31 January, 2010

that was fun!!

I'm baaaaack!

Ok, here's the breakdown.
5:15 show up to the theater to deliver my thank you notes and chocolates to the appropriate dressing rooms.
5:30 hair and makeup call
6:15 Warm up ... speed-sing through most of my parts in the show, then sing some Lucia for fun.
6:50 get in my costume
7:30 opening!!!

Our first entrance --
I'm standing backstage, and YET AGAIN my heart begins to RACE.
I mean, no calming breath was going to calm this thing down.
It happens. I don't know why and I can't control it, but RIGHT before I go on it starts beating like K.Razy.
Went on, first five seconds--it goes away.
First time I have to sing a 'solo' line-- I am feeling awesome and into it by now and the whole thing will be ok.

It's so funny and strange, the mind-body connection. I mean, if my heart had kept racing from being excited and nervous, COULD I have controlled it? WOULD it have come back at any time and made any impression on my voice?

Not sure. Just glad that it's the seconds BEFORE I go onstage, and not WHEN I'm onstage.
Although I have written that in the past- and I'm talking 4 years or so now...I have always gotten really nervous for the beginning of the shows, and sometimes that has had an effect on me vocally. In essence, thinning out my support and core and thereby thinning out my voice. The notes are there, but to me it sounds like I'm barely phonating (although those listening tell me they have not heard a difference even though I feel like I'm crumpling up into myself inside).

AAANYWAY, back to the show.
The audience laughed and clapped and liked it! YAY!
The dialogues went well. The singing went well, the ensemble work and dancing went well--
I mean, in general, this felt like a 'high energy totally ON rehearsal/performance'- which , really, is what it SHOULD be.
No more no less than your best performance, as rehearsed carefully and energetically.

It's funny though-- before a few of my 'arietta' entrances--I kept going OVER and OVER the words in my head thinking that somehow they'd be GONE and I couldn't recall them when I was actually onstage doing them.

Since I have written about my learning process before let's just say that this was a show that was split between 'magically being in my head' and study study studying the French couplet verses that I had to memorize.
But not in a way that was--"involved". It was more like- on a TRAM or SUBWAY TO somewhere....
I never really sat down with it the way I do some other pieces..because it seemed to come a bit more easily and that wasn't necessary.
Well, I suppose because of that my brain got a little freaked last night and wanted me to go over and over my lyrics until right before my entrances.

And I did. And they were fine!

Ask me the day after the show closes to sing you the whole thing...and you'll get a different answer! HA.

Enough of the run down.
I felt good.
The party was lovely afterward. I again got some REALLY nice comment about my acting and my natural tendencies on stage--and truthfully...it's almost better than hearing 'you sang well' or 'your voice is so lovely.'...this is something I work on, and think about, and I'm glad when it's recognized.
Of course, my voice is too--but that's just part of the impression. If someone can suspend reality and believe I'm this character--no matter how it comes out they won't remember my voice. They'll remember ME (as that character) and that is what I love.

Have to coach Lucia tomorrow at 11:30am. Yea, I'm a sucker for pain early in the morning.

30 January, 2010

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

Slept OK last night, woke up early and then stayed in bed this morning (well, afternoon since it's 1pm and I'm still in my pjs and in my bed), about to go take a long steam shower and do some lip trills.
Then maybe choke down some cereal and a banana.
Then try on the dress I THINK I want to wear for opening night party.
Then pack my stuff up for tonight.

29 January, 2010


The dress rehearsal for schoolkids was SO.MUCH.FUN!

The laughed so much! They cheered when the hero was still alive, they whooped when we kissed...it was great!

What a lovely way to send off the 'rehearsals' into the 'performances!"

Opening night is on Saturday, and I really really really think that this is one of the sweetest most amusing and lovely/funny shows that I've been in.

I'm excited because there are so many 'interesting' visual and musical things that I think any audience member will find SOMETHING they love about this...and hopefully- if it's their first time at the opera- this art form!

Plans for today- nada except some family hang-out time for those that flew in to see the show from afar...and perhaps a dinner w/two or three other cast members later!

It's funny though--even though this role isn't one of those 'ones' where it's challenging, there's a whole history of singers and performers before you who have done it, etc.-- I STILL get butterflies before I go onstage.

Waiting offstage there...and for about the first 10 minutes of my entrance, I still feel a bit in a trance. I go through the motions but it seams surreal and 'slower' OR 'faster' than real life.
Yesterday it was very 'quiet' ... even though our entrance music is anything but that.

It's a funny, scary, a bit uncomfortable feeling, because you never know what your nerves will make you do (vocally, that is)...but then all of a sudden I'm just the person playing this other character and there is nothing else but what is going on onstage and by business up there.

28 January, 2010

orchestra dress

Our first orchestra dress two days ago was lovely. The notes from the director were that the energy was up, it was a really good experience, bla bla bla.
How did III feel about it?
I was trying to make a lot more connections for the character, and also just 'staying' in character even though I have a number of entrances and exits with time in between then where I could just as easily be thinking about the Twix bar in my dressing room that I'm going to have at intermission, or chatting with the hair and makeup people, or chatting about that day's BBQ sandwich with members of the cast.
But no, I took some more time to myself and did quick speed-reviews of lyrics and dialogue, and lo-and-behold! I felt more connected.

I've gotten 2 really nice comments about how even though this character is supposed to be 2 dimensional and a bit 'flat' in terms of 'stock' character-ish/clown'ish, I still find a way to make it 'real' and 3 dimensional. And that's nice to hear. That people are picking up on details. Movements, gestures, thoughts..and the process that I'm going through in trying to put this commedia character up on stage but still give her heart.

So there ya go!
Tonight is an invited dress rehearsal. Our last one. There will probably be about one thousand school kids in the audience. I LOVE these kinds of audiences. Always puts you in a really good mood because they're appreciating something real and live .. and possibly for the first time.

And NOW...
since it's almost 2pm.
And I'm still in my PJs...
Off to take a shower, maybe do some lip trills, and go to the theater!

Oh yea--due to scheduling needs, my call is TWO HOURS before curtain for hair and makeup!
So I will try to only warm up after I get my 'hair did' and not let my energy get 'down' during that hour and a half between when I'm out of the chair and when I'm first on stage.

Also---went to a very long and very lovely dinner last night with a lot of the cast, director, conductor..and let's just say...it was a wine bar/restaurant.
Four glasses of four different kinds of wine later... and home at 11 pm... combined with duck and salmon tastings for dinner...and now I'm thinking- maybe that wasn't the BEST idea.
I didn't talk too much though! I'm just a bit dry. Some steam in the shower will do me good.
And I certainly have some WATER to down between now and 7pm...let's just put it that way.

It's all good though.

26 January, 2010

piano dress

Prop-wise everything went smoothly, singing wise everything went smoothly, staging and dialogue wise everything went...smoothly!

I have some K-razy makeup and hair in the show (I'm a BLOND...GROSS), and my super huge super doe-eyed princess eyelashes definitely give me some extra oomph onstage to go 'batty' with the lashes and keep the energy up.

What I don't think I've quite settled into yet is my own rhythm in terms of the character.

It's like Disney pricess meets Vanna White on Speed sometimes...but other times it's very TENDER princess and "real", and sometimes it's naive and sweet princess a la the movie Enchanted.

How to play all of those emotions..but in only ONE character...is still a bit off for me.
I feel comfortable in each SCENE but I'm still not getting a feeling of OVERALL 'me' that is unchanged.

Something to work on for tomorrow's orchestra dress.

25 January, 2010


Last night we had the first tech rehearsal.
In general, I should really try to remember that tech rehearsal is pretty much not at ALL about the performer. It's about the costumes, wigs, staging, lighting, blocking, spike marks, cues, entrances, and everything else that gets in 'the way' of doing a good show.

So it was no surprise that we just skipped a LOT of stuff--including things where we had dancing that would have been 'nice' to practice that one extra time-- just because the light cue stayed the same for the entire aria.

Is it disappointing? No. It's just another part of the production and the schedule. But I was a bit more 'excited' for a first tech/runthrough with costumes and hair (well at least for the first act), and instead it turned out to be a lot of standing around, a lot of skipping around in the score, and not much 'practice', as practices should go.

And so, we're down to THREE.
Tonight- piano dress
Tomorrow- orchestra dress
Thursday- orchestra invited dress.

And that is it.
It's all of the technical things, of course, that can make you feel on edge in a performance. Of course all we want to do is have to 'worry' about our singing, and our staging--not whether a giant hanger that comes down from the rafters will hit us on the head if we're not far enough downstage, and not whether we will be able to wrangle a hat pin out of our HUGE hat WITH thick white gloves on in order to take the hat OFF and place it on SAID hanger...all in under ... oh... ten seconds.

24 January, 2010

sitz and techs

We have FOUR more times to run this show on stage...and the first time, tonight, will be the first tech we have on stage.

Yep, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
And then we open on Saturday.

That SEEMS crazy and oh-so 'almost here', but actually, it adds some excitement to the new few rehearsals.

Tonight- the first tech. First time in costumes and hair and a rake on stage.
THAT should be interesting.
Off I go.

Sitz yesterday went well. Apparently, from those reporting from the house, we all sound great. Even though it LOOKS big and cavernous to us from stage, everything carries wonderfully and no one is getting swallowed up.

Hurray :)

22 January, 2010

final room run

YES! I didn't REALLY mess up my steps! Ok, ONE time I grapevined right instead of left. For a split second. But otherwise--that was fun!
Tomorrow is our sitzprobe. It will be SO nice to hear this with orchestra after rehearsing with piano for two weeks. I miss the fine frenchiness of it all..that only a light and well conducted orchestra can give me.

I can't believe we open in one week and one day!
And we only have 4 more rehearsals!

I think this is a lovely piece, it's fun to work as an ensemble, it's fun to dance with opera singers (!) and I really think that the audiences will like it.

HURRAY! More smiley sugary posts!

20 January, 2010

is this really my job?

Someone really needs to pinch me.
For all of the crazy travel-insanity / life-on-the-road / poor-me blog entries---
my life and career are SUPER SUPER SUPER FUN!

I mean, I have to work on my GRAPEVINE LEFT and HIGH CAN CAN KICKS for tomorrow's rehearsal. NOT fill out some paperwork, NOT do some work in an excel file, NOT answer to a boss who is passive aggressive and menopausal (see most of my previous posts from the Fall of 2008 for more amazing details on that experience)

I was inputting all of the future-exciting-things into my iCal this evening, and I do have to say..again..how happy I am and lucky I am that--I am BUSY and this is MY JOB!
There is NOTHING else!
No 'side' thing (even though I have awesome ideas for side things!)

From now until next May I preeeeetty much have: July and August off, November and December off, and three of the first weeks in March.

I mean- that rules!

I should read this happy happy sugary post every time I start getting worried that I'm not 'getting' far enough, that I'm not 'doing' enough things, that I'm not 'visible' in enough places...etc. Because...for right now...I think I'm doing A-Pretty-Much-O.K.

First full run-through is tomorrow.
LORD please let me kick right and box step left on the right beats...oh, and sing pretty.

19 January, 2010

back to reality

Ok, NO MORE TRAVEL during this production period. For Realzzz.
Returned today after yet another 4am wakeup and 6am flight. Got to power nap for a few hours before rehearsal this afternoon, but then everything went pretty smoothly.

Tomorrow- running Act I. It will be GREAT to finally do this all in order and put the pieces that we have been working on together.
We reviewed our first entrance today...yes, MOST of my dance moves were there. We staged the last bit of music that hadn't been staged, and we have one more dialogue to stage before at least all of my sections in the show are up.

I feel like there is still quite a bit to explore in terms of character movement in this show.
We are a 'timeless' troupe- meaning, we have no time period in which to act. No history to make me walk a certain way, carry my body a certain way, or even move my head a lot or a little when I'm happy, angry, contemplative, etc.

Which means I have to find something more than just 'princess' as my inspiration.
I was thinking about a mix of "Enchanted" and other actual animated Disney Princesses. But I can't be daft. I have truly sad emotions and truly DEEP emotions that have to show more than just "someday my prince will come" and "hmm, that apple looks delicious".

Will think about it after some slumber and before my 2pm call tomorrow. HURRAY for sleeping in.

15 January, 2010


My brain is completely fried right now.
I woke up at 4:30am to get to the airport, make the first flight back to rehearsals, and from 2-10, and we kept running ahead so we kept going back to do things that we had blocked last week, or doing some dialogue sections before those pieces, and all that skipping around and mostly my brain was just exploding with information, and lack there of...by..about 8:30.

A lot of French plus a lot of dialogue plus a lot of dance choreography equals one totally pooped singer.

And tomorrow we're called from 10-5 with the chorus for the first time, so of course I have to look pretty, sing pretty, and remember everything I was already taught!

...head spinning and rolling off my shoulders and to the ground...

MLK tribute

I had the honor of taking part in an MLK tribute concert last night that was attended by King's sister and daughter and other family members! ALSO, there was a world premiere piece written by one of my FAVORITE jazz composers ever! And I was standing backstage right behind him while HIS piece was being played in public for the first time ever ! (and he was marking the score where it was too hard or too messy for the orchestra to play new orleans swing and early be-bop in classical stylings of course)!
Anyway, the piece that I sang was moving in words and music. I'm really glad that I had the chance to be a part of the whole thing, and really really really glad that current-opera agreed to release me for these three days to fly and do this concert.
This is usually a toughie, because, of course, you're being paid to be in rehearsal in ONE place, not two. But luckily, most everyone was understanding and after schedule management and flights checked out, it was done.
I am very thankful that it was, because the experience last night will be one to remember.
Back to rehearsal today- completely different mindset, and back to French comedy.
Just got in from the airport and have 2 hours until my costume fitting, followed by rehearsal for the rest of the day.

Trying to decide whether a nap would ruin me for the rest of the day, or make me feel better right now!

12 January, 2010

airport #1 and making out with girls

Free wifi!
YES PLEASE! And thanks!
Of course I arrived first at the gate- about 2 minutes after the previous flight to upcoming-destination closed. Oh well. I'll wait 2 hours for my flight.
I opened my laptop and voila! Magic! the iiiiinternettttttsssss.
So sparkly and shiny.

(I had a topic for this post besides the airport free wifi, I promise).

Oh yes! I remember.
Last night I had to kiss a girl many many may many times....in rehearsal! NO I was not back on college ave. for a thursday night party THANK U VERY MUCH!

Yep, this show has a lead 'pants role' mezzo, and she/he is my love interest.

So here is how the day started- with a 3 hour music rehearsal in which I met my future makeout partner, and we did some detail work on music. Introduced myself and then sat down to sing, with exchanges only with the conductor.
Then for our evening rehearsal from 7-10 it was like- hey, we just met today. I don't know anything about you except that you drove here for 10 hours and arrived on Saturday and are staying down town...let's kiss.

And somehow, this is ALWAYS so interesting to the males in the room (except of course, the males that also prefer their partners 'in pants').

So we're going through the scene and it of course builds up- cheek, cheek, neck, lower on neck...and then...smack. Many many kisses on the lips. Like, a zillion times.
Is this weird for 'normal' people? Because I guess at this point, it's not weird for me at all.

I completely separate what I'm doing for my work, my character..and so there really is no thinking twice about it.
BUT the whole story last night reminded me of the FIRST time that I had to kiss a girl on stage--in a summer program where we were doing scenes from Cunning Little Vixen.

We didn't feel UN-comfortable with it, but for some reason for the entire rehearsal process the director had just SAID 'and then you kiss' and we kind of just air-kissed it and assumed, ok, it would work on the day of the show.
We didn't talk about it, it was just something that we both did..ie, NOT kissing until we HAD to kiss.
awww---young love! hahahaha.
Anyway, so then the day of the show arrived and our kiss was SO awkward! I mean, it was just a peck on the lips but since we had never "really" done it we smacked into each other kind of hard and kind of off center (mouth-wise) and there was nothing we could do about it at that point! (although the boys still all enjoyed it, as was reported to us after the performance).

And so I'm happy to report that this time we will be rehearsed, and from now on I have to choose wisely the flavors of lip gloss/chapstick that I wear to rehearsal!

And for many more opera kissing stories I always like to re-read this hilarious post over at Sessssstisssssimo :)

11 January, 2010

travel week

In addition to having already staged a majority of all of my scenes in current-opera (which means, having to review tons of choreography in my head before each rehearsal to know what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing...five, six, seven, eight), this week I have a concert away from current-opera that is an approved release - meaning, concert music in the middle of opera-production.
Followed by (one day later) another flight across the country so I can be a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding...and of course, do some more singing! WHY NOT?

Basically the ONLY thing I'm freaking out about--no, it's not the music, it's not the choreography, it's not missing anything here or being unprepared there--it's the AIRPLANE SCHEDULES!

WILL they be on time? WILL the weather cooperate? WILL I piss any of the involved parties off by having circumstances that are completely NOT under my own control (ie, weather related or mechanical related flight delays) for my upcoming 4 (well, if you include plane changes...6) flights in the next 7 days?

Oh please oh please oh please let the planes leave and arrive at exactly the times that my online itineraries say that they will right now.

k,thx, bye.

07 January, 2010

jazz hands

Let's just say that rehearsal day one was a whirlwind...and included a lot of dancing and timed steps and things that I should probably remember when I look at my score now, but since we didn't have time to write any of it down, the truth is I have no clue.
Fun, tiring, fun, and tiring...
But all in a good day's work!

06 January, 2010

bebe cray-zee

No, not the fashion brand.
I mean- baaaayyyybbbbiiiiiessss (insert high pitched squeal).

This has been a year that a LOT of people that I know have gotten preggers and are expecting, or have had babies.

Add the newest to the list: formerly known as The Concert, now blogging under BEBE's First Opera.

And here's the thing. Ok, some of my friends from high school who got married a few years ago just had kids, some relatives or friends of relatives...a FEW singers that I know are expecting or just had a baby...and I like reading the status updates about sleeping through the night (or lack there of), first smiles, laughs, cute pics, etc.- and of COURSE it's always something I've imagined for myself and just thought would somehow 'work'.

It's cute. It's lovely. It's family. It's exciting. It's scary...

Am I baby crazy? Not QUITE. But I do like them. And puppies.
So--really...either way. Both seem to like high pitched cooing.

05 January, 2010

the US

Ok people, I don't know what I did to make me the darling of delta airlines, but I got upgraded to business class- AGAIN! And this time there wasn't even a snowstorm or a re-routed flight to merit it! They just called me up all casual and stuff and were like- here is your new seat assignment ma'am- right before we boarded! Sweeeeeeet!

A. I feel SO spoiled
B. I think I gained 4 pounds on the flight- 4 meals, warm chocolate chip cookies! circulating toblerone bars and potato chips! Oh.No.
C. I could get USED to this!

In other 'am I ready' news?


I leave tomorrow for upcoming-gig!

STart rehearsal on THURSDAY! I mean, how much could we POSSIBLY do on Thursday that has to do with the 30 or so pages of dialogue I have to know? Hm.....I'm SURE not THAAAT much, right?
no, no...it's fine. I'll do a 'mental' run-through tonight, tomorrow on the plane, and tomorrow night before rehearsal-1!

Excited, and SUPER excited that my checked bag weighs 49.8 pounds!
Can you Handle THAT?!

02 January, 2010

back in wonderland

After an evening of googling deeper and deeper, then deciding to be proactive about something that I could actually be proactive about (updating my website, changing some other on-line things), I have come to the conclusion (that obviously I had before, but I needed to come to it again to clear my mind)--that everyone has their own path.
Here I am, attempting to make a comparison when none can easily be made.

Everyone has their own path. Their own connections. Their own experiences whether in school or in young artist programs or out of them. And that will lead to whatever shows they get and do.
If it's head-to-head in one audition situation and they 'won' and I 'lost'- so be it. But I can't compare someone's musical opportunity when I didn't even have the opportunity to audition 'head to head' for it. Right? That's what happened in their path, this is what happened in mine.

Calm. Zen. Blue breath in, red breath out..whatever.
I'm happy to be back in wonderland, happy for upcoming gigs, concerts, gigs, gigs, life-events, more gigs, more life events, more gigs. (and that about takes me through March of 2011).

What I do hope is that this February/March and April, when I'll be in Europe, I can do a kind of re-peat only BETTER of my European audition tour last year.
Of course, this time I won't be auditioning for agents over here. Hopefully just guest contracts for future seasons- all over Europe. And it will be the perfect season as well- seeing as how last February and March was very fruitful in terms of house auditions for me.
I really hope that can happen again, and that it will continue "my path"- wherever that may take me...

01 January, 2010

rabbit hole

Happy New Year!
I rang it in with too much white wine, red wine, grappa, champagne, and then some more red wine. But it was wonderful!

Then I fell into a googling rabbit hole, as it were.
Started with recent news of an important debut for a colleague of mine. Ended with me checking every single colleague that is about my age/my level and seeing whether we are still 'equal'.
Is that helpful to me at all? Well- we shall see.
I mean, until last year, we were all on the same career track, but with different experiences.
Some singing leading roles at B/C- heavy on the B-- houses and high profile concerts
Some singing leads in B/C houses- heavy on the C, still doing summer programs, but high profile ones with tiny roles or tiny programs with big roles.
Some Maybe singing tiny roles at A houses.
In voice competitions, I consider myself out of the game already, so a few gals definitely have a leg up, but I'm very much over that part of singing...and although I do know you can get cash and get heard by people that may have a say in 'future things' in your career--it's not worth the crappy judging and the favoritism- mostly.

Some other girls were on the A-house level, but singing as young artists. This year, they're singing as principal artists, but in what I would consider still small roles, and covering important big roles.
Some girls went to big-named-important NYC schools for 6 years, sounded great and made all the right connections through teachers and coaches, guest conductors and directors, and basically just slid into a nyc-based career with high-level management.

And somewhere in there I fit in. Leading roles in B/C houses, small roles in A houses, out of the young artist game, but quite a few important roles on the resume sung at important places (whether as a young artist or not). And now, international credits.

Who can tell who is doing better and why? And does it REALLY matter in the end?
Some have extremely high-level international agents- and so, how can I compete with someone making their XYZ international house Opera debut, when I haven't even had a chance to audition for said company?

Some have 'boutique' agents--I see their names and faces all the time, and yes, they get some roles I want, and I get some roles they want. We all have about the same number of productions per year--they have their 'hometown favorite' opera house...maybe I kind of do have mine as well (starting next year, I hope).

Should I be comparing? I can't compare vocally. We sing the same repertoire and all sound completely different on it. Matter of taste and preference, I suppose.

So today I took a look at my colleagues, and in effect, my competition.
What do I need to do better? What do I need to do MUCH better? And what am I already doing really well?

Let's start with the good. I think my track record at companies so far that want to hire me back/are pleased with my work/know that they get what they pay for with me--is really good. Considering my previous work, my upcoming contracts, etc.
I also think my 'first impression' rate is pretty good, as I have new work coming my way from 'one time' auditions.

What do I need to do better? and what do I need to do MUCH better?

And I'm not talking vocally here...that is always being worked on...improved, added repertoire, etc.
Ok, PHYSICALLY--even though I am small and a totally acceptable size for stage, a FEW of these girls are NATURALLY stick-like. I could NEVER be stick-like, but again, maybe I could get a bit more toned...just to see if that makes a difference...although losing 7 pounds due to swine flu already put me well on my way to being an actual 'number' size smaller which is always fun.

And then--is it all about connections?
SHOULD I jump back into these competitions that I loathe- JUST in case one of the judges has some say somewhere and decides to throw something important my way (ie, a cover at an A-house that then miraculously gets to make a last minute debut?)

I got lucky with contracts for next season, despite having done SO few auditions in NYC this year (because of performances abroad)..but how long can that continue--and WILL it?

There is no 'worrying' here. It's just considerations and strategies. About where I am. About names of up and coming singers who were my colleagues in young artist programs a few years ago- now having pretty important agents and beginning to sing nationally and internationally at a very high level.
And the question is- if I had that opportunity- ie, to sing for the ADs at these high levels (because, I'm not assuming that jobs just magically land in your lap if you're with CAMI--although I really don't know)-- WOULD I get the job?

That is all for now, although there is much more to think about...and google, I'm sure.