30 January, 2011

rehearsal day 2

We've had two good days here so far.
As a departure from the norm, we did not have a sing-through of the piece on day 1.
Since 2 of us arrived from out of town and are singing the 2 leads, we had a musical rehearsal on our duets and arias yesterday, then staged our Act I duet, and today we did a rewind, staged some of Act I with another character..and TOMORROW is our sing through!
So I've already been running around with these people for 10 hours over the past two days..and tomorrow we will get to really hear the stuff.

My impressions so far-
It's great to be back. I know the rehearsal space (super live), I know the town (although I still had to ask for directions to the supermarket), I feel comfortable with this cast since I know mostly all of them already, as well as the direction.
What's not the BEST right now- is that we're being 'plugged in' to a production that has already been done. Both the conductor and director have done it together, actually, so before I even go to make a musical turn or impulse, that has sometimes been pre-emptively curtailed because of what they did 'last time'.
That's not to say that I have to sing in the exact same way.
But this piece has a LOT of room for cadenzas, playing with space around recits, musical moments and comedic timing...and, when you're following something that's already been laid out and has 'worked', you don't really get as much say..or rather, I can't motivate as much musically, since it has already been 'worked out' on stage.
So my goal for this staging, even though it doesn't get to be 'mine', is to MAKE it mine.
Of course, I've done productions before where I get 'plugged in', or that are being repeated with a different cast, etc. It has never been something that has gotten in my way, perhaps because of the musical style of the pieces I've done before- Mozart, and Verdi- with no dialogue.
So this time even though I was able to learn it 'freely', I have to play within the lines.
I think I'm up for the challenge.

29 January, 2011

flying tidbits

On my first flight of 9.5 hours:

1. Two women that spoke neither English nor German. Sitting in the Bulkhead seats. Don't put any of their things in the overhead bins. REALLY? Have you NEVER flown before? Did you not listen to ANY of the announcements saying that you can't have ANYTHING on the floor in bulkhead seats?

2. Then they try and fail at operating the touch screen tv's. They can't turn it on. They can't choose a movie. They finally DO choose a movie and are completely freaked out that it STOPS and says "PA announcement" when...THERE IS A PA ANNOUNCEMENT!
In addition, since they speak neither English nor German, they decide it would be awesome to share headphones, listen with one in each woman's ear and proceed to talk REALLY loudly to each other since they are not aware of how loud they are being...with half a movie in their other ear.

3. Then they can't figure out how to turn the reading light off. (It's done from the movie screen..which obviously they can't read in English or German...but apparently it was also easy to misinterpret that big LIGHT BULB that they saw on the screen).

4. People, when the gate attendants specifically ask that NOTHING except for larger carry-ons be placed in the overhead bins, and specifically say no jackets, small purses, etc since the flight is sold out, WHY is the first thing that needs space up there suddenly your HAT that can't be crushed and your poofy winter JACKET?

5. Also, my friends, getting up to go to the bathroom when you see any type of food or drink cart looming in the galley-- just not a good idea.
You look like an idiot standing behind them while they ask me what I want to drink. And yea- it was YOU-- lady in the bulkhead seats!!

6. Windows. When you are flying West, INTO the morning (ie takeoff 9:45 am but in the US it's only 2:45am), put your FRIKKING windowshades down! We all know how CRAPPY it is going to feel to land in Atlanta at noon having had no sleep at all!
But here you are, nose pressed against the window with the shade WIDE OPEN! Yes, all of those clouds are mighty pretty. But that sun glaring into everyone ELSE'S eyes for the entire flight and bouncing off tv screens..not so cool.

I was so tired from not having slept because of the piercing LIGHT and the two chatterboxes in front of me in the first flight, that flight #2 (sold out and I couldn't get my upgrade) was a blur. I think I fell asleep before we even left the gate.

It is now 11:22, I'm fighting to stay awake just a bit longer.
First rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.

27 January, 2011

staying in the game

I've never been one to rest on my laurels.
Never been satisfied knowing what I'm doing just THIS season and half of next.
Always online, looking for the next production that is still unlisted.
Mostly checking TENOR websites since those guys are booked so early!
And I've written about it before, but I'm feeling it again-- mostly from recent FB postings and update emails I've received from colleagues.
Well, direct competition colleagues, I guess- yes, 2 coloraturas CAN be friends, but when it comes down to jobs and auditions.. it can get ... competitive.
The thing is- I feel like I'm not really IN the game at all this year.
It's ironic, but when you ARE working, you have no time to audition.
I didn't go to NYC at all this year... not one audition.
I was working until mid-November, and then had a few auditions in Europe.
And now, seeing these postings and upcoming jobs and upcoming auditions-- I just wonder... where I am in this whole track.
Yes, I have jobs until January 2012. This is a great thing. They are GOOD jobs.
But I also know what's going on at a 'certain' Warm-part-of-Europe house in 2013...and how it will be a co-production of what I auditioned for at a "CERTAIN US HOUSE" last year...
And I also know who is doing Flutes and Ariadnes and Hoffmanns and Candides....
So how do you stay focused on the task at hand instead of auditions that I can't really control?
Or SHOULD I be trying to focus on getting auditions? Well, that is, letting my agent know that I've found certain information and wondering about whether THEY know if it has been cast or not?
Most people (who are more sane and less googlicious than I am), would let their agents do the work here. It is their job, and THEY get paid if they get the artist and audition and if the artist gets the job.
I understand that, but there is also so much that I simply want to know on my own, and do find out through the interwebs. And it's hard to know what do to, if anything, with that information.
I mean, I could literally start an excel chart of all the upcoming shows that I have found in future seasons that I'm not SURE have been cast yet, but all other internet trails lead to NO, and therefore- could I audition there? Well, why not?

Sigh...of course, the better way to spend my time (seeing as how it's 1am and my flight to next-opera leaves at 9:45 am tomorrow...today) is to finish packing my suitcase, close it, weigh it and make sure I come in under 50 pounds, and just relax and try to think about the fun of next-show.

On The Road 2011- take 2.

26 January, 2011

HOME! (for four days)

The last matinee was great, even though it was a matinee :)

I made it to the airport with SO much time that it was silly of me to have anxiety dreams about missing my flights for 2 nights in a row before the day of the flight.
There was NO one at the bag check-in line (I already had my boarding pass) and there was NO one at security. That means I got to eat an airport dinner, buy some sour patch kids for the flight (eaten at the Amsterdam airport around 10am the next day), and have plenty of time before boarding began.

And yet another bonus: No one on the plane! I got my two seater row to myself so I could kinda sleep/stretch out, the BABY in the middle aisle next to me was quiet for the entire flight, and they even played the Facebook movie, which I hadn't seen yet.

Arriving at home- the best feeling ever.
Today, with just two more full days here INCLUDING today-- not so much the best feeling...since, of course, I want to stay longer.

However, I must leave, or to use upcoming-opera lingo: 'il faut partir'!!

I will be a lot busier in this next production.
Character is on stage nearly the whole opera, a lot of physical comedy and movement to conquer, a lot of dialogue to make sense of with timing, and I am also doing my duty as an outreach artist- having agreed to visit some schools and talk about my experiences and sing for them a bit.
Still, it can't be so much more than 6 hours a day.
Which leaves time for NEXT-opera, and all those songs for all those competitions that I entered which I listed in my repertoire that I haven't sung since my MM recital.

But for now- relaxing, repacking, and waiting for 5pm and a night on the town!

23 January, 2011

one more for the win!

Last show today- it's a matinee. We've had 4 in a row and to top it all off, I have to warm up my voice before noon. Gioia :)

But it's fine. All the notes are there, and even some past the F, so that's never a problem. I went to bed early (2am) last night, shocking...I know...especially after the night of a show when I'm usually very hyper.

So I did get enough sleep. I packed my bags for my quick escape to the airport immediately after the show ends ::

4:59 show ends 5:03pm I'm out of makeup and we're off ..my flight leaves at 7:30pm..and yes, it's international and yes, I'm checking bags...and YES, I've dealt with the fact that I'll probably be the jerk cutting you all in the baggage and security line because I'm about to miss my flight..thanks

What can I say? This has been a FUN and SHORT show-- short being the word I like most about it, since I'm not too homesick, I didn't pack too much stuff, I felt like I was ok living in a hotel room for 21 days, and it was just the perfect amount of time to put the show up and feel super prepared for it.

Usually productions are just about 4 weeks plus or minus a day or two. Sometimes just under 4.
Either way..for some reason 20 feels very different from 28.

I'm excited for the last show and just as excited for my mad dash to the airport, trip home for FOUR days, and then...next show!

22 January, 2011

#2 down

A great show again.
I was feeling sluggish this morning, but a hot steamy shower a few hours before call time fixed that right up.
Felt vocally free and loose.
Was kind of annoyed to have to be singing this role in (warning, TMI)" 'girly time' (YES, there, I've said it again...)...
But everything was easy breezy.
Even went jogging for 30 minutes at the gym today which felt really good.
I LOVE that I can JOG for 30 minutes without stopping!
Ok, it's still super slow, but I don't care! I don't get wheezy or side stitches or anything...
if anything, it's just a tad boring and there has to be something mildly amusing on TV while I'm doing it.
TWO MORE and then HOME.

21 January, 2011

#1 down

So far so good! Felt good about it today even with the tiredness from this morning.
Got some energy, had a snack bar, read some magazines backstage, totally delivered the arias and the intensity in a way that I wanted to, and already got positive review#1 (NOT that I read or care about reviews...ok, I read them...but I don't care about them except to put the good press into my website).

3 more to go!

20 January, 2011

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

In true orchestral rehearsal fashion, we had a dress rehearsal..on the same day as the show.
which means, I woke up at 8am. And then got into full costume and full makeup. And then marked the show. And then was tired. And now am still tired. And it's 4pm. And at 5:20ishpm, I will get out of my bed, take a shower, and need to warm up. So I can be at the theater at 6:40ishpm.

Everything will be fine. Once I get 40 minutes of shut-eye and then start my day over again.

14 January, 2011

t minus 6 days...

Opening night in 6 days.
Although we haven't had orchestra or full costumes, everything seems to be going smoothly so far.
I'm excited to perform with this AWESOME orchestra, cool costumes and concept, and basically have another gig that I'm feeling totally prepared and comfortable for.

Besides that, the jogging 30 minutes every other day has been good, the colleagues are fun, the costumes are cool, and I'm even making very good progress on upcoming-opera (I had better since it starts in 2 weeks!)

06 January, 2011

rehearsal update

After our first day of musical rehearsal (approximately 3 hours of music in which I had about 10 minutes of singing), my schedule was as follows: Tuesday, no rehearsal.
Wednesday, called from 1-2:30 to run through act I (even though I hadn't been staged into act I yet)...ended up being told where to enter, stand, exit, not have to sing, and get to leave after 11 minutes.

The thing is, I DO enjoy being at rehearsals.
What do I do when I'm NOT there?
I have gone to the gym every day. Yes, my 20 minutes on the elliptical the first day turned into 35 in just three days, so now I think I'm back on track and close to where I was last year with the 40 minute OR 1.5-2 mile workout per day, so that's pretty good. Let's see if I can keep it up for the month.
There are a LOT of channels on the television that I'm not used to having.
So that's on. A lot. More than I'd like to admit.
BUT yesterday I had the GENIUS idea of MUTING the tv during commercials and doing 'memorization runs' of the words to next-opera.
Actually, it kind of worked.
Today-- well I've been awake since 7:30am, it's now 8:45 (email/facebook/nytimes..blog).
I'm called for Act 2 for about an hour later this afternoon.
My morning? When it actually starts it will include the gym...

03 January, 2011

well HELLOOO there 2011 :)

I'm at current-gig in currently very COLD and SNOWY climate.
Yet another queen, which means, yet again, that I have PLENTY o' time ...
and how will I use my time?
Will I learn how to knit from a youtube video? (casting on I watched twice, casting off and knitting I watched once)
Or will I learn the WORDS to next-opera? and the words AND music to next-next-opera?

Or will I take advantage of the FULL gym that is at this hotel? And the sauna and jacuzzi?

Well, I arrived yesterday at 6pm, completely exhausted and jet-lagged.
I promptly unpacked (kinda), went to the gym and did the elliptical machine for TWENTY minutes (this is epic people..I think the last time I REALLY exercised was before my wedding....that would be September), and proceeded to fall asleep around 9:45pm (7 hour time difference so I had a valiant effort).
I woke up at 5am, watched three hours of "Say yes to the dress" (don't judge), and went to the supermarket at 8:30am to get the FEW things that can fit in my minifridge, and some other staples like fruits, peanut butter, and granola bars.

First rehearsal today went very well. It was a musical rehearsal in the room.
I have some new dialogue (in English)- but it's only two lines compared to the half a page of German that I needed to memorize for last time, so I'll be fine by the time we get to staging that scene.

I already had a costume fitting today and I'm wearing a black bustier, fishnets, and a jacket/dress in dark red/black velvet. HOT... I must say- thank you for updating queen of the night and not making me have a silver tiara with stars on it and bedazzled dagger!

Things that I should do that I can't consider resolutions:
1. lose the 7 pounds that I have gained in the last 3 weeks which I blame on airplane food, the gluttony of a wedding weekend (if you EVER get a chance to eat (for free) at the 4 seasons for brunch in LA- DO IT! there are ROOMFULLS of food), followed by a vacation in hawaii.
2. MEMORIZE english for next-show. Including dialogue. (I know Act I already).
3. Work on next-next show.

Things that I CAN consider resolutions:
1. Try to be healthier ALL the time rather than just in small spurts when I have gyms available or nice weather for bike-riding.

2. Try to be more zen about the fact that I'm a professional musician.
-This means I don't talk on the phone a lot to friends that live in the US. Even when I'm in the US. Mostly, I am updated about people's lives through facebook...the occasional gchat and email...
It's easy for me to operate this way- somehow detached, but not completely. And I don't love it. I'd like to strengthen the friendships that mean more to me than just a status update

-This means I don't get to buy a yearly pass for Bikram yoga since I work out of the country for 6 months a year at least.

-This means that most of my extended family, and everyone that knows me or meets me pretty much ONLY asks me questions having to do with my schedule, where I'm singing, where I WILL sing, and whether they will hear me at the MET one day.
They ask because my 'job' is more interesting than most jobs. But a lot of times I wonder what they would ask me about if this WASN'T my job.
WOULD there be anything to talk about?

-This means that all of the googling, trying to figure out schedules, following singers and manager websites, the hiring and firing, the changes of the guard, and everything that has to do with the 'business' that I don't have control over-- I need to be able to add to my arsenal of knowledge and balance that out with the actual opportunities that I can make for myself or that my managers can make for me.
There is a LOT of information out there. Sometimes I know why certain people are in certain places, and where there are openings for me. Sometimes I don't. And I need to be more ok with that.

-This means that I would like to focus on ME and my product. Yes, product. It's the voice, the look, the attitude, and THEN who can work for me and get that out there.
I'd really like to find another set of trusted ears abroad. I'd love to do some intense work like they did in the 'good old days', where you sing for your teacher every day or every other day. And if not for a teacher, then a coach. And if not for a coach (since I don't have the dough for coachings every day) then for MYSELF.
Practicing my repertoire more often and adding new and interesting pieces to it.

I'd like to be more zen about the fact that I do love what I do, but mostly, it's an open-ended gig...like riding a wave and you're not quite sure whether you'll catch one, how far you'll ride it, or when the next big one will come along (yes, I took surfing lessons in Hawaii).
I don't think I'll fall OFF the board. I believe that technique and experience has gotten me far enough that I will stay on. I'd just like to start seeing a pattern of frequent waves. Big waves. And to make a splash.