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!!