26 February, 2011

one more!!

Last night's audience was the BEST so far!
So good that for MANY of our funny lines and funny trios and general funny moments, they laughed and clapped for SO long that we had to prolong our 'buttons' and freezes!
Such a fun show when the audience is so vocal :)

At first, I wasn't feeling it so much yesterday. It was gloomy and gray and I was just a bit 'bla' about the day...but then I pulled it together, got some spicy salmon sushi, ate some pineapple, got into makeup and then...it was showtime.

Again, as soon as I was ready for my 'dramatic' first entrance, I felt those feelings again...the feelings of doing something I absolutely LOVE. Of doing something that I'm absolutely privileged to do. And thankful to be able to do. And from then, it was smiles and laughter for the next three hours...followed by a late night dinner with some of the cast and chorus and a night that ended once again, energy-filled as usual (insomnia until 3am).

Tomorrow is our last show. One more for the win!

24 February, 2011

halfway there

Second show went really well. It felt SO much more relaxed than the first one.
My heart always beats just a bit faster right before my first entrance, but it is immediately calmed by the laughter of the actual physical entrance, and then- we were off.
Two more shows left...today was a snowday. Wanted to get out and about the city- this usually happens in my last few days of a gig...after working so hard and having no time when I finally have a day off in between shows I actually have time to travel and sight-see a bit. But those plans were thwarted by the icy rain and then snow which continues to fall this evening.

Ah well.

March will be devoted to taxes (I already have the major list of deductions, etc- just waiting to receive all of the forms in the mail from previous-gigs), making sure I know next-opera...22 days away...aaaand preparing for a competition that I'll be doing in May. It's "kind of a big deal" according to some.
I don't know whether that means it is at all political or not (as, frankly, most of them end up being)...but hey, I'll give it a shot.

I have to brush up some lieder, a few arias that aren't in my 'normal' every day package, and an oratorio or two, but it should go smoothly.

Other than that, will try to get back into Bikram which I've been away from for WAY too long at this point (umm, can we say July?!?!) Yea---but hey! I really haven't been home for THAT long..since then! So don't judge.

The whole healthy-food eating kick was a no-go in this month of bbq, hotel free breakfasts and general stress which led to late-night eating of sour patch kids and chocolate from opening night...yeaaa...

Ok, now I'm just babbling. There are a few other odds and ends that I've been thinking about, but that is all for tonight.

20 February, 2011


Hurray! What a great opening night.
The play-by-play as far as I can remember:
Warmed up with only lip trills around 2pm in a hot shower.
Ate pineapple throughout the day, ginger, seaweed salad, banana, then met the parents for a bbq dinner (during which I nibbled on some grilled chicken out of the sandwich I ordered and wrapped up the rest for POST show).
Got to the theater around 6pm to leave the goodies and treats for the rest of the cast,
makeup/hair call at 6:30.
At 7pm I really started vocalizing. Easy scales, sirens, one aria, check that the high G is there, and then start doing a speed-through of scenes/words at seed-voice.

Curtain at 8pm, and by 8:20 I have my first entrance.
Yes, my heart was beating fast. But only because of my entrance (coming down a raked path about 45 degree angle hanging on with one hand to the back of a cart being dragged by another person...yea....)
And from then on it was really smooth sailing. Really.
The show is so high-energy that there is no TIME to stop and think about whether I'm nervous.
The first duet and aria were paced well, the love duet was maybe the best it's ever been, end of Act I aria to finale was 'touching' where it needed to be.
And through it all I felt vocally and dramatically like I was really involved and giving it everything.
Act II the stakes were raised-- it's the 'comedy' act with a lot more action than plot, and the audience even seemed to have a higher level of energy.
First scene- hilarious and fun. Next slow aria to fast return aria- took more time to shape my cadenzas and I think that really made a difference in the delivery- more heartfelt AND fun, and then I was home free- the finale and one little arietta and THE END!

So far, great feedback all around...
Here's hoping for more growth, relaxation, and fun in the next three performances.
But first, 3 days off.

19 February, 2011

day of the show, y'all

I fell asleep around midnight.
I woke up for the first time around 6am for a second.
Then 8am.
Then slept until 10ish...
Not too bad.
I do feel refreshed and good.
I had super weird dreams, interspersed with those 30 minutes of being awake every once in a while in the early morning during which I went through my words in my head.
Ahhh- crazy show days.

My schedule for today will involve-- some oatmeal- possibly in the next 10 minutes.
Some pineapple (if it's not too acidic already- I bought it 5 days ago).

Some stretching/yoga type things on my hotel room rug for a while just to wake my body up.

Going out in search of goodies for opening night treats (I already wrote the notes).

Warming up around...2/3pm lightly to make sure everything is there.

Reporting to the theater at 6:30.

With MAYBE an early dinner thrown in since my parents are arriving in town around noon today. But they have learned that the day of the show is not the day for them to see me and hang out... too much noise, talking, etc...
Day AFTER- I'm all theirs.

So far, so good. Just have to get off of this couch and do said things that I've listed above.

17 February, 2011

1,000 !!

Hey! My last post was post number ONE THOUSAND!!!


Moving on.

Dress rehearsal this MORNING was a student matinee for students from local high schools and middle schools.

My call time was 8:30am for hair and makeup.
Let's just say I rolled out of bed at 7:40 (after sleeping like crap all night, of COURSE, because I knew I had to wake up early..always happens).

After my not-so-cheery 8:30am hour, I started getting into it...
warming up SLOWLY.
Lip trills. One octave sirens. Slow and steady.
And slowly but surely, that high G and Aflat started to feel easier.. and voila, then it was showtime.

Energy of the show was great today because kids are just an AWESOME audience. They clap, they laugh, they react (especially with on-stage kisses!!!), and it's pretty awesome to know that we get to be the 'first' opera experience that many of these students will have.

I felt vocally good all the way through. The pacing of the show is ROUGH. I'm pretty much in every scene except the first one and during the tenor aria...And every time I'm on it's either crazy bonkers high energy arias and duets, or having to find the calm to sing my 3 slow arias.
I think I've got a good rhythm down. I don't feel like I have to 'save up' anywhere, I can give it my all, and everything will still be there at the beginning, middle and end.

Looking forward to opening. Until then- first COMPLETE day off tomorrow (we haven't had one since Feb.2nd due to donor events, other small educational performances, etc)...and I plan to sleep and visit the jacuzzi when I wake up (in the afternoon).

16 February, 2011

orchestra dress, student dress

Three more times and then it's 'go time'.
Except, that it's also go time this thursday morning at TEN a.m. because we are doing our last dress rehearsal as a student invited rehearsal.
I know, I know, it's rehearsal. But who is NOT going to sing out when there are one thousand high school and middle school kids in the audience?
I'm certainly going to treat it as a performance EVEN though my wig and makeup call is EIGHT THIRTY A.M.!!

Yesterday after our piano dress I was STARVING. I guess singing this role especially takes it out of me, and since I sweat so much onstage I decided it would be ok to treat myself to an ENTIRE order of Mongolian Chicken to-go from PF Chang's.
Yes, the entire thing. Broccoli added, brown rice, and two fortune cookies.

It was delicious.

13 February, 2011

thank goodness

Sitz this afternoon and Piano dress tonight.
First time in costumes and shoes, and everything went smoothly. REALLY!
Plus, the guys TOTALLY got into it and..wow, it really made a difference with my personal performance in addition to making me feel not so frantic onstage trying to 'make' the scene happen all by myself.
Feel good.
Exhausted actually.
Time to chill.

t minus 6 days

Ok, people I'm not going to lie...this has been a challenging rehearsal period.
Not because of the singing, not because of the acting, not because of the schedule.
I personally feel completely prepared with what is going on vocally and dramatically...

This time, it's time. The director was a few days late to the production (4.5) because of another engagement and a snowstorm. So, the asst. director kind of plugged us in to where we were supposed to be. When the Dir. arrived, that didn't fly. So it's kind of like losing an entire week of blocking, and re-staging the show in the second week, when we should already be RUNNING scenes smoothly. And so we had NO seamless rehearsals (ie, no rehearsals without stopping and starting and re-blocking) until- FINAL ROOM RUN. Yea- so we all kind of just put that together however we could..and it was 'fine', but in my opinion it was by no means fine for stage.
And now, we are in tech rehearsals and we're half a day late on teching the show- which means, we will NOT tech act II. Umm, ok? We just have to wing it-- no spikes, no entrance timing, no prop timing...just do the show at the piano DRESS rehearsal tonight.

Normally, I'd be ok with this, because I always know what my motivation is, when I need to be somewhere, and I rehearse these moves and beats in my head nightly.
Here's the thing. This show is NOT just dependent on me vocally and dramatically, I cannot do my job unless my chorus of men is around me, interacting with me, and playing along. But because we have had so little rehearsal and everything has been changed and re-staged and re-spaced...the guys are kind of milling about trying to get to their mark.
It's really frustrating to be in a big aria (or 4), and realize there is literally NO ONE downstage of me to sing to. They are all behind me, way upstage..which leaves me the choice of 'acting' the aria out to the audience (totally doesn't make sense) or changing my own blocking and doing everything super far upstage, and even singing upstage at some points (both not a good idea when singing this role with orchestra)...

The most frustrating this is that it's absolutely NOT their fault. There was simply NO time to get them to a comfortable place where they knew where to hit their mark AND they could still interact with me but get to the spot at the right time.
We have 5 more tries until opening. I am really really hoping that everything gets a little more comfortable and I don't have to feel like I'm being hung out to dry out there...
This situation also makes me overcompensate for the lack of energy onstage...and so basically I'm running myself ragged doing extra moves to motivate my blocking, when really I should be making sure I have enough saved for the pacing of the show (in which I'm already careening down raked slopes, doing cartwheels, basket catches, high jumps, and any other gymnastic feat that can be imagined).

Here's to taking a BIG cleansing breath and hoping it all starts to gel in the next few days.

07 February, 2011

this is why Germany is better the the USA.

For the past three days I have had a little nagging pain the back of my mouth..riiiight around where my wisdom teeth WOULD come in IF they had enough room to do so.
Last night it was actually keeping me up at night and I could feel the inflammation..and so today I went to see a dentist.
current-opera-company was nice enough to call and set up a same-day appointment, I had two xrays taken, was poked and prodded for about 2 minutes, and got the confirmation that yes, I should get that wisdom tooth taken out.
In addition to the extra scare that it looked totally gnarly and there might be three roots instead of two down there...so expect a not-so-quick-or-regular recovery.
What did this cost me (even though the office DID accept my US health insurance--they don't submit the forms themselves)? 129 dollars.
For 2 xrays that took 2 seconds and the dentist saying, yea, that looks not so fun. Not including going to an oral surgeon twice and paying most likely in the thousands of dollars for a good one to deal with this surgery.

So, A.- that's not such a fun thing to have to look forward to. I've been delaying the wisdom teeth thing (they've been impacted and haven't moved in the xrays since I was 18) since I've frankly never really had the time to 'take off' and do it.
I know 'normal' people can recover in a matter of days. But for singers..you NEVER know what you will feel like, if you can open your mouth all the way, how the muscles lining your jaw will feel, etc.
Basically, I would have wanted a whole summer to recover.
Sadly, I have about 2 weeks if I get it done next month, and 2.5 weeks if I get it done in May..
In between performances and competitions.

B. this is a major buzzkill and freaked me out.

C. in germany this dentist visit and xray would have cost 10 euros, and I could have gotten in to see an oral surgeon the next day..and THAT surgery would have also cost 10 euros plus maybe a 10 euro xray fee.

So, D. I WILL wait to have this done in Germany.

And, E. It will NOT feel great until it happens. I can eat and chew and I don't have headaches or anything...but it feels like my back bottom right gumline is inflamed. And apparently, it IS- seeing as how a tooth that has NO room to be there, is attempting to peak out from behind my molar.

"Ah, incisor, we meet again".

05 February, 2011

all in the family

I'm not sure how exactly to write about this, but I'll try to put it in words that don't make it sound like I'm complaining.
See, most people, when they get to visit their family or their family visits them, get a vacation. Yay- mom and dad are coming in for the weekend. Aunt, Uncle, grandparents.
I don't have work, we can plan this museum and that show, this dinner, and have an exhausting and fun weekend. And that's that.
But in my world, or rather, in the opera singer world, when family comes to visit, you are at work.
And actually, it's the reason that they're coming to visit. Of course, also to see you, but also to see the show that you're in.
And I should be happy about that, right?
But sometimes I just get this longing to just see my family when I WANT to see them- not to feel as if they already don't see me enough and have to come to the show as well AND want to see me after/before the performance.

I'm a pretty calm person in general when I have performances. Whether I'm nervous or not, the only routine I really try to stick to is waking up as late as possible, warming up a few hours before the show, and trying not to talk TOO much before the show.

Well-- when you have family coming to visit for the weekend of a show, it turns into- who will pick them up from the airport? Where will we have lunch? Can they see me for an early dinner? And then- I'm called to the theater.
And of course the next day when I would sleep in as late as possible and take it easy on my day off, it's filled with activities of my 'city'- which, I usually know nothing about SINCE I've been here for WORK, and not vacay.
They are not demanding- but sometimes I just start to think that it's not WORTH their WHILE to "just" come to the opera...since they want to see me. So I start to think about all these things that I should do with them or COULD do with them...that would work with my pre-show routine.

I know, I know, I should feel LUCKY that they all have the time and money to even come see me in the shows. I just feel a bit strange about it still, after all these years.

It's like I don't really want there to BE a reason that they are visiting. I want them to just come see me. Not me dressed as a certain character, singing a cute/fun opera on stage. That's not ME- that's my job. Yes, I love my job, but the character is a character- someone that I have worked to put together, something that I do which brings me passion and joy and laughter, but is also a lot of hard work..and...WORK.

And of course, if I was not here right now, I'd be across the ocean...making a visit from family much tougher and more rare.

I just get this strange feeling sometimes.
Feeling like I wish there was more to me and visiting me than just 'my next performance'.
That's all I have to say about that for right now...

02 February, 2011


A few things.

A. We had so much snow yesterday that after driving into rehearsal at 10am and avoiding a few inches on the ground, we had to cancel by 1pm, and retreat to our hotel. We proceeded to have dialogue rehearsal for another 3 hours in a meeting room. Small spaces plus crazy energetic singers equals... a lot of laughs.

B. Rehearsals were canceled today (ie, they gave us a day off instead of our upcoming day off) because of snow, but it's sunny and beautiful outside--and cars still can't really drive. So I'm stuck in the hotel for my day off unless I attempt to go to a local coffee shop for a change of scene.

C. I busted my finger (or rather, the tenor's shoe landed on my finger) while doing a fake-faint/fall back onto him on stage. It hurts but not so much that it's broken..I hope. Unless I have a super high tolerance for pain. I put ice on it. It's a little purple and swollen today. But the most annoying thing is that it hurts to type on my computer with my left ring finger! I think I'll survive.

D. Next year opera season is officially announced at future-house, and I've been able to update my website. REALLY excited about these ones...in this house.