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.