weeks, it pretty much means you are owned by another city, another opera company, and another director and conductor's daily schedule for the entirety.

LUCKILY I was at my best friend's wedding 2 years ago. LUCKILY I have a one and a half day release in 2010 so I can be a bridesmaid for my cousin at her wedding (and sing and all that jazz), and LUCKILY again--I don't have to change my plans, and I will be on a plane tomorrow morning headed for NYC and then Chicago on Friday for a weekend of celebration!

21 September, 2009

lost in translation

Actually, not really lost with anything having to do with musical things..at all. I have the German dialogue DOWN! I recite it before I go to bed, and when I wake up, and when I'm eating all that bread, cheese, and chocolate (not always in that order) that is so good here in Deutschland.

But for everything else that I need to take care of--oh, you know--things like--
Becoming a Resident/getting a work visa, getting a driver's license, opening a bank account so that I can be paid--yea, all that--in German.

Thankfully--someone is by my side to do MOST of the talking (unless they ask me directly whether I am a member of one of Germany's 3 "Churches"- Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish ...yes, you pay taxes if you say YES), and I get flustered and confused and say NO with a big smirk on my face.

20 September, 2009

have I mentioned

that the show opens on October 4th?
Oh yea, I just got the schedule for next week and there are no Zauberfloete rehearsals. That is because Rigoletto opens the NEXT night, and so since everything is in repertory, they also rehearse that way. Rigoletto will be rehearsing on the mainstage all week, and we will resume on the 30th. Yes, that would be 3 days before opening.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that Queen is just about the easiest thing to sing and act and learn for me?
First aria, some dialogue, second aria, 'death scene'.
SUCH a great way to not freak out about only having ONE or TWO more rehearsals (because of double casting). And possibly only ONE rehearsal in costume.


18 September, 2009

German Dialogue

Mmm, so tasty on the tongue.

Especially when you have to yell it running up some stairs, carrying a knife, wearing 6 inch heels, and a dress that poofs out 2 feet on each hip.


17 September, 2009

holy European debut, batman!

People of the blog-o-sphere that sometimes visit here (yes, all 42 of you), behold my thunderous announcement and try to refrain from shock and awe:

I am making my European stage debut (well, kinda- if you don't count that semi-staged Candide at a summer festival 2 yrs ago) singing the role of Koenigin der Nacht- in TWO WEEKS!

Yep, you heard me.

Here is how it went down:

Tuesday 2:30pm : missed call
Tuesday 2:50 pm: listen to a voicemail from an agent telling me to call them back as soon as possible
Tuesday 3pm: call agent who asks me how quickly I can get to Heidelberg from Frankfurt (it takes an hour), and can I audition for Queen that same day--ie, in a few hours?


Me between 3:40-4:50: (getting stuff ready, warming up briefly, getting on the train, getting to the theater ...early.....of course)

5pm- change at the theater and warm up
6pm- audition on stage. They request Der hoelle rache and then O zittre nicht.

6:12pm- they say- we like you, come meet everyone, oh yes, and- we have rehearsal at 6:30- can you STAY for it and sing the arias with orchestra?

UMMM--yes please!!

I still didn't have an official 'offer', but during the 'pausa' 1.5 hours into rehearsal, the head of the KBB pulled me aside and said they would like me to take over the contract for the other Queen who had to withdraw from the performances and they would be very happy to have me...and...could I show up to rehearsal tomorrow at 9:30am?

Yep, and Yep!

So- I get home at 11:30pm, exhausted from the frenzy of the last 6 hours and the general awesome-ness that is to be my life for the next few months...
Email the agent who set this up with a few requests and clarification questions (since- I started working with no contract I had to see what I was in for...and the agent had no idea they hired me on the spot, of course).

Next day (yesterday): Call the agent in the morning, go through my requests regarding the contract. Go to rehearsal, get blocked into the show (which--is so "Euro-amazing" (some would substitute another word for 'amazing'))...run the arias once and the finale once. Have 5 hours off in the afternoon. Come back at night to work a few details in the first aria.

And with that, I'm 'blocked' into the show. Aaaand we open October 4th.

Aaaand: go!

14 September, 2009

ch ch ch changes

I figured I should try and add a little color into my blog to go along with the new color added to my life recently...

I'm not totally in love with what I've picked, but in general, I like blue. And red. So there ya go.
Spending any more time on blogger.com templates and color schemes would just be...well, a waste of time.
Why new? Why change?
Well--why not?

I'm an easily adaptable person. Always moving, always packing, always meeting new people, learning new music and new city maps, new money conversions from dollar to euro, cup to liter, etc.

And so, since I'm already going for a smooth transition in life, why not in the blog as well?
I know, it's just three colors. But hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

11 September, 2009

a fun little aside

My piano skilzzzz will be tested this morning, as I have volunteered to go to a music store and help the parents of a 5 year old (family friend) who is about to start taking piano lessons, choose a digital keyboard.
Now if only I knew how to say weighted keys in German.
I'm pretty sure I"ll figure it out.

All those years of lessons and I THINK I can glide my fingers over the keys at a real music store and still sound mildly competent-- Beethoven sonatas and Mozart preludes, here I go.

03 September, 2009

upcoming 1 and 2: MEMORY

The last time I sang UpcomingRole1 I was fresh out of Undergrad and ready to take on the world.
This time I get a chance to do it all over again, x years later, a few legato notes and cadenzas wiser.

I've been doing a bit of memory work recently, and here is the conclusion that I've come to regarding how it works for me personally.

Whether I spend three days crash-memorizing a role that I have to jump into (see Summer 2007), or whether I prepare a leading role 9 months in advance, at a leisurely pace while on the beaches of the 'motherland' (See Summer 2007 ALSO), memorizing works in mysterious ways for me.

Sometimes I can look at the score, listen to a recording once and just 'get it'. The melody will be in my head always. And all I have to do is memorize the words and fit them in the right place. Of course this is RUDIMENTARY role acquisition. I'm not talking about being musical, making the nice sounds, or building character. I'm simply talking about memory work.

Sometimes, it doesn't help at all to listen. I have to be at the piano, banging out notes and little tunes and themes for what seems like ever, learning the words at the same time as memory cues, and I can learn the whole thing that way. As something 'hand in hand' in terms of music and lyrics.

MOST times I've had to learn a role whether I'm at the piano, or just flipping through the vocal score sightreading (in my head, and usually on an airplane), or listening to some old recording of someone who I would NEVER want to copy, just so that the music can get in my ear), I always remember the music. NOT so much the words.
Which is why about a month before the production begins, I am usually walking around with little folded pieces of paper on which I write out the words to the entire opera. Numerous times. Every day.

And (knock on wood) I've never had a word blip or brain fart (as they say) on stage or during rehearsal that has been so ridiculous that I couldn't recover from it on the next note or phrase.

But it's so strange--I work so hard to GET to the first rehearsal, have five weeks basically sleeping, eating and living a show, and then, one month later, it couldn't be farther in my mind.
It's almost like I WILL my short term memory to 'forget', so that I can make room for new things!
Of course, I haven't forgotten all of it. On the contrary, I think I actually remember about..92-95 percent of it.
But it's those little ensembles and the accompanied recits and that big choral number--the parts that I usually don't LOVE to practice because it's not all about 'me,me,me' in that there are long breaks, other things going on, or a high note held above 26 measures and then some patter.

Well. So. UpcomingRole1.
I just listened to it while power-walking/Yogging (it's a soft J) for an hour and a half...and for the MOST part, my memory has served me just as I thought it would.
I recall all of the major things, and there are a few minor patter/chorus/middle of duets/talky parts that I need to stop fooling myself into thinking that I'll remember, and actually start writing down. Every.Day. Ah- routine.

WELL- I am starting to work through that, but I think it's going to be the piano-banging-type.
It's French (also), there is MUCH patter, MUCH repetition as in couplets, MUCH fast Frenchiness (basically, more cowbell....)....and with THAT I will end the entry and say that I am not sure I'll ever really figure out how I learn best, because there ARE so many choices.
To each his own, and seemingly sometimes...to each OPERA its own...

01 September, 2009


Ok, it seems like I AM mostly still eating bread, cheese and chocolate. But at least I found a gym to work it all off! And happily, it is two blocks away.
REALLY no excuse not to go.

31 August, 2009


I have been here exactly six days. I think my 're-welcome-to-germany' time is over, and that now I actually have to start treating this place like my current and future home.

I unpacked my clothes into closets and shelves (instead of leaving them in my suitcases, as I tend to sometimes do during 5 week long gigs).
I brought my ELECTRIC toothbrush (instead of one that cost $1.99 at CVS).
I am not just eating bread and cheese and chocolate, but instead am seeking out semi-nutritious foods from (gasp) Grocery Stores! instead of stalls at the Main Train Stations.

And so, since today is Monday and I spent last night wandering around the streets of FF at the Museum Festival (every museum is free, there is food and music at every corner, and books, chatchkes, and knick-knacks for sale at every other corner), I am going to attempt to implement a schedule for myself so that I feel a bit more like I'm doing 'work' and less like I'm on an 'extended vacation' until I hear about some audition that I have to travel to in some other city.

The things that I need to do in no particular order are: practice German, practice music, and get my butt outside or to the gym.
Oh yea, and plan a wedding.

Aaaaand: GO.

27 August, 2009

tis the season

All of my singer friends back in the US are just beginning 'audition season'--which means that currently they are taking full advantage of their 9-5dayjob printer, and printing out endless copies of resumes, bios, and applications from online while supposedly working.
Hey, been there, done that, and you know you have too!
No judging.

Yes, it's audition season here too, but things are run a bit differently.

Firstly, there are no real 'YAPs'- young artist programs that run for a summer, utilizing 40 fresh young voices for chorus-work for five mainstage shows, while giving the youngsters invaluable lessons such as:

--Learning how to speed-memorize the chorus parts for 5 operas in one week
--Learning how to speed-memorize opera scenes that are handed to you upon arrival before next week's performance
--Learning how to speed-memorize recital music that is handed to you upon arrival before next week's recital...

you get the picture.

No, :) :) that, and of course meeting and working with amazing colleagues and friends, getting to live out your summer-camp youth in a dorm with shared showers, no AC, and someone who keeps stealing your low-fat fudgesicles from the refrigerator.

No applications and application fees, no pianist fees, no warm-up room fees, no singing an audition in a small 12x12 studio with an upright piano

Noo---here you get to the opera house, you are provided a warm up room, you are provided time with the staff pianist, who DOES know how to play Zerbinetta- thank you very much!, you are provided the STAGE. Yes, the STAGE to stand up and do your thing...with a lovely grand piano to accompany you.


I could get used to that.
Not having to scramble to see if my 'short list' of pianists is available to accompany me for an audition.
Not have to warm up on the streets of New York because I don't feel like paying 14 bucks to NOLA for 30 minutes of a non-soundproof room.
Not having to send in 20 to 60 dollars just so someone can look at my resume without hearing me and decide whether I'm worthy of a four minute audition slot three months away or not.
Not having to sing in an overly-live, tiny room, with the auditors tapping away at their laptops visibly while I attempt to make some art ;)

Bitter? Not me! I've just tasted the forbidden fruit on this side of the pond and could get used to this kinda stuff!