30 September, 2010

'konzept'- or, whatever the French version of that is...

Ok, I can't keep it in any longer, and so I must blog.
I have sung this role before, people.
Yes, I have only sung it 4 TIMES before (4 productions, I mean...of course last year I sang this role for 9 performances, and still have a whole other production coming up in January), but I've still sung it. In a "konzept" version, in a stand and sing version, in a 'come up from a fiery mountain beneath the stage trap door' version, and in a 'normal, enter from wings, yell at pamina, exit from wings' version.

And my question is, simply... how many different ways can you freak a Koenigin out right before she has to sing DER HOELLE RACHE?!
The ONE aria in the show that EVERYONE knows? and the REASON that we get hired for the role? ie- the PERFECT F's!?
Really? You want me to enter on a revolving what? And go into what trap door halfway through the aria?
With dancers underneath me making noise with props that they have to use DURING the aria?
Oh- awesome, because I just thought that you wanted me to sing it without feeling like I have to throw up.
That would be nice.

OK, deeeeep cleaaaannnnssssing breaths.
Really, this will NOT be a problem for opening night (which is in 14 days). It will NOT.
But RIGHT NOW, I have to 'travel' onto the stage for the entire dialogue on a RAKED revolving prop that is NOT being pushed smoothly and mechanically, but by people- INSIDE, that have to get their mark right on stage, while INSIDE the prop. And when they DON"T get it onstage right, They futz with it. And push it. And each one of those little pushes, while I'm standing up on top of the dang thing, makes me wobble- in my FOUR INCH HEELS and knee-baring costume. I can't even take a 'man stance' to plant myself because I have to be all dainty-like with my legs on it.

Then, I have to say all of the dialogue while they prop 'finds it's mark' and adjusts, WHILE walking around on said rotating THING. THEN, since there are no BRAKES on said prop, every time I take a step forward, backward or sideways, it comes WITH me a bit.
YEP. And that's how I get to sing Der Hoelle Rache.

Oh, and then I have to go in a trap door in the middle of the aria. And then sing the rest of it from HALFWAY in the trap.

I'm not saying that the concept isn't good..actually, it's QUITE a good idea. But what has taken over this week is the need for a perfect 'picture' to emerge onstage with the props and dancers and acrobatics that the concept has in mind, and it is currently pitting itself against Mozart. And to that, I say- Mozart was a genius. Don't mess with him.

24 September, 2010

week one review

1 opera sing through on day 1 (3 hours)
1 rehearsal to stage act 1 aria (took 20 minutes, but I was called for 3 hours)
1 rehearsal to stage act 2 aria (took 25 minutes with dialogue- called for one hour)
1 rehearsal with maestro (1 hr)
1 costume fitting (was called at 11, didn't get fitted until 1:30, that took 20 minutes).

Jogging- about 40 minutes, but probably 15-20 of that was walking.
Yoga- 40 minutes
situps- did 50 each on three separate evenings
pushups 10

What do people DO in their free time?
Yes, I like reading. Too bad I have no English books with me here..but I WILL find an english bookstore and buy one. Even though I hate buying books. Because I read very quickly and then rarely re-read.

I MAY have actually been online from 10am today until 6pm.

With a break for breakfast and lunch.

LET me just tell you some of the things I did.

Read the ENTIRE new york times. Yes, every article. Actually, the FRONT PAGE changed three times while I was doing so.

Check email accounts, check fb account..but ok, that didn't take too long.

Found some kind of SWEEPSTAKES website where if you have a fake email that you don't check and don't mind getting tons of spam, tells you what you can win THIS week if you 'sign up' on outside websites. Did that for about 30 minutes. Hey, I'm not passing up a free ipad or 5000 dollar shopping spree. Likelihood that I'll actually win ANYTHING- odds are one in over 4 million for most of them. Awesome.

Read about a photo contest that I WOULD like to enter except that the photo I want to enter is on my external hard drive...at HOME.

Read camera reviews.
Read camera BAG reviews.

Read eco-BABY CRIB and eco-BABY STROLLER reviews (don't ask me how I got sucked into that one..it started out as a google search for all natural shampoo with no chemicals, dyes, etc., I promise).

WHAT is going on?
Yes, it's rainy and gray. I've seen from the OUTSIDE most of the facades that this old European city has to offer. It's not a touristy day for me, nor do I like being touristy by myself.

So. I need something to do.
IF I was at home, I'd have someone coming home right about now...someone who I would have spent at least an hour today figuring out what meal to cook for dinner, what we would do later on in the evening, etc.
So- there's another 2 hours of my day that would have been different. Oh yes, and shopping for said dinner.

Yes, I tidied up the studio. Yesterday I practiced entire future-modern-opera. There IS still a lot of work to be done on it, but I can only take it in little pieces until it's there.
I'm still waiting to hear about upcoming-french-opera's TRANSLATION edition, so it's kind of pointless to practice that in French, since when I sing it in English it will feel completely different in my mouth. Although I did listen to it in its entirety yesterday as well.

What else?

I am not about to start knitting!

21 September, 2010

back in the swing of things

Singing Koenigin again. New ideas, new production, new colleagues, new city...but what is NOT new, is that most of this opera, I have nada to do.
And do you think that I use my time wisely? work out? learn other music in the meantime?
Well, to give you a hint, today during my 2 hr. dinner break I was online.

But it was because I knew the call tonight was ambitious.
3 hours to stage everything INCLUDING queen's first aria? I THINK NOT! And I knew best since I just did this show!
Indeed, I did nothing but watch (and pay attention to my OTHER score for upcoming-modern-piece) until 9pm, staged my aria from 9-9:20 because they saw me there the whole time and I guess realized the timing error, and then went BACK to do the dialogue before the aria with the 3 ladies and papageno/tamino.

Fine for me, since I had other stuff to do.
TOmorrow- nothing but a costume fitting.
Thursday- no rehearsal until 4:30.
It's strange that this is my 'work', but I know the real measure of my time will be the reaction when we are onstage.
Until then, I AM trying to be active whether it's yoga or jogging or situps, and trying NOT to eat too much cheese, butter and baguettes (ooops).

19 September, 2010

first day of school

Tomorrow is the first day of rehearsal.
Kind of like the first day of school.
Have to think about the outfit, have to make sure I have all the music and text with me.
Need to know where I'm going.
Who will my new friends be.
Will the cast be nice
Will the director and conductor like me...

oh, back to school, back to school....

14 September, 2010


had a pretty important one today.
Sang Zerb and was asked for Oscar.
Both felt lovely as usual.
Have my backstage ipod recording of both that I briefly listened to upon arriving home, just to make sure that it sounded as good as it felt.
It did.
BUUUUUT...over the past year, after however many auditions I've done, however 'normal' feeling it seems to me ... not being nervous and all, offering mostly the same repertoire of about 5-10 pieces that I circulate and love, it STILL gets to me that the German panel is ice-cold.
Especially here in Dland. I mean..PERK UP or something! Why the poker face, dudes?
If you enjoy it, enjoy it...write down your little scribbly notes as fast as you can...ANYTHING? no acknowledgment that I'm up here workin' my tail off whatsoever.

And you know, this IS one thing I miss about US auditions. As much as it's a huge cattle call in New York, at least you're in a room where you are 20 feet away from the auditioner and can VISIBLY see whether they like you or not. IMMEDIATELY. If they're into it, I get more into it! If they are over it, I will try EVEN harder to do something that they like...to elicit SOME kind of response via body language or soooomething.

Of course, it doesn't always happen..but the fact that you are closer makes small talk easier, makes these body language moves easier to pick up on, and generally leaves me (after most of my US auditions) in a SUPER good mood, having KNOWN that I rocked it vocally and dramatically for that DAY- no matter what the casting results are.

But here--it's like stone-faced and far away. No movement. Nothing but thank you, and then moving on to the next singer.

And even though I have Proof! (ok, iphone recording backstage loud reverb and you can hear the other singer humming under his breath towards the end of my second piece)...it just all seems like a bummer when you have NO idea whether they liked you or not....even though you DO know that you did an awesome job singing.

So yea, I'm not worried about getting feedback saying- ooooh, she cracked, she was sharp, she was flat, she ..bla bla bla.. because I know that didn't happen.

But SOME feedback would be nice. And after the immovable faces and bodies of the panel today, no questions, just thank you...and the request to hear my shortest aria after beginning with the END of Zerb (ok, it DOES make sense because they're doing Ballo in a few years, but still...there were plenty of other choices, including Queen, that were short), makes me wonder-- were they total haters? and if so, then WHY?

And, will I find out? Or will this audition go down as yet another one of those black holes-- no further contact or comments?

Oh, questions, questions. To put it another way, I came offstage feeling that I sang really really well, and then that feeling deteriorated throughout the day as I analyzed THEIR non-reactions and THEIR choice of a second piece instead of any one of my other crazy high or crazy hard pieces.
Yes, I realize this is neurotic behavior. And that it shouldn't have 'ruined' the rest of my day (meaning, no musical work, I ate some ramen noodles to warm me up, sat in the dark on the couch, wrote some emails, and was basically a waste of space until 8pm tonight), and I AM going to get up right now, put my jogging clothes on and go OUT of the house, as I had intended to do around 2pm today.

But you know what? For not being a crazy singer, this little BIT of crazy today showed me how some other people spend each and every audition they do.
So, ok, I nitpicked one audition. In a year.
Now back to your regularly scheduled coloratura filled with confidence and the F-you mentality about auditions.

13 September, 2010

getting ready...

to kick some booty.

12 September, 2010

every year...

Every year, this time of year...I read wall posts and status updates from singer friends on facebook, I see the yaptracker announcements, and my stomach starts to turn.
Why? Because, as a professional artist since 2006 with my last RAP and YAP that year, yes, the same year I got my masters degree...I am supposed to be DONE with this game.
And then I see--
Friends who are WELL past my age (I'm talking 3-6 years here) auditioning as young artists!
And I start to think, wouldn't it be nice to crawl back into the cozy nest of being an apprentice somewhere for a year, being paid to have lessons and coachings and cover roles, ...and just...being PAID all year?
Of course, yes, what I'm making this year about adds up plus some more to what the salary would be from a BIG company that happens to have its finals this weekend which I HAPPENED to be invited to and turned down.

Turned down because I DID have work through 2011...when they begin the program.
But nonetheless, turned down...and now when I see what singers they ARE hearing...and see that we've done the same programs, that they are older, and I don't understand why they are singing for the program or why that program would invite a professional singer there...
I just don't get it...
and it puts me on edge.

On edge because of auditions coming up for MAINSTAGE stuff that I want to obviously rock, but with always the question lurking in the back of my mind--SHOULD I have flown back and done it? WOULD I have been able to move to this place for a year, be a young artist, and would it have somehow made my career BETTER, even though it would be taking a step BACKWARDS for a year? (Although, the association with this big house is worth a LOT)...

I just don't know. It's not for me to know, I suppose, because I am not there. I don't know if they have a girl 'my type' singing there today.. 2 others that I know approach my rep, but not as high, and a bit more lyric...

At any rate, I have to really try and stop thinking about it despite being SO SO curious if they take a 'me'- meaning, I would have had a chance, had I gone. Maybe. Bla.

I just practiced. It was awesome.
I won't start with the "if I can sing like THIS on THAT day" stuff, but really...
I felt really good about today, sang through all of the rep, had FUN and wasn't thinking about anything but just putting it all out there...
And that's when it works.
I have to get past all the 'crazy' around me...career wise and business wise, even though I KNOW all about it. Take it in, forget about it, and keep on doing what I know I do best.

10 September, 2010


Yes, I'm back on the wagon .... jogging.
I have written before how much I hate it. Dislike is not strong enough of a word for running when there is no bear chasing me, or when I'm not chasing down an ice cream cart (ok, ok, or the tram to the city).

But since I'm leaving town next week and I don't think there is any bikram yoga in the small city where I'll be, I decided to download the itunes app for couch to 5k...
Of course, I'm ALREADY cheating (well, not cheating, just getting ahead of myself), as you are only supposed to do it three times a week and I am trying to do it daily..
but maybe I'll just add more days of the same level instead of try to move up an intensity level every 3 days.
Sure, that seems like a good idea.

So the thing is- I actually think I jog BETTER when I'm not waiting every 60 to 90 seconds for the little bell to ring and a voice to tell me to switch from jogging to walking...
When I was jogging a BIT last month I could just go, and whenever I felt a cramp in my side (this is really the only thing that slows me down or stops me completely and it doesn't matter whether I eat, don't eat, drink, don't drink, stretch, dont stretch...it still happens every time. Right hand ribcage), I would slow down and walk for a bit.

And in this program I find myself more tired sometimes because I'm just wondering WHEN I get to WALK again!
But I am still giving it a chance.
Just hope the weather holds out for about another 5 weeks so that maybe just maybe at the very end of this all I can say that I've accomplished this task...and maybe just maybe join my husband on HIS jogs (right now he goes too fast and too far for me)...
and of course, bottom line is to remain fit.
After these THREE weddings and a week of cold temperatures, I'm up a kilo.
This is NOT bad at all, just 2.2 pounds..but it doesn't help that when it's cold I crave toast, butter...you know, warm things that probably increase the size of my caboose.

Practicing yesterday was short and sweet. Felt good at the end. Throat is all back to normal now after 2 days of being on the quiet side.
Will warm up tomorrow at 11am- around the time I'll be warming up when I have the REAL thing next week.

09 September, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

Home sweet home.
At least for the next 10 days.
After that, I'll be on the road again, but a bit closer to home than usual.
Next-gig is just ONE lil' EU country over! And being 3 hours away sounds GREAT to me, compared with an 8 hour international flight and 6 hour time zone away.

Haven't tried to practice yet because i've been TALKING and laughing and have such a ball for the past week that my voice still feels buuuustedly dry (oh yea, and the two airplanes in 5 days)...BUT today may just be the day.

It's rainy and gray and COLD and all I've been doing is writing thank you notes and tracking down every account I have ever opened to see how much red tape they will put me through to legally change my name on the account.

Time to sing.

I hope.

01 September, 2010

on the road again...

just can't WAIT to get on the road again!!

Beeecause...it's to my NEXT (and FINAL) wedding!
Leaving for the US tomorrow...will get a week back in 'civilization' (and, by definition, civilization includes listerine that does NOT cost 5 euros!)
I have a list of things that I will be bringing back, as well as that winter suitcase that I left packed in APRIL and now needs to return home to Deutschland with me.

Next gig starts in 19 days! WHAT?!
At least this time it's on the same continent and only 3 hrs away from my 'home'.